Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Difference between 'Leftover' and 'Comeback'

The Old Foodie

Recommended Posts

Hello eGulleters,

I know I have not been contributing to the fun around here of recent months. I plead too many projects, too many family and work hassles.

To start to make up the deficiency I offer the following tidbit for your comment and amusement.

From Fellows’ Menu Maker (Chicago, 1910)

Difference between Leftover and Comeback.

The difference between a leftover and a comeback in culinary parlance is: a leftover is prepared food which has not been dished onto a plate to set before a diner, but which may be kept for service at a future meal. A comeback is food that has been dished onto a plate, probably messed over, and returned to the kitchen. The leftover is an economy; the comeback is a waste.

Food dished onto platters for redishing onto plates, are classified as leftovers when returned to service pantry in the original platter. Such food is not spoiled.

Is this still restaurant parlance?

What does happen to 'comeback' food in a restaurant. Dont answer that, I dont think I want to know.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Other than bread and butter, I don't really know what "comebacks" could be successfully recycled. Not that any of them should be recycled, mind you. I have not heard the term "comeback." Hopefully, it is not in common usage anymore because the practice is no longer common.

I can tell you that when I recently helped clean out the space for a turnkey operation- a new restaurant in a pre-existing space- we had to throw away all the butter that was in ramekins, because it was clear from the presence of breadcrumbs that the butter had been recycled and consolidated.

Some establishments still clarify "comeback" butter for use in the kitchen- butter is expensive- but I don't know whether there's an official term in use for this.

I love to read about the old days in the business. According to this, anything that was served on platters in what we would now call "family-style," but was not touched, could be re-served later. These days, perhaps that kind of thing would go for family meal. But once it's been on the table, it's illegal to serve it to any other paying customer. In the U.S, at least.

That's why it's such a problem when the servers bring the food to the wrong table; you can't just whisk it away and give it to the right people. You have to cook it all over again, which puts the kitchen in the weeds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I worked at a restaurant that would take unfinished bottles of wine, and use them in sauces. I'm not sure the legality of that, but I have no problem with it.

There was a bar up here that was caught recycling beer. NOT fine with that!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At camp we have to plan on 1.5 portions per child, extras they call it. Whatever extras or seconds that don't go out we turn into other dishes. The leftovers are convenient in the use of lateral cooking.

Chix. breast sand. === Avglolemono soup

Marinara sauce === Cream of Tomato & Artichoke

Baked potatoes === Potato skins


Typos are Copyrighted @

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...