Who gets to eat this? Quesadilla edition.
February 25, 2017 3:50 PM   Subscribe

This question is about the equitable division of quesadillas. Please adjudicate our dispute.

At dinnertime there are four quesadillas for the grownups, two for Spouse A and two for Spouse B. Spouse A eats two quesadillas and Spouse B eats one.

Spouse B says the one remaining quesadilla is their property, and continues to be so through to lunchtime the next day, when they plan to eat it in its entirety.

Spouse A says that the next day we return to a "clean slate" situation, re. quesadilla distribution, and therefore the remaining quesadilla should be shared.

Metafilter, what is your verdict?
posted by reshet to Food & Drink (50 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Spouse B if Spouse A wants to keep their all their fingers.
posted by stormygrey at 3:55 PM on February 25, 2017 [105 favorites]

Spouse A is taking advantage of the fact that the status of fourth quesadilla remained ambiguous the evening before. If I were spouse A, I'd be doing the same thing. If I were spouse B, I'd be saying that the last burrito was mine.

Split the final quesadilla, and next time be very explicit before the uneaten food officially becomes a left-over. Or make an across-the-board rule for what happens to delicious food on day 2.
posted by wryly at 3:58 PM on February 25, 2017

It belongs to Spouse B through dinner time 24 hours later.
After that it is standard leftovers.
posted by SLC Mom at 3:58 PM on February 25, 2017 [31 favorites]

In our household, if Spouse B specifically claimed the quesadilla for tomorrow's lunch, then Spouse A would be bound to respect that. However, if Spouse B happened to forget to take the quesadilla to work with them for lunch the next day, then Spouse A would be entitled to eat it.

If no specific claim was staked, said quesadilla would be considered fair game for whoever got around to eating if first.
posted by erst at 4:00 PM on February 25, 2017 [38 favorites]

Since Spouse B has specifically claimed it for lunch, it's theirs. Agreed with erst that forgetting to bring the quesadilla to lunch nullifies this claim -- if Spouse B leaves for work before Spouse A and the quesadilla's still in the fridge, Spouse A can totally eat it for breakfast.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 4:07 PM on February 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

If Spouse B called dibs through lunch, they have dibs through lunch. (And if Spouse B is always calling dibs on the leftovers, Spouse B might want to consider being more equitable.)
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 4:07 PM on February 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, people. Yes, the internet can help you.

In your initial statement, you (reshet) claim that there are four quesadillas for the grownups, two four Spouse A and two for Spouse B. When you use the verb "for," it implies that both spouses (spice?) understood that they possessed two (2) quesadillas. Is this the case? Was is implicit in typical dinnertime fairness, or did someone say "these two (2) are for you?"

If you are both drawing from a community pool of four (4) quesadillas, and no assumption of possession was made by either party, then Spouse A can say something like "Hey, are you going to eat that?" But to eat it without asking is rude, with or without assumption of quesadilla possession. But if you, Spouse A, cooked four quesadillas and said "Hey, these two are for you" then you'd be a scurvy dog to take the last uneaten quesadilla.

I am typically Spouse A, and my Spouse B pretty much always forgets to take the lunch. So, I pretty much always get the last Q, which I eat after Spouse A's typical lunch break. My Spouse B has stated a general assumption of a 50/50 split of all grownup dinnertime foods, and that her 50/50 claim expires after lunch the next day. B/c sometimes she dashes home from work to eat the forgotten lunch.

This works for us because we communicated.

(Oh, I recall the shame of being found eating a reheated quesadilla in one's pajamas at 12:15 PM. The life of a freelancer, knowutImsayin?)

If you communicated regarding the state of equally split dinners and leftovers: then follow those rules.
If you didn't communicate: Jeez do I have to fill in the blanks for you people? Either communicate, or cede the fuckin' quesadilla to your spouse.

I personally like "Hey, are you going to eat that?"

The Internet
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 4:09 PM on February 25, 2017 [13 favorites]

Best answer: In our household both spouses would be punished for not just making more quesadillas. They are quesadillas, how hard is it to make 4 more?
posted by Toddles at 4:20 PM on February 25, 2017 [49 favorites]

For the specific case of quesadillas, just make another quesadilla.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 4:24 PM on February 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

If both spouses want leftover quesadilla, why doesn't Spouse A make (or buy*) another one? Then there are two leftover quesadilla?

Spouse B has the right of first refusal through lunch, especially since this is an established pattern.

* I don't know why, but if it's a purchased quesadilla then that makes Spouse B's claim stronger in my head.
posted by ghost phoneme at 4:25 PM on February 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Argh, this question is making me unreasonably angry (fortunately, I checked with my spouse and we're on the same page - marital strife avoided!). It's Spouse B's.

