I have a weird habit and I have a feeling I’m not the only one. Raise your hand if you have ever been guilty of taking home leftovers from a restaurant even if you didn’t like the meal and intend to throw it out. I’ll raise both of my hands on this one.

On Sunday night, my fiancé and I decided to go out to dinner. This particular restaurant is one of the most popular in Rhode Island and has been around for ages, so we were pretty confident that it would be a great choice for a hearty meal before the beginning of a new week.

I love everything about this restaurant, and usually, the food is outstanding, but on Sunday evening, the fettuccine Alfredo I ordered wasn’t very appetizing. Did I send it back and ask for something else? Definitely not. My fear of being rude will always outweigh my desire for a better meal. Maybe all of those years working in the restaurant industry trained me to not upset the chefs, so I ate my fill and we waited for the check.

The server brought over some boxes and I dutifully scraped my bowl of pasta into it.

“Are you sure you want to bring that home?” my fiancé asked with a smile. He knows my intentions with these leftovers involve a trash can, but I can’t help but bring them home as a universal sign to the establishment that “the food was great.”

Even if I like the dinner, I’ll bring it home and won’t get to the leftovers. For some reason, it feels wrong to leave food on the table, and I dub this weird habit as “empty plate syndrome.”

Growing up, my grandmother used to make me eat every scrap of food off of my plate even if I didn’t like it, and I have a feeling it has followed me into adulthood. I have to scrape the plate clean before leaving.

Do you have empty plate syndrome and feel obligated to take home leftovers? Asking for a friend.

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