March 19, 2009


No one in Denmark would ever ask to take the leftovers home with them, when eating out. If I asked the waiter in a restaurant for a "doggie bag", I would for sure get some strange looks.

This American custom is not implemented here, which I think, is a great shame. A shame in so many ways. Often, when we can not eat our food up, what is wrong with taking it with us home? I remember, when I lived in North Carolina, often the leftovers from an evening out would taste even better the day after. Furthermore, they would come to good use, instead of ending up in the trash. And that appeals to me even more.

A couple of weeks ago there was a debate about this on the Danish radio (and has been described in newspapers as well), where different people were asked if they would consider asking for the leftovers to take home after eating out. They all were very surprised and said no, some even thought it was quiet strange. The waiters and the owners of the restaurants on the other hand found the idea quiet pleasing. Perhaps next time I eat out here I will ask the waiter for a "doggie bag". Maybe I will start a useful trend.


Tom said...

All I can say is that on my first visit to the States I had a waiter ask me if I wanted a doggie bag. My response offended him and his response to that offended me.

We sorted out the translation in the end!


steviewren said...

It does seem like a less wasteful tradition and one that makes full use of the money spent on the meal. In America most of the portions are too big for one meal only. It just makes sense to bring home the leftovers when your portion was the size of two meals anyway.

Diane said...

Or you could do what I do and ask for a doggie bag and then leave it on the table. Every damned time!

I agree with Steviewren, though... our portions are so gargantuan, we have to take them home. I actually wish restaurants would reduce portions to what we SHOULD be eating so we wouldn't have to get doggie bags.

Sometimes, though, my doggie bag is actually for my doggie... which makes him very happy :)

Julie Hibbard said...

I take my leftovers with me 90% of the time. Usually on purpose...I LOVE getting two meals for the price of one and the treat of a hot meal the next day too...
It's VERY expected here. The waiters are surprised when we DON'T take it home!
Having worked in restaurants for years and years I know the unbelievable amount of waste is tragic.
When I was in NYC I would give my 'doggie bag' to a homeless person on my way home. That always felt even better.

Claus said...

Portions are of normal size in Guatemala, but it is also very common to take home whatever is left. No strange looks from anybody :-) Interesting it is not that common in Denmark.

Rosezilla (Tracie Walker) said...

Oh, I love that when I go out and the food is perfectly cooked (but way too much!) I can look forward to another meal of it the next day. I guess if the portions and PRICE were less, it would even out, but if they are going to give so very much food and charge so much, it's an extra treat to take it home. Although I have actually ordered a full rack of ribs knowing I was going to make 2 more meals out of it at home!

Betsy Brock said...

I didn't know this wasn't done in other parts of the world! Yes, it's a shame to just throw the food paid for it so you should be able to take it! Let us know if you decide to try it!

Keera Ann Fox said...

Actually, I've never needed a doggie bag in Europe. The portions served in European restaurants have not achieved the oversized portions of American restaurants. I hope they never do.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I've seen it asked for in the UK in restaurants and in more fast-food type places (pizzerias)... I would start your own trend, Z - Blaze the way in Denmark, dahlink! Great post. x

Hilary said...

It's all a matter of what you're used to. North American portions are often huge in restaurants. The establishments themselves have made it so that it's not meant to be embarrassing to ask for a doggie bag these days. I sure do agree that it's less wasteful.


I love leftovers, always the best. And you're 100% right, they always taste better, later. Why is that?? hahah.. :]

Thanks for the comment. Humidity kills my hair, makes it all poofy! :/


Gal Friday said...

Like Diane, I almost always forget my packed up "leftovers"(sometimes, luckily, my husband remembers just as we get out the door and I have gone back for it). I love those leftovers the next day--even as breakfast!
I wonder if the left behind portions of the restaurant meals in Denmark are thrown out? I can't understand why they wouldn't want to let you take some home. I suppose if it isn't "done" there they aren't set up with the right packaging for the food, so might think it a bother to do it.

Donna said...

Hubby and I ask for doggie bags quite often. The portions here are very large and half the time we just can't eat it all. It's nice to have leftovers the next day.

Zuzana said...

I so would like to know how you insulted each other.;))

I agree, if you pay for your meal, you should be able to enjoy every last piece of it.;)And you are right, the tradition has something to so with the size of the meals.;)

I too remember forgetting my "doggie bags" on some occasions.;) Did you know that that is why it is called a doggie bag? as people intended to give the leftovers to their pets.;)

I knew that you had a big heart, giving your leftovers to those in need feels very appropriate.;)

yes it is strange that this is not a common practice in Denmark. But hopefully it will be one day.;)

I think you are very right in the respect that the meals tend to be quiet large in the US.;) I like the idea of eating out and knowing that it will make a for another meal later on.;)

yes, this custom is not common, practically nowhere in Europe. Maybe as the meals are smaller, but I have had large meals as well. I will let you know if I do try it.;))

correct, the meal sizes are not as large as in the US, but I have to admit that there has been occasions where I just couldn't eat up. I wish on those occasions that I could have taken the leftovers home, particularly as it is still quiet expensive to eat out here.;)

I like that they have been bringing this up in the media, perhaps change is on the way. If not, I will make sure it is.;))Thank you for stopping by.;))

yes, I agree completely, I think as many have mentioned, it is the fact that the size of the meal is so much larger in the States.;) Hopefully one day to ask for the leftovers will not be embarrassing or strange anywhere in the world.;) Always glad when you stop by.;))

yes, it does taste better the next day, I wonder why?;))
My hair gets so curly and gains volume when it is humid.;)
Have a great weekend.;))

that is it; it gets all thrown out. And furthermore it is costly to deal with the waste. That is why the restaurant owners actually thinks the idea of letting people having the leftovers is pretty good.;)
Hope your TGIF is good.;)

I used to almost always get a doggie bag back in NC.;)) Thank you for stopping by.;))

Noelle Chantal said...

It's very surprising to me that in some countries, taking home leftovers foods is quite strange for them. I agree with you, it is a real shame that it is not implemented.

Here in the Philippines, it is very normal for people to take home leftovers. Since you paid for it, I don't see anything wrong about taking it home with you. I think it's a double shame if it will only go to waste, right?

And yes Protege, go ask for a doggie bag next time you eat out. Def the most useful trend ever! :)

Zuzana said...

thank you for those wise words. And I will ask for the leftovers next time.;) Except that I really rarely eat out. But if I do, I make sure not to leave anything behind.;))