Monday, 12 November 2012

A feast to be shared

I did something quite shocking on Friday. A small group of people stood huddled together, glancing over in my direction and muttering to each other. Did I detect disapproving looks, possibly, were some of them a little bit shocked, maybe. What on earth is she doing now, has she no shame? 
What was I doing to cause such curiosity? Why, I was dissecting all the left over sandwiches from the buffet and gathering all the meat to put into a carrier bag. Not something you would expect someone to do after a funeral, have some respect please!  
I do have respect for the animals which were killed to provide this feast. That their meat should be put to good use and not discarded into a bin to be sent to an incinerator. I have respect for Uncle who was known to be frugal, and to make the most of what he had. He would have laughed.

Of course I asked permission first before I descended on the left overs, after everyone had had their fill. The food was going to be thrown away, I cannot abide to see food wasted, even if humans don't eat it, it should be given to animals instead. I asked a member of staff at the pub for a doggy bag and she came back with a large roll of foil. Someone produced a plastic carrier bag which I proceeded to fill.

The meat was not neatly sliced like the picture above, it was huge chunks of real meat, pork and beef. A wonderful feast for cats and dogs. There was also some chicken drumsticks left, the cats will love that after I have picked the meat from the bones. And there was a little bit for me as well, a few cheese sandwiches and some vegetable quiche. Thank you that will do for my dinner later.

Do you have the bottle do do this, do you care what other people think of you, because I don't. Throwing food away when so many in the world are starving, is in my mind a criminal offence. This is not a one off for me, I have done it before and I will do it again. Next time I go to a function I must remember to take my own doggy bag.

54 comments:

  1. Yes I would do it, and indeed do! My cat is often the lucky recipient of such bounties.

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  2. Good for you I don't see anything wrong with that at all! It's much much better than everything going to waste. Wasted food is one of my all time annoyances and I always make sure that everything I buy gets used. I can't bear to throw anything away. By The Way ..... I love reading your blog.
    Kindest Regards
    Kay

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  3. We did this at my step mother's funeral. I say 'we', the older women understood, some of the younger folk didn't. The hotel actually asked if we would like to take the 'remains' home. We took entire sandwiches - there were plates of them left. They made a very welcome supper later that evening for all the house guests and the following day the left over bread and crusts went out to the birds. Years ago when I was about 16 or 17 I was a part time waitress in a posh restuarant (well posh by the standards of a small village in the north of Scotland!) where we actually had black plastic bags with a design of a poodle sat at the table with his bib on and underneath it said 'doggy bag'. We used to give it to the diners to put the rind of their steaks in to take home for the dog! I always thought it a very sensible idea and yet I have never seen it again, anywhere. Now there is a little business opportunity for someone!

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    1. Great story Jane. I have heard of places supplying doggy bags, they should be available everywhere. People should be actively encouraged to take left overs home.

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  4. From Housefly
    No, I cannot say I have done that.
    I have heard of people going back and collecting the flowers people donate. The crem. has so many that they get thrown away the next day.

    I have done the usual when staying in a hotel with help your self breakfast, to take rolls and fruit for my lunch. Rember to take a shopping size bag down with you.

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  5. Couldn't agree more!
    Good on you for doing that,food for free isn't always found in the hedgerow!
    Sarah x

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  6. I did used to care what people thought of me, but not any more, and yes I have done the same as you did and will do so again if the occasion arises, not that it happens too often, being of a small family and having few friends, there are very few births, deaths, marriages, or other gatherings of that nature.
    I agree wholeheartedly that it is criminal to waste good food, just because of public opinion. I think it is the British way, and I am no expert but I am fairly sure in non Western cultures it is normal for the leftovers to be divied up for those that wish to take it for later.

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    1. In less posh corners of the USA, foods from family gatherings are divied-up, also.

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  7. I would have done the same...except I'd feast on the meat myself. My cats are too picky and only like their cat food. No, I don't care what people think anymore. It's horrible the amount of food is just thrown out. When ever we have family get togethers, I never say no to 'left overs'. Yes, I make sure I bring plenty of containers. lol. I also encourage my guests to load up on anything they like to take home with them.

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  8. Any get togethers at my home, the leftovers are always divvied up.
    When I go to my friends homes for occasions, they know to put aside something for me to take home for my bow wow.
    I hate food going to waste, so you did a good thing.