It's Spouse B's in perpetuity, or until they come out and say "Hey, I'm not gonna eat that other quesadilla, do you want it?"

If Spouse A had wanted leftovers, they should have thought ahead and not eaten both of their quesadillas at dinner.

posted by DingoMutt at 4:26 PM on February 25, 2017 [61 favorites]

Best answer: If the remaining quesadilla was specifically for Spouse B then B is within B's property rights to decide not to eat B's quesadilla until a later time. Having specified that later time without ceding the quesadilla to generalized leftovers, the quesadilla remains B's property. It is unceded to general leftovers until such time as B specifically changes that status.

A may make inquiries ("Are you still planning to eat this?") and even entreaties ("Hey, I'm starved do you mind if I eat your quesadilla?") during any extended term of possession which falls after the specified time of consumption (lunch tomorrow), but may not make such inquiries or entreaties prior to the specified time. They must abide by B's ongoing possession of B's quesadilla until 1 day prior to the day in which the only way to know whether the Quesadilla would cause food-poisoning is to post a "Can I eat this?" to Ask Metafilter. At that point, a final warning "Hey, if we don't eat this quesadilla, it's going to go bad, so I'm going to have it for a snack." is necessary before eating the quesadilla.

This theory of possession is largely based on the fact that B's behaviour toward B's quesadilla may have varied if they were not secure in their knowledge that they would retain possession over time. B may have thought during dinner, "I could totally eat that second quesadilla, but I don't need the calories, I think I'll save it for lunch tomorrow." Had B been aware that A regarded any uneaten quesadilla as community property, B might have simply consumed it at the time.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:29 PM on February 25, 2017 [48 favorites]

Who cooked? How do you guys split food expenses, if at all? Do both spouses work at home or does one take lunch and one eats at home? Does "grownups" imply there are also child quesadillas? How do those get split up?

I have strong feelings in favor of Spouse B since I am a huge fan of leftovers and a smaller person than my SO so I often eat less. I do have a tendency to fetishize the last bite/piece/slice however so I am clear about my desires. If I am saving it or want to save it then I make that clear. Leftovers are usually designated yours/mine/ours before they go back into the fridge.

Spouse A's position makes no sense to me. I am not saying it makes no sense in the world, just that it makes no sense to how I view what cooking and eating dinner together means.
posted by jessamyn at 4:35 PM on February 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

It belongs to Spouse B forever and ever.
Spouse B is even responsible for throwing it out once it grows mold in the fridge.

If Spouse A is so desperately hungry, or loutishly aggressive to ask Spouse B to reclaim it, Spouse B may charitatably relinquish it or exclaim "Make your own dang quesidilla and keep your filthy hands off mine!"
posted by littlewater at 4:48 PM on February 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

Food division should be based on the original portion size, especially for discrete foodstuffs like quesadillas or donuts or slices of pizza. You only get a clean slate when you order/make a new meal.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:51 PM on February 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

If Spouse A wants three quesadillas, Spouse A should make or request a pool of no less than six quesadillas. If Spouse A just wants it because it's there, Spouse B should give Spouse A some side eye, reiterate their claim to half* the communal quesadilla pool, and possibly bop Spouse A on the head with a rolled up newspaper.

*or whatever split works as a usual measure of how much you each eat at meals. If you are Andre the Giant-ish married to a Tinkerbell type, I would expect you to eat more than half. But you don't get to change the split after the food is made. Plan ahead, Andre.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:52 PM on February 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I'm with DingoMutt on the unreasonable anger. I'm all "What kind of a MONSTER would eat what is CLEARLY Spouse B's quesadilla until such a time as Spouse B voluntarily relinquishes it?" I also agree with Jacquilynne's breakdown of how the timeline for the ultimate fate of the quesadilla should play out.
posted by tiger tiger at 4:57 PM on February 25, 2017 [19 favorites]

Spouse A is shady and it smacks of "what's mine is mine and what's yours is also mine." Boo to that.

Quesadilla 4 belongs to Spouse B, who I hope got a pre-nup.
posted by kimberussell at 5:04 PM on February 25, 2017 [32 favorites]

It certainly seems fair for Spouse B to get it. But I've seen a similar situation play out with cookies in my household that makes me feel Spouse A may have a point. When we bake cookies, the kids always want everyone to get an equal number of cookies and they want any of their allotment not eaten that night to be saved specifically for them to eat the next day. But one kid has less of an appetite for cookies than the rest of us do, so her saved cookies sometimes end up being forgotten. If someone doesn't go ahead and eat them, they may just go to waste. When that kid sets aside cookies for herself based on the idea that everyone should get exactly the same number, it may just needlessly deprive other people of cookies they actually want more than she wants them. If this is what often happens in the A and B household, then maybe A isn't being so unreasonable. But if it's pretty clear that B really wants that quesadilla the next day and really will eat it if it's available, then A should let B have it.

