Would You Serve Leftovers to Guests?


For me, it depends.

While I’m kind of tired of reading about the psychology of leftovers (I understand that we’re in a recession, but Food Section editors really need to come up with some new article ideas), I thought the newest leftover piece from The New York Times actually managed to ask a question I hadn’t thought of before: would I serve leftovers to guests?

Among other things, the piece talks about a couple that tried to pass off failed chocolate zucchini bread on party guests, even though the cake was ” turgid” and “oozing” and clearly destined for the trash bin. The baking perfectionist in me would never sink that low – just this weekend I threw away an entire batch of red velvet cupcakes I had intended to bring to a Fourth of July party because they were slightly burned on the bottom.

Okay, so I definitely won’t pass off my failed baking experiments on my guests, but I think I’d happily serve leftover (successful) baked goods. For instance I have some almond cupcakes sitting in my freezer that I’d serve to guests, and I’ve been known to keep a pound cake in my freezer just in case I need a quick dessert (thaw it, toast it, and serve it with berries and whipped cream).

But I don’t think my willingness to serve leftovers would go past baked goods. Many cakes and cookies are perfectly fine served out of the freezer (well, if thawed), but when I’m having people over for dinner I really like the experience of creating a new meal for the occasion. It’s stressful, but part of the reason I have dinner parties is to cook a big meal, try a new recipe, or make something decadent I’d never eat myself. Or maybe I’m just an exhibitionist in the kitchen.

What about you? Would you serve leftovers to guests? Would you serve some leftovers items (like leftover dip), but not others (left over roast chicken)?



  1. E said

    I would have gladly eaten your red velvet cupcake tops!!

    • moderndomestic said

      I have to say . . . they weren’t that great (even the tops). The texture was just off and they reminded me too much of a box-mix cake. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. Now I just want to go to GTC even more . . .

  2. sinja e said

    i have to say there’s a difference between leftovers and belongs in the garbage fridge items. leftovers can actually turn up some cool new creations, i usually end up with one meal a week that’s a fun eclectic creation of these items. instead of thinking of them as left overs, i treat them as ingredients in what i’m creating.

    • moderndomestic said

      That is a very good point. Sometimes I feel compelled to eat my cooking “experiments,” even if they don’t turn out well, because I feel guilty about wasting food. But I would never serve them to guests.

  3. Rebecca said

    I’ve actually invited people over with the intent to get rid of leftovers. About a month ago we hosted a BBQ for my mother-in-law’s birthday and there were 16 people coming. I overestimated how much food 16 people would eat, and thus a second BBQ the following weekend. I think it is okay but there are definitely rules. Such as the item should not look past its prime, and try to present it in such a way that it doesn’t look half eaten already.

    • moderndomestic said

      Hah. Well I would probably feel differently in that situation because they were party leftovers. I would totally have people over for party leftovers, but I don’t know if I would feed remnants from my Wednesday night dinner to guests.

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