Hey Minnesota, you left a little something there. Right there. On the plate. Yeah, that. That one-eighth of a doughnut.
How did you even cut it that small?
Why didn't you just eat it?
‘Cause you’re a Minnesotan, that’s why, and you’d rather admit the accents in “Fargo” are highly accurate than take the last bite of a communal food offering.
For anyone who has ever been perplexed by this Midwest-modesty-in-overdrive that prevents people from taking the last literal square inch of a seven-layer bar off the paper plate in the break room, there’s now a place to share your frustrations.
Jenn Bouma and Natalia Mendez started a Facebook group, “Cursed Last Bites of Minnesota,” last month.
It documents the bizarre leftovers that Minnesotans’ deeply engrained sense of fairness will just not allow them to eat. One forkful left of cake. The heel of a banana bread loaf. Half a mozzarella stick. (C’mon! The cheese is leaking out! Just eat it!)
Why does this happen? Where did it come from? Is there an overzealous sharing unit in Minnesota kindergarten curriculum?
The “always leave the last bite” phenomenon is something Bouma noticed as a transplant from Illinois, she told City Pages.
From City Pages:
"Like, people aren't even doing it on a conscious level," Bouma says. "They just want not to be the one that takes the last piece, because someone might be hungrier than me, someone who needs this."
Is that it? Are Minnesotans just too nice to take that last bite of oatmeal cookie? Cookies aren't meant to be split, folks. The cookie is the serving.
For what it’s worth, MPR producer Max Nesterak points out that Minnesotans aren’t alone in this problem. The Germans even have a word for it, because of course they do. “Höflichkeitsgeste,” which translates as “the polite piece,” means the last piece that no one wants to take — because it’s the last piece.
But just take the doughnut, Minnesota. Don’t let it sit around getting stale until you find someone from Massachusetts to eat it.
If you see this kind of food crime going on in your office, at least now you have a place to share it: You can post the absurdly small leftovers on Cursed Last Bites of Minnesota.
There are plenty of culprits at Minnesota Public Radio. Pictures below.
(Disclaimer: I’m from Oregon.)
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.