What’s the strangest item you’ve brought home from a restaurant?

For me, I think it might be the quail bones I brought home on Saturday. I also brought home one tiny chicken leg bone, but between it being both small and chicken, it hardly counts.

This is a habit I think Jonathan Bloom of Wasted Food would at least somewhat approve of, but I’m not sure. Don’t think I won’t ask him, though!

I bring home bones. I don’t own dogs, and even if I did I wouldn’t give them most bones from restaurants. But I bring home bones anyway.

Though I cited Bloom and Wasted Food as deeper influences a week ago on my state of mind, I’ve been bringing bones home from restaurants since last December. And frugality, not waste, was really the motivation.

See, my friend Dave of Food Trough was one of the folks who bought a hog with me. We both took home a set of neck bones, and only later realized we had done so with the intent of making stock. At that point, we figured we might as well join forces (and neck bones) to make stock together. He also came with me to one of my Tiny Birthday Dinners, and at this particular one, we unexpectedly got pork on the bone. Well! I looked at him and said, “Any reason we couldn’t just rinse this off, throw it in the freezer and use it in our stock later?” He agreed it seemed like a stellar idea, so we did.

It turns out, you get some funny looks if you bring bones home from restaurants, most of the time. But, the truth is, there’s still stuff to make stock in there, even if it’s not as “pure” as, say, straight, uncooked neck bones. And, typically, if you bought something on the bone, you effectively paid for the bone. Why NOT bring it home and get one more use out of it? Good for your wallet, I say.

However, I never thought to bring home quail bones until last night. Of course, I rarely eat quail, but that’s irrelevant. Still, I figured, why not? And I’ll get to see if they totally dissolve as I make poultry stock with them. I’m soon to make a stock that includes chicken bits, turkey bits and quail bits.

But, in truth, probably the best part was that it gave the restaurant a chance to further impress me. I was already pretty impressed – the food was very good and the service had been stellar, but this was truly amazing. I gathered all the bones (my quail bones & Bill’s one measly chicken bone) and asked for them to be wrapped to take home. Our server didn’t even blink. Which, to my recollection, has never happened before. I was impressed.

So, what’s the oddest thing you’ve brought home from a restaurant? Can you top quail bones?

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