Can I Get That to Go?

dana December 8, 2015

How the “doggie bag” got it’s moniker.

With all of the entertaining, office parties and eating out while traveling over the holidays, it’s likely you’ll be taking part in the food fest. If you’re one of the many that are “calorie aware” and choose not to clean your plate, you might want to take leftovers home with you to be enjoyed later, whether by you or your pet. Did you know that the ancient Romans started the practice of taking leftover food home wrapped in napkins?

In the United States during World War II food shortages inspired pet owners to find a creative way to make sure Fido didn’t go hungry. Rather than finding their way to the trash, food scraps were fed to family pets. After the war, as more people began to dine out, frugality was overlooked because restaurants didn’t offer convenient packaging for leftovers. Taking notice, many west coast dining establishments started initiatives to inspire diners to take left-overs home. Bags labeled with such phrases as “Pet Pakits” and “Bones for Bowser” were soon used to transport tasty morsels home to waiting pets. The “doggie bag” was quickly becoming an American staple.

Restaurant portions grew and many people began using doggie bags, not just for pets, but as a means to take food home for themselves, though etiquette columnists frowned upon the practice. This is still the case in many other countries, but attitudes have softened in the U.S., making it not only okay to take leftovers home, but an act that is embraced by most restaurateurs and their patrons nationwide.

In some instances the doggie bag has morphed into somewhat of an art form. Many restaurants choose to package left-overs in branded bags and containers, and some even wrap your to-go items in foil, modeling them into animal shapes.

The doggie bag, though still not embraced “across the pond,” is an American icon and is likely to be found in our fridges for decades to come.

Here are a few tips for those of us that are not members of the “Clean Plate Club”:

• Package leftovers for transport in a sealed container or wrapped tightly in a bag.

• Don’t leave cooked food unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. Store it out of the sun and cool to below 40°F as soon as possible.

• Consume the leftovers within 24 hours.

• Prior to eating, reheat for at least 2 minutes to steaming hot before eating.

Is your brand seeming a little “left-over”?

Contact The Visualab. We’ll help you heat things up.

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