Unless A made the quesadillas. In that case, it might be reasonably for A to say, "I made quesadillas, I generously let you eat your fill of them so you didn't have to make your own dinner, and now I own the leftovers." (But this argument doesn't work if A made the quesadillas as part of an equitable division of labor. If A always cooks and B always washes up, or if A cooks one night and B cooks the next night, or A cooks and B walks the dogs, then A doesn't get to own whatever is cooked.)
posted by Redstart at 5:04 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am also unreasonably angry about this and had to pause the Stargate Atlantis rewatch currently happening in my living room so as to read the quandry out to my roomie and my own spouse. Fortunately, we are unanimous: if Spouse B wants the quesadilla, it's Spouse B's damn quesadilla. If Spouse A wishes to eat it for lunch, Spouse A may delicately ask whether Spouse B wants to eat it for lunch or at some future point, but Spouse B is entirely within rights to say "no, it is mine!" and then all argument must cease.

This comes up frequently in our household because I eat like a bird at the best of times and my partner eats about twice to three times what I do despite being approximately the same size as me. I fill up much faster, is all. So we frequently have asymmetrical distribution of leftovers, especially when it's something we've eaten out for so portion sizes aren't strictly allocated. (When I cook, I tend to make massive portions that create many leftovers suitable for freezing or eating for lunch tomorrow.) I also am much more prone to going "no don' wannit" at the slightest provocation about food, so it's not uncommon for my metaphorical Spouse A to genuinely consider whether or not they have a shot at that leftover thing because they often do.

They still ask anyway, every time, if they want to eat something before it's been in the fridge 24 hours, just in case. (After that, fair game.) And I am terribly grateful about this. I want the good thing too, dammit, and it is not my fault I have less gastric capacity to consume it all at once!
posted by sciatrix at 5:09 PM on February 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

* I don't know why, but if it's a purchased quesadilla then that makes Spouse B's claim stronger in my head.

This is also my opinion, under the theory that purchased quesadillas may not be able to be recreated easily at home so that once it's eaten, it's gone. On the other hand, foods cooked at home are an easily renewable resource. As someone who typically demands quesadillas to be filled with interesting vegetables, this sounds quite possible to me.
posted by sciatrix at 5:13 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think it probably belongs to Spouse B. The way I think about it is, if you went out to dinner and both ordered quesadillas and Spouse B brought one home, it would still be Spouse B's leftovers. It seems reasonable to treat this the same way.

Now, that said, who made the quesadillas or put in the most effort? If Spouse A made them, I'd say, let Spouse A have the leftovers, because in that case, it's as if Spouse A ordered four quesadillas and gave Spouse B one.

All that said, this isn't a big deal. There's no context here, but I hope this isn't a big deal and, if this is an argument, you will be the bigger person and go buy the both of you Chipotle or something.
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:17 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Spouse A is a dick.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 5:18 PM on February 25, 2017 [13 favorites]

Given how passionate many of us seem to be about this leftover quesadilla, I can't be the only one hoping reshet returns to tell us how this turned out...
posted by tiger tiger at 5:22 PM on February 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I don't even like quesadillas, which I think makes me the most neutral answerer ever, and I'm still getting angry at this question. There are 4. Two for each.

At the end of the meal, A can ask for the fourth, uneaten one. That's fair - maybe they weren't so delicious, maybe more will be forthcoming the next day, maybe they're still all liminal and share-y in the relationship. But if B says no, fourth one is mine, then that is B's quesadilla even if that means it's tomorrow night and it's still sitting there and there's no other food in the house.

A can still ask for it. But it's still B's to decide.

Love means never having to say "I changed my mind and now I want 3/4 of the things."
posted by Mchelly at 5:25 PM on February 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

if i was like "hey so this quesadilla that was on my dinner plate tonight? im eating it for lunch tomorrow" and someone, anyone, my mom, obama, the fucking second coming of christ himself himself was like "nope it's fair game sorry" i would take that quesadilla down to the docks and throw it dramatically in the sea and then never eat in the presence of the greedy food grabber again.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:35 PM on February 25, 2017 [61 favorites]

i would split it with michelle though
posted by poffin boffin at 5:42 PM on February 25, 2017 [43 favorites]

It's Spouse B's and if Spouse A were to eat the quesadilla without an explicit invite or permission from Spouse A, I would be advising Spouse B to DTMFQuesadillaStealer.