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  9. I don't see anything wrong if you asked the other guests if they would like a share. I hate people who just load up all the leftovers and make off like a bandit. I would have taken the whole sandwiches and given the crumbs to birds. It would have been less of a hassle and more discreet and faster and less messy than dismantling the sandwiches as they sat.

    I worked at a place that had a posh place cater our mandatory meetings after the busines won a million dollar grant. We did indeed load up on the fancy sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and desserts. I could eat for three days off what I took home. I got over the notion I might get food poisoning. Let me tell you this was a meeting of degreed professionals loading up food. We did manage to spend that one million dollars!

    I have worked many places that had food put out for employees for different reasons. I got extra food when I got my first place, stashed the extra food. Later, a few of us would always clean the place up, voluntarily, and take it all. The director encouraged us to do so rather than have it tossed into the trash. Otherwise, at the end of the day, it was just discarded.

    In the US it is common for the activity you describe to happen. I don't think anyone would have cast an eye you way.

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  10. Where I come from we never waste food. At the conclusion of an event whether it is a meal after a funeral, christmas, or just a get together a good host or hostess offers the leftovers to the guests.

    Forget those people. Feed the cats.

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  11. If it is quite discreet there is nothing wrong with this(it is a funeral after all) although my vet told me that if an animal is on dry food it can be a mistake to feed them deli meat as it interferes with their metabolism, I think we want to give them treats rather than them needing them.
    Also, Housefly, it is NOT ethical to load up from the breakfast bar to get a free lunch.

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    1. Take a chill pill, lizzie

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    2. In Germany there is an assumption by the B & B hostess that her/his guests will take remainining Broetchen/cheese slices/ham etc for their lunch. Often they give the guests a bag for this purpose. I have done this for years. I've never done it in the UK though, mainly because the layout of the breakfasts is different.

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  12. Yes here in the US we do the same....I ask everyone to throw in their left over chicken or beef and my cats and dogs think they've died and gone to heaven! At family gatherings we always divide and share....we don't throw away. I have 2 pet goats and 2 pet pigs who will eat what the cats and dogs won't....nothing goes to waste.

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  13. Asking for a "doggie bag" t take your left over meal home is not unusual in the US. Sometimes I finish the meal for lunch the next day- sometimes it does go to the pets...I think it is JUST catching on in the UK. And your meal portions ARE huge!
    Yes- I think you were smart to ask for it!

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  14. Leftovers at any event are always handed out/shared here.
    Jane x

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  15. I do the same thing, always got a few bags and a carrier bag or one of thos Coo-op cotton bags about my person for just that purpose!
    I used to work in a nursing home and had a 'fox-box' ready in the kitchen ready to take home leftover bones,sandwiches,cakes etc. I used to feed the birds at the local reservoir sometimes, then the foxes, my cats had some too, along with the birds at home.
    Nowadays, they are all lucky to get anything as I'm on the 'Breadline' LOL!
    Keep it up Ilona, sod what anyone else thinks!
    It should not go to landfill!

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  16. Absolutely right - I came home from the worship lunch at the chapel on Friday with four leftover baked potatoes, and stuck them in the fridge. Husband had one Friday and we reheated the other three whilst the rest of our meal was cooking in the mini oven last night and ate them for supper. They were fine, and would otherwise have just gone in the bin - what a waste that would have been!!

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  17. tbh i have never seen an opportunity to do this but i need to look harder as i think it is a great idea...i hate the idea of good food going in the bin so good on you....could it be that the people were looking and thinking thats a good idea i wish id thought of that ??

    take care tess

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  18. I'm not sure I'd do it at a funeral (tho I dn't know why not!) but I have done asimilar thing - collecting leftover paté and ham rinds - at a local event. I then gave it to the stray cats in the village

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  19. The carvery we used to visit a couple of years ago actually carved the turkey off of the bone discarding the carcass with a whole lot of meat still on it. I asked if I could have them and I staggered out with about 6 turkey carcass's. These fed my foxes for several days. lol
    So in answer to your question.....Yes I would do it and good for you.
    Briony
    x

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  20. Debbie from the U.P.12 November 2012 at 15:37

    Good for you!

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  21. I haven't done this specifically myself, but earlier this year at my grandfather's funeral, my aunt took home the leftovers from the post-funeral lunch, for family to have as dinner later that day. My grandfather was very frugal, as is my aunt and many of my family, so there were no raised eyebrows there. The caterers also seemed perfectly happy for us to take leftovers away.
    I confess I am not brave enough to do this at work events where there is leftover food - perhaps one day I will be (although to be honest, I often don't think much of the food, so wouldn't want it for dinner for myself, which I know is being picky, and I've no pets to feed at home).

