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How do I politely decline dinner-party leftovers?

Q: Is there a polite way to refuse taking leftovers from a friend's dinner party? Sometimes people literally foist them on me and I feel bad refusing, but then they inevitably go to waste.

A: You can try, as tactfully as possible, to limit how much they send you home with, as in, "Gosh, that sounds amazing, but just a little because I'm really starting to tub out at the ankles." But there's no polite way to refuse leftovers altogether. Everybody knows that "I don't want the leftovers" is passive-aggressive Canadian for "I hate your pukey cooking and wish we'd just ordered in a bucket of KFC Crispy Strips and macaroni salad." Just take the leftovers. (What do you have against leftovers, anyway?) If you feel badly about throwing away perfectly good food, let it moulder in the fridge for a while before you tip it into the bin.

Chris Nuttall-Smith is a food writer and restaurant columnist. Have an entertaining dilemma? E-mail style@globeandmail.com .

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