Reader Alicia Lebens responds to 'No one will eat the last bite of the 'most Minnesota pan of bars ever':
It's considered rude in Minnesota to take the last of something because of the predominately Scandinavia upbringing that two or three generations ago instilled in their children. I doubt that these cultural and social traditions even exist in the Nordic countries anymore.
When you go to someone's house and they are very traditional, they are socially obligated to offer you something to drink and something to eat. If it is my grandmother's generation, it has to be some kind of food that is hot. It has to be considered a "luncheon" no matter what time it is.
Coffee isn't even optional; you are just going to have it.
However, to take all of the food is considred rude because you "eat the person out of house and home," as in you have taken all of the food they have worked hard to store away. Even though it has been freely given to you, you should show respect by recognizing that you don't want to be a burden to them.
The opposite is also true. At a potluck you cannot take the first scoop of hotdish until a spoon has been placed into the food. This signifies that the food is willingly given and it is acceptable to partake in the meal. You cannot assume that food placed on the table is for you until you receive permission.
I have obviously put some thought into this because it is both charming and infuriating.