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  22. Lucky dogs! I think it's great that you did that. Next time I hsve the opportunity I will try and do the same.

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  23. I would have taken a share of the leftovers or all if nobody else wanted them, but I think I'd have shovelled the whole lot into the bag to sort later (bread for birds?) or if the platters were not wanted by the caterers, just take them covered. Or possibly asked if they could be packed up out of sight in the kitchen. People can be very sensitive especially at funerals and even if I disagree with someone's point of view (unless it is on something drastic like racism) I think it's kinder to be sensitive to their feelings. I do think wasting food is horrendous; I've packed up goody bags and handed them out at a funeral or a wedding.

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  24. Aw gosh Ilona, don't get me started! I work in catering, a large cafe in fact, and I still find it absolutely shocking the amount of wastage there is. People simply are too greedy. We only serve lunches, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and that sort of thing in the middle of the day but the amount of food people are prepared to eat at lunchtime when it's not really a main meal is astounding. Any vegetable waste is saved for other staff's pet guinea-pigs, chickens etc, or for my compost heap so that doesn't go to waste, it's all the other stuff like half a pasty, nearly a whole potato, half a slice of cake and so on. Multiply that by 100 and it mounts up. We're too well-off in this country, that's the trouble.

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  25. My friend asked me if I wanted an "out of date" bag (3 kilos) of best Basmati rice for my chickens. Chickens,shmickens ...I am enjoying best Basmati rice myself. Not poisoned yet.
    Teresa

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    1. Would have done the same. Lots of people are conned by best before dates and i personally think that dried goods can go well past their dates and still be good.
      Ruth

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  26. I probably would have done the same Ilona, but as i'm a veggie too i would have fed it to dogs/cats/foxes etc.
    A work colleague once asked me if i wanted some bread for my dogs-said it had gone mouldy but was otherwise ok. I declined. Bread is not really a good food for dogs.
    Ruth

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  27. Hahah, yes, I would do this and in fact have done it and worse! I hate seeing good food go to waste and am like a receptacle for other peoples left overs!

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  28. I'd have done it - have done it, in fact, albeit after the offer of taking it home was made - but I'd have asked if it hadn't been offered! Though I took the whole sandwiches; we keep chickens & they think well-soaked bread is beak-smacking good. And I've asked for (& was given without demur) doggy bags at a posh restaurant recently, at the request of my daughters, who've got over the embarrassed stage now; my mother paid good money to treat us & no way were they going to see any of it wasted!

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  29. I have often taken home a doggy bag, sometimes for me, sometimes for the cats and dogs:) Like you I hate seeing good food go to waste.

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  30. Hear hear, it is shocking the amount of food that is wasted in this country! Good on you for doing something about it!

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  31. I often take leftovers home from restaraunts, they usually ask if you want to take the leftovers home. Often at catered events the leftovers go to soup kitchens and homeless shelters, which I think is great. At family gatherings we wouldn't dream of throwing the stuff away, we always send it home with people.

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  32. Good for you Ilona - I would do the same. Its morally wrong to let perfectly good food go to waste - especially meat. After the last staff party, I brought home big blocks of good quality cheese, whole and half cakes and loads of sandwiches that were scheduled for the black bin bags. I froze the lot and between ourselves, cats, dogs and the wild birds - everything was gradually eaten. Waste not, want not. I'm too poor to be proud!

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  33. At a catered event like a funeral, wedding etc., I wouldn't ask the caterer for permission. I would ask the person paying for it. At family events we divvie up leftovers. My SIL has dibs on any ham bones or turkey carcasses for the soup pot the next day. If I eat out I ask for a to go box as soon as my food is served. Then I put half of it in the bag/box and eat it later for my next meal.
    My late MIL used to take home any leftover meat or steak for herself. She'd say, "doggie bag? I'll be darned if the dog eats better than me!"

    Good for you Ilona

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  34. shocking you never took the bread :)

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  35. I think you should be able to take home leftover food. The fact that some businesses would rather dump the food than let people take it, leaves me cold.

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  36. Your Uncle would have smiled down at you and said 'that's my girl'.

    Good for you, food should never be wasted.

