why do they call it a doggy bag
Is it the name? The words "doggy bag" don t exactly leap elegantly from the tongue. They sound more like you re scrounging for carcass scrag-ends fit only for canines or drunk people in kebab shops. As though you ll take it away with the words: "Great! This ll save me a swan dive into the dumpster! "
And restaurants certainly don t help matters. After all, when a woman tried to take home the remnants of a tarte flambee from Raymond Blanc s in Oxford last September, the staff made her sign a legal document that not only indemnified them "from and against all claims, losses, liabilities, damage, costs, charges, fines, penalties and expenses" that resulted from her eating it. The form also insited that she had to "ensure that no sales of liquor are made on the premises". Whatever the Christ that means. Scotland is rallying, though. Last month, a pilot scheme to promote doggy bagging was rolled out to the whole nation. So maybe it s not so much a problem for Britain more for the English. Perhaps it s a food-based equivalent of the reserve that means that when a hairdresser makes you look like you re in the advanced stages of mange, you ll nod and say it s very nice, thank you. Maybe it s the remnants of a class system that historically meant that leftovers were for the slaves sorry, servants to take home to their family.
Or possibly it s the fact that doggy bag also means thing you shovel dog poop into. Silly, really. Given that food waste has become such a hot topic, and we live in an era where hot milk is fancified into babyccino and undersized burger has become slider, you d think we d have no problems rebranding it into something more exciting sounding. Let s start it here. The Planet-Saving Box of Deliciousness, anybody? Just because a meal has ended doesnБt mean youБve taken your last bite. Doggie bags allow you to extend a dining experience beyond the confines of your restaurant reservation, while also helping cut down on food waste and saving you some time in the kitchen later on. The tradition began in Rome during the sixth century B. C. Banquet goers would wrap up extra food in a napkin to signal to their host just how much they enjoyed the meal. However, the modern practice Б and the name doggie bag itself Б came to fruition in the States during World War II, when diners were encouraged to their leftovers to feed their pets, though it soon became apparent that diners Б not Rover Б were the usual recipients of the unfinished meals.
This new practice opened up a proverbial PandoraБs bag of etiquette issues, which are still present today. Here are six tips on how to deal with the doggie bag. Whether youБre dining in a budget-friendly eatery or a high-end restaurant, you can always ask for a doggie bag. Some diners donБt want to ask for their leftovers when dining in four-star restaurantsб because they donБt want to appear cheap. They shouldnБt feel poorly about making the request. Just because an establishment has nice silverware, white tablecloths, and a tasting menu that costs more than the average car payment doesnБt mean they donБt have takeaway containers in the back. DonБt worry; the staff is more than happy to put the remainder of your truffle topped cacio e pepe in a box for you, so you can eat it later that night when youБre in bed catching up on Game of Thrones. Everyone is entitled to take home the remains of their own meal, of course. (ItБs also perfectly acceptable to БgiftБ your uneaten portion to someone else at the table. ). However, it gets trickier when it comes to dividing up family style entrees between two or more guests.
Before simply claiming the giant rectangle of lasagna sitting at the center of the table, ask your dining companions if anyone else would like to take some home. If someone else is interested as well, either divide up the leftovers yourself or ask the staff to do it for you. Getting home and opening your doggie bag to find that a sauce has leaked out, the bread is soggy, or a component is missing can be disappointing Б and may even cause you to throw the food out. To prevent such waste from happening, politely request that any dips or spreads be packed separately, sandwiches or rolls be wrapped in aluminum foil, and be sure to specifically point out what leftovers youБd like to take home. Some restaurants will simply bring you takeout containers, so you can wrap everything up to your liking. Unfortunately, the staff will sometimes accidentally dispose of your leftovers, despite your request to take them home. This is not done with any malice on their part; itБs simply one of the little mistakes that can happen at a restaurant when there are multiple staffers Б servers, food runners, busboys, dishwashers, managers, and others Б working together and sometimes failing to communicate or miscommunicating during the course of service.
Unless the restaurant has thrown out a complete dish Б or one that was barely eaten Б they arenБt under any obligation to remove it from the bill. If they only discarded a small portion, they may choose to discount the dish or give you a complimentary dessert or drink to make up for the error, but donБt expect them to axб the entire amount. If you order a bone-in ribeye or a T-bone steak, ask for the staff to wrap up the bones for your dog to chew on. The treat will help your pooch forget youБve been gone for three hours when you could have been playing with them in the backyard. БOr the Tip! Packaging up leftovers can take staffers precious time and slow them down in the middle of service. Show your appreciation by tipping generously, especially if your server takes extra care to pack components separately, so they arrive home in the best possible condition. Do you always ask for a doggie bag when youБve got leftovers at a restaurant? Let us know here or over onб ,б ,б ,б , orб. Nevin Martell is a Washington, D. C. -based food and travel writer and the author of several books, includingб. Find him on Twitterб б and Instagram. б
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