Who has the primary rights to leftovers in the fridge?
The main principle of Refrigeration Law regarding leftovers is Serve Primum, or First-come, First serve. This means that after a dinner, all who wish to graze on the uneaten food are welcome, with no rights of reservation.
If a child has purchased food on her/his own dime, things change: the leftovers are the property of that child until she/he eats the food, discards it, or transfers the right of eating to someone else. This is called the principle of Cibus Meus, or My Food.
But what happens when the parents purchase food in a restaurant and leftovers are taken home? As the food has been gnawed on and picked at, the person who ordered the food in the restaurant gets Cibus Meus privileges at home.
Recently the parents purchased hamburgers for the family. The daughter said she wanted to eat with the family but was ultimately unable and wished to eat the burger later. The hungry father in the morning found the hamburger unattended and ate it. Was he justified in doing so?
The judge (me) ruled that Serve Primum was appropriate because the parents purchased the burgers and no effort was made by the daughter to eat it before the hungry father found it.
Once again, you’re welcome!