I hosted a meal for 20 people and I had plans for the leftovers. After dessert people were milling around and I went into the kitchen to bring out some more drinks. In the kitchen 4 different family members had searched by kitchen for ziplock bags. They could only find the gallon freezer bags and they had started to cut off pieces of turkey from the carcass and were putting it in the bags to take home. They were like locusts and had even used a spatula to get the last of the mashed potatoes from the pot we cooked them in. They had already cleared out all of the serving bowls.
One of the family members had even taken one of our plates from a matching set to make a take home plate for a family member who refused to come to our house because he was angy at us.
Now DH and I hide anything that could be used for doggy bags, disposable containers, ziplock bags, paper plates. We also quickly and discreetly put all leftovers in covered containers and put it in the fridge even before our "guests" leave. I was told by both my side and his side of the family that this is what Faaaaamily do. I never remember doing this as a child. However my grandmother did go to buffet restaurants and sneak fried chicken in her purse
It's a shame that this happened to you and your DH. I have never gone to a non-family gathering and asked to bring home any of the food. We've had it offered to us, but we didn't expect to be able to take food home that wasn't offered. Mind you -- these are non-family gatherings.
At family gatherings (my brand of Asian), and I mean *all* family gatherings, bringing home food is the norm. Part of my heritage is always feeding our guests and feeding our guests generously so there has always been food remaining. I've spent all my time hosting always offering food for guests to take home. Had more than a paltry few of my family been able to attend our wedding, we would've purchased containers for our guests to bring food home. As it were, most guests were not part of a culture that brings home "doggie bags" from social gatherings, so we thought our guests would be weirded out about being encouraged to bring home wedding food. However, as bringing home wedding cake is normal, I did announce to everyone that not only were they encouraged to try cakes at different tables but that we also provided boxes for them to bring home cake. Several happily took us up on that. Also, a few of both my and DH's family members asked if it were okay to pack up food to take home to their loved ones who were invited but could not make it to our wedding. We happily and enthusiastically encouraged them to take home as much food as they wanted.
I think offering guests food to bring home with them will always be a constant with me and with DH. HOWEVER, what I won't do (and I've already made this clear to DH) is serve expensive food to guests (I'm talking about stuff like pricey roasts, lobster, filet mignon, etc.). I mentioned to DH a few months ago that I am interested in learning how to prepare sushi and sashimi so we could start having it at home and save money on not eating out for it. DH's response was that we should have these people over or those people over to eat sushi and sashimi with us. I told him absolutely not, and DH was rather snarky to me in his response (he said, "So, what, do you suggest we only serve them macaroni and cheese?"). I pointed out to his rude butt that, first, since when am I such a bad host that I have only served mac & cheese (although I said that mac & cheese is not necessarily a bad choice). Secondly, I said that the point of eating expensive foods at home is to avoid the cost of eating them in a restaurant. If
really *I* served such expensive foods to guests as well, then we are saving nothing yet I get to also do all the work so there would be no point in having them at home. Wisely, DH acknowledged that, yes, I've been a very generous host* and that it wouldn't be cost-effective to have our expensive meals at home if we are still spending that amount of money but to feed guests also. I have to say that if were to start serving expensive foods to guests, I probably would not offer doggie bags. I *love* lobster and crab and sashimi and sushi and a good steak, blah blah blah, and these are extremely rare treats for us so, no, I'd have definite plans for the leftovers.
*I first said "always," except, a few days ago, I did tell DH that, last year, after our annual trek to Apple Hill, I feared he would offer his friends some of our precious (and expensive) apples (precious and expensive because most of the varieties we got we could only find at Apple Hill which is a few hours away round-trip). I told him I took all the special apples and stuck them in my car so that no one would see the apples and ask him about them, thus prompting DH to give them away. So, an excellent example of me not being willing to give away something expensive. We're talking about apples where we only purchased about 4-6 of a variety so if DH gave away one each to his friends, DH and I would have only 1-2 for each of us. If I wanted to give them away, we would've gotten more. I am happy to share but, unlike DH, I am not willing to share EVERYTHING we have.