Reasoning : there were 2 quesadillas per spouse. It is up to each spouse as to when to eat their allocation. Spouse B does not lose their right to their second quesadilla simply because they chose to save it for later instead of eating 2 at once.
posted by pianissimo at 5:46 PM on February 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

Fairness requires an explicit agreement that is acceptable to both parties. Neither party gets to impose the terms of an agreement without the other's approval. The classic example is dividing a single slice of cake between two parties: one party should cut the cake, and the other should choose which slice they want. That is fair.

I was once asked to advise someone on a roommate situation where one roommate met with the leasing agent and screened the apartment while the other was unable to do so. The apartment had two bedrooms, and one was larger than the other. The roommate who did the extra legwork told the roommate who had not that he was claiming the larger room in recompense for the his labor. Does that sound fair? It isn't. There was no pre-existing agreement, and the roommate who couldn't be there has a legitimate claim to the larger room. I think they flipped a coin.

Since you don't have a pre-existing agreement, I don't think either one of you has a "claim" to uneaten food. You can certainly appeal to precedent, and that is what I suggest you do. But if either party feels very strongly about this, then please try to follow the "doctrine of fairness" I outlined earlier. One person should propose terms, and the other should accept, reject and counter-propose, or modify and ask the other person if the terms are acceptable. Rinse, wash, and repeat as necessary. Peace and love, peace and love.
posted by Mr. Fig at 5:47 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ok, so here's how leftovers work in my house. This policy was born from the fact that my wife hates wasting food but also has a bad habit of not eating leftovers.

Everything I say from this point on is based on the assumption that I ate my part and the left over food in question is from her part. It also works on the college kid time scale where days start when a person wakes up and not at midnight.

- Anything from a restaurant belongs to the person who ordered it for the rest of the day and the two full days after. So if we go out to eat breakfast on Sunday then she gets the rest of Sunday and all of Monday/Tuesday to eat her leftover stuff.

- In a time period that makes sense (which I know is really ambiguous but it somehow works out for us every time) she gets to say that she's saving the food for a certain time. So if we go out to eat on Sunday she can say she's saving it for Saturday. In reality she'd never save something for that long which is probably a large part of why our system works.

- After 3 full days after the food in question was made (because I want to make sure that it's really ok for me to eat "her" food) I can eat it no questions asked.

- There are certain foods that I know she won't eat as leftovers. Those can be eaten by me whenever I feel like it because a pattern has been established and I've confirmed the pattern verbally. I know she won't eat leftover pizza. I know she will eat leftover Chinese. If I'm not sure I default to not eating it.

In short, I make damn sure she doesn't want it before I eat it. But part of that is because she's pickier than me, and most of that is because I'm not picky at all and will eat leftover Chinese for breakfast and she won't because it's not a breakfast food.
posted by theichibun at 5:59 PM on February 25, 2017

In this household, all food is fair game, at any time.
posted by metaseeker at 6:06 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ah, sweet vindication. Thanks you guys, these answers gave me much pleasure. I'm Spouse B, obviously.

I promise Spouse A is not really a greedy, terrible quesadilla-hog - he was just trying his luck, in good humour.

He did not get the remaining quesadilla, and he raised no protest about this totally fair and just outcome.
posted by reshet at 6:12 PM on February 25, 2017 [43 favorites]

All these answers seem to assume the question is about quesadillas, which it is not. It is not about food, and who eats it -- yes, even if it is Texas Fudge Cake. It is about "manners" which is another way of saying trying to make sure you don't add another small stone to someone else's rocky road of life. (And yes, we all walk a pretty rocky road, even if we are the luckiest person in the world.)

So it's not question of fair/not fair, or right/not right. It's being alert to whether your spouse is maybe expecting to eat it later, and will be disappointed to not have it, or probably won't care so you ask just to be sure before you eat it. Real basic stuff here.
posted by kestralwing at 6:14 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I sort of feel that King Solomon would order A and B to volunteer at a food bank to think about what they've done, but A would have a 50% longer shift.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:16 PM on February 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

It also works on the college kid time scale where days start when a person wakes up and not at midnight.

Oh, that reminds me of a corollary: If there is a teenaged boy in the house, he will eat the quesadilla regardless of the overall fairness or whatever the decision between A & B. There is no known workaround for this.
posted by Mchelly at 6:21 PM on February 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

Oh, that reminds me of a corollary: If there is a teenaged boy in the house, he will eat the quesadilla regardless of the overall fairness or whatever the decision between A & B.

