I've been reading Rep. McGovern's blog about living for a week on food stamps, and there was an entry where he mentions that he notices more all of the wasted food left on plates in restaurants.

This observation struck me because I don't like that waste either-- but most of the time, I'm served about 3 times what I can comfortably eat. I've never been part of the "clean your plate" school of thought, because I believe that if you eat more than you need, the food is just as wasted as if you throw it away. If I'm out of town, or if it's simply something that won't keep well, what do I do about the wasted leftovers of these insane portions?

I may be the only consumer who would encourage restaurants to charge me the same, but give me less.


  1. It is out of control. I would rather have a smaller portion of really good food made with fresh ingredients than what is served at most restaurants. (or at least at the restaurants I can afford!)

  2. Anonymous3:19 PM

    I've had them do that: bring less, charge the same. I've also had them box it up immediately, and then given it to someone on the street (with napkins, fork, etc.)

    Some cities have been able to institute leftover donations, depending on their health codes and ethical stomachs.

    Glad to find your blog!

  3. Geoff Lewis10:35 AM

    Two thoughts. 1, I feel like just last week I heard that TGIFridays is now advertising special smaller portion meals. A friend and I were joking that they probably charge you more for it but we might go ahead and get it anyways. And 2 I'm with Elane, get it boxed up and hand it off to a homeless person. Of course that's probably easier to do in a city like Chicago than in a small town.

  4. Thanks, Mrs M, for your really insightful comments on my blog today. I appreciate it!

    I was just reading through some of your recent entries and wanted to be sure you were aware of The Fund for Theological Education. They specifically offer fantastic scholarships to young people entering seminary. But you have to apply for the scholarship before you start school. I was a ministry fellow in 2000 and found the experience excellent. Be sure to check them out as a scholarship opportunity.

    Thanks again! I look forward to following your journey along the way.

  5. Hm. Looks like I didn't get the link to work. It should be www.thefund.org.

  6. Thanks for your comment on my blog and more - for your prayers.

    When visiting the US I found the portions ENORMOUS ... yes I think they could cut portion size or at least have that as an option for people

  7. I am TOTALLY with you on this!! I can never finish the huge amounts of food that they bring in restaurants. I would happily get a smaller portion, even paying the same amount. I especially can't stand when waitstaff guilt you about how much you've eaten - so I'll sometimes get stuff boxed even when I'm out of town and have absolutely nothing to do with the food. Oy. Lets start a club or something for this!

  8. Something I read on why restaurants do this: the cost of the ingredients themselves is a small part of the overall cost of the meal. Salaries, marketing, building rent, and other overhead are the lion's share. So, if they even win a few extra customers who are impressed with the large portions, it's worth it financially even if there's a lot of food waste.

    The standard Weight Watchers tip, by the way, is to immediately after they bring the food, size up how much you'll eat and ask them to box up the rest for leftovers at home--only works if you order something that reheats acceptably. Alternatively, if you're there with hubby, and you have similar tastes, order one meal, one substantial salad, and split both.

    The other alternative, if you can, is to choose family-owned restaurants, rather than chains, so that, if you're a "regular" you can make special requests.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
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