There's even been some debate over which is better, the initial party food or the left-overs.
As my daughter Claire once pointed out, when you're eating left-overs you're feeling relieved and stress-free, which is not especially the case when you're putting food in your mouth while up to your elbows in the event you're hosting.
Because in truth you can't really relax until the party's over; only then can you bask in the good time that was had by all and really enjoy the food yourself. That's why having left-overs is so important, but there are other reasons:
1. Having plenty of left-overs at the end of the party means you can invite your guests to fill up a plate to take home, an extension of your hospitality and a message to your guests that they are so welcome that you'd like to give them a little extra.
2. After the last guest has left and you're faced with the inevitably gargantuan task of cleaning up, munching on left-overs while you buzz about helps the clean-up go down. (As Mary Poppins would understand).
3. Having left-overs preserves a bit of the party atmosphere for a day or two longer, though if you have more than can be consumed in that time line you can freeze the overage for some classy provisions at a later date. (Note: this works provided you are careful to prepare freeezable party food initially).
4. Having left-overs is an excuse for the kids or friends to stop by the next day for some left-overs.
5. After cooking yourself silly the days before the party you can now get away without cooking for a day or two.
Of course, party left-overs are only as good as the food you start with, so to-die-for left-overs must start with to-die-for party food. In other words, you cannot reap wonderful left-overs from a ho-hum menu, or one that yields left-overs that seriously aren't worth the trouble of saving. Which is the real reason why whenever there's a feast to be thrown I always shoot for the stars so that we can look forward to those heavenly left-overs!
The left-overs post-game round-up from Claire's shower:
veggie stromboli - made 5. Sufficient* left-overs
veggie egg rolls - made 30. Sufficient left-overs
tomato, olive oil and garlic pasta - made 2 lb. Sufficient left-overs
stuffed mushrooms - made 122. Meager left-overs
cheese mashed potatoes - made 20 servings. No left-overs.
green beans almondine - 8 cans. Meager left-overs
salad - 16 ounces of of mixed greens. Sufficient left-overs
guacamole dip - One recipe. No left-overs.
veggies & dip - 1 basketful. Sufficient left-overs
rosette cupcakes - About 75. Sufficient left-overs.
cream-filled chocolate cupcakes - About 75. Sufficient left-overs.
apple pie & ice cream - Made 2 pies. Finished 1. Sent the other to back to Chicago for Miguel, so no left-overs.
berry trifle - Made 2. Finished 1, so sufficient left-overs.**
* "Sufficient" indicates enough to last for a day or two past the party, possibly with extra to freeze. In this case the only left-overs to freeze were about 20 un-iced mini-cupcakes.
**By last night (Monday night) the second berry trifle and almost everything else was history. On Saturday the last shower guests left at 9:00 pm, so the left-overs were being frequently re-visited even on the day of the event. Theresa and Claire stayed until Sunday night and Monday morning respectively, and Tommy and Randy came over Sunday night for (what else?) left-overs, so there was much post-shower noshing going on over the weekend.
Yesterday for lunch and dinner Tom and I polished off almost everything that was left. All that's left now are a couple egg rolls, a little salad, a little bit of pasta and the memory of a good party and some great left-overs.