Note to self: never live with a teenaged boy or anyone who cannot understand that the leftover quesadilla belongs to B.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:48 PM on February 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

Most optimal to least optimal:

- Spouse B announces the plan for the last quesadilla at the end of dinner/well in advance of lunch on day 2.
- On day 2, Spouse A asks the status of the quesadilla, reminding Spouse B to call dibs or not.
- On day 2, Spouse A asks the status of the quesadilla, with the hopeful desire of receiving some/part of the quesadilla
- On day 2, Spouse A tells Spouse B that Spouse A is taking half the leftover quesadilla
- On day 2, Spouse A eats the whole quesadilla without asking, then falls off a cliff.
posted by itesser at 7:52 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

This might be a fun case for Judge John Hodgman, if you're so inclined.

I agree with the 24 hour rule. Spouse B for 24 hours, after that, it's fair game.

My spouse says this is a negated case because there should never, ever be leftover quesadillas.
posted by getawaysticks at 8:37 PM on February 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Recast this as dollars instead of quesadillas and see where you fall.
posted by radiosilents at 8:49 PM on February 25, 2017

The remaining quesadilla is Spouse B's in perpetuity until they consume it or decide to share it with Spouse A.

I just called my husband in and read him the question and he SQUAWKED in outrage that the quesadilla could be anyone's other than Spouse B's.

Leftover stealing is a very serious crime in the Aqua Household.
posted by Aquifer at 8:53 PM on February 25, 2017 [8 favorites]

I cannot believe there is discussion on this topic. I'm boondoggled. It's ANARCHY. Property CEASES TO EXIST CONCEPTUALLY under Spouse A's authoritarian rule. Society literally collapses if Spouse A's notions are even entertained.
posted by radiosilents at 9:02 PM on February 25, 2017 [20 favorites]

Don't Take My Food, Ass.
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:00 AM on February 26, 2017 [7 favorites]

Here's a case where office/student-house rules for leftovers can work at home.

If it's in the fridge and it has your name on it, then (a) it's yours and (b) it's you who gets yelled at if it's still there turning into a biology experiment two months later.

If it's in the fridge and it has no name on it, then (a) it's fair game and (b) never arises in practice.
posted by flabdablet at 6:35 AM on February 26, 2017

In our family leftover division, some critical questions would be:

-Was it on B's plate or specifically ordered by B? (They asked for two, bought two, whichever.) Then it 100% belongs to them.
-Is it part of a meal of other things that can be split into two reasonable lunchtime portions, and is a quesadilla-free portion a little sad looking? Then it would probably be split.
-If the answer to both is no, then the quesadilla is a single lunch serving that can't be split. In which case it usually belongs to the person who cooked because they were the one doing the emotional labor of planning ahead.

Either way the real answer would be for the food maker to make 5, or to ask everyone how many quesadillas they want prepared. For food made in large uniform quantities like pasta we don't do that, but for things made in units, we do check, and "do I want that for lunch tomorrow" is part of that dinnertime calculation.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:14 AM on February 26, 2017

The quesadilla rightfully belongs in it's entirety to Spouse B.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 7:24 AM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm late to the question, but I have to chime in as one of the people who is agog and aghast at the idea that anyone would question Spouse B's clear leftovers rights in this situation.
posted by Edna Million at 3:40 PM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is a specific item of food that was intended for one person, and unless Spouse B gives up rights, that quesadilla remains their possession literally until it molds away and turns to dust.

This is not like a pot of soup, or dish of casserole or something, where there's some gray area. If something belongs to someone they can do what they want with it, without time limits.

Also, I agree, plural of spouse should be spice.
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:41 PM on February 26, 2017


Easiest multiple choice question I've answered in quite some time.
posted by maryr at 8:20 AM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Spouse B should not be penalized for choosing not to gorge on quesadillas all in one sitting. If you want to get an agreement on record that after X amount of time, leftovers become free game for all inhabitants, that's one thing. But until that time, that quesadilla belongs to Spouse B until the end of its logical life cycle.
posted by helloimjennsco at 11:12 AM on February 28, 2017

What about Child B, Child C, and Child D, who all smell something good, enter the kitchen, see the quesadillas being cooked, and begin to shout loudly about who gets to take the leftovers for lunch tomorrow -- even though the meal hasn't yet even started, and there may be anything from zero leftovers to Enough To Go Around when it ends?

(N.b.: Child A just makes whatever lunch she wants, and remains above the fray.)
posted by wenestvedt at 1:06 PM on April 4, 2017

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