DEAR ABBY: After entertaining family and friends with BBQ holiday dinners, which includes purchasing all the food and beverages, must I send guests home with leftovers? Over the years, it has been "expected" that I'd give them a take-home dinner at my expense. What's right -- pack the leftovers for my own personal use or divide them up for guests? -- LEFT HOLDING THE BAG
DEAR LEFT HOLDING THE BAG: People "expect" you to send the leftovers with them because that's the pattern you set all these years. Because you now prefer to keep them for your personal use, pare down the menu and prepare less food. You might also clean up earlier and put the excess food away -- out of sight, out of mind. If you are questioned, deal with it by pointing out that in this economy everyone needs to cut back -- and while in the past you sent food home with your guests, for the foreseeable future "charity" begins at home. Your home.