    Sue xx

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  37. Hi Ilona What's wrong with people !! I would have done the same. Why is it right to throw good food away just because it's not the done thing. Hand it round and tell everyone to take some home!!! Good on you. ps I bet the cats loved it. Regards Jean

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  38. Hi Shadypines, Yes, ask permission from the person paying for the spread, a good idea, and good manners. I asked Uncle's daughter, she said take what you want, my dad has paid for it. He was smiling down on me.

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  39. yep i always do it if i know the people well, in fact most of my friends would come round at the end of the night and ask if we want to take anything home with us before it is thrown away x also im a veggie so hen we go for a carvery i take a doggy bag for my cat and ask the server to put it in there for my cat, im happy with just all the veggies anyway and its not usually any cheaper for a veggie option x my partner used to be a bit embaressed but he got used to it! lol xxx

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  40. This reminds me of when mum was a school dinner lady in the1960s any left over food she was allowed to bring home for the family. I can still taste the lovely cheese and potato bakes. However, all this changed when left over food had to go for pigswill. My mum never got over the fact that all the good nutritious food was taken to feed pigs, when there were families struggling to make ends meet.

    Anyway in answer to you question no I don't think there is anything wrong with what you have done.
    Midlands annie

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  41. Hi Ilona, It was good that the food did not go to waste. I've never been in a situation where I've needed to ask for a doggy bag but if I was, I would definitely take one. I hate food going to waste. Was in Tescos late one evening and saw a member of their staff going along the fresh bakery aisle with a big plastic bag and just throwing all the bread in, she said it had to be thrown out, can't remember the reason why. Such a waste. I'm sure the cats and dogs appreciated you taking home all that meat for them to tuck into. Cheers for now, Christy.

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  42. I keep a carrier bag in my handbag, and never leave food to go in a bin. We've plenty of animals who will enjoy it if we don't want to keep it for ourselves. Chucking it in a bin is a criminal waste.

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  43. Just a quick note about leftovers, Ilona. My ex used to donate leftover pans of food (soups, veg, etc) to the local Soup Kitchen but the Health Dept. put in place new guidelines. They said if the SK had not had complete control of the food, such as cooking temp or holding temp, they couldn't serve it. Some people had gotten sick with salmonella (not from ex's food!). If employees don't want it, it gets tossed. Not everything thrown out is wanton waste.

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  44. I forgot to say he owns a pub with food and sometimes caters parties.

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  45. Here in Canada there is no shame in asking for a doggy bag. Most restaurants gladly pack it up for you. I suppose we are not as refined as the British :)

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  46. at our extended family dinners everyone brings plastic boxes to take left overs home in. if I go to a restaurant that I know serves too much food on the plates, I take a plastic box in my bag to put the meat into that I cant eat into the box. it will then be lunch the next day. Meat is too expensive to throw out. The harvester serves too much meat, so we always have meat from there. I used to use napkins but this wasn't great, it made a mess. I no longer care who could be looking.

    It isn't often that we get to go out, so I refuse to waste my hard earned money.

    There was a celebrity come dine with me, where Caprice the model took a plastic box from her hand bag and pocketed the meat for her dog! Good enough for her its good enough for me

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  47. I always do it. With nine dogs to feed I take everything (why throw away bread when most of commercial dog food is made up of bread anyway?). Well i don't take pickles.
    Last time our dogs and chickens had a wonderful time eating up leftovers. What a waste otherwise. Food waste does my head in.

    Maybe they thought you were going to eat it? LOL

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  48. I agree with you! Why waste food, if its not something for us our lovely animals will eat it! When we dine out (this is not a lot of times) when we are finished with our meal I always ask for a doggie bag, if someone does not like it I guess they can lump it..... :D
    Have a great day!
    Kim

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  49. My mom does many hours of volunteering at our local legion and any leftovers not taken by the volunteers (many of which are on very tight budgets), or guests after funerals and other events, is boxed up and taken to a local hostile which houses people who are down on there luck for whatever reason.
    The sad part is though that it is hard to find a place that will take the leftovers due to health regulations, it's sad that so many people are struggling to make ends meat in this country (not to mention the excess of animals being kept and slaughtered) and tons of food has to be tossed in the trash because of silly regulations that won't allow shelters and soup kitchens to take food from perfectly reputable places. I defiantly think places should encourage people to take leftovers, it should be a crime to throw out so much perfectly good food rather than it being the other way round or at least it seems like it's the other way round to me.

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