I Ate Leftovers For Lunch Today, and I Feel Great

It is my duty and responsibility to eat the leftovers.  In some cultures, I hear, leftovers are obscene, that even the thought of wrapping up what's left on the restaurant table and taking it home is repulsive. Whether or not that is the case with food left on the table at home, I do not know.  I'm not even sure what country this is we're talking about. I want to say England, but I could be so wrong that it would be embarrassing to speculate. France sounds more like it, but really, I could have sworn it was England. I never thought of leftovers as anything but virtuous.  My grandma lived through the great depression.  There was no drop of milk that wasn't worth saving for the next meal.*  My in-laws are just the opposite.  They'll throw away an entire bowlful of cereal crumbs just because they can't stand the idea of putting that box back in the cupboard.  I don't get it.  What's the big deal?  Save it until tomorrow, I'll eat it for breakfast, then you can throw the box away.

Really, I prefer leftovers.  What could be easier, and frankly, when it comes to food, I'll take easy. Sure, it tastes great to cook the spinach with garlic and onions and turmeric, but it's not so bad raw with a little leftover rice.  What's the difference?  In a few minutes it's all over anyway, and I'd rather get on with my day.

I figure, put the pot right in the frig. It saves having to wash an extra dish and fussing with moving the stuff from one container to another. Maybe the pot thing makes more sense when you know we don't have a microwave or a dishwasher.  Why not leave it in the container you are going to use to heat it back up?  Some thing about it infuriates my husband. He'll let it pass for a few days.  But after a pot has been in there a week, he flips out. He takes out all the pots in the frig and all the glass containers from the cupboard that he bought "for this very purpose" and lines them up on the table. Then, if I'm lucky, he gives a demonstration, showing how to properly estimate the amount of stuff in the pot.  It is very important to him to choose the right size container.  It's not that he even minds when he chooses one that is too small.  In fact, he prefers to fill the container so full that when he puts the lid on, the sauce squishes over the brim and oozes down the sides and onto the table.  But don't let him catch you using a container that's too big.  He goes nuts when he finds three carrot slices in a quart-size container.  Absolutely nuts.  And don't even get me started about how he feels when I put a bowl in there with a plate as a lid.  It makes total sense to me.  Saves having to use plastic wrap and provides a hard surface for stacking other bowls of leftovers.  And once again, when you're ready to eat it, you don't need to bother putting whatever it is into a bowl since it is already in one. What could be more logical than that?

My husband claims that he likes leftovers, but I don't see him eating them very often.  He does occasionally pack a lunch with leftovers, but just as occasionally, I find it hanging on the doorknob where he hung it so he wouldn't forget to take it. I wonder what he eats for lunch on those days?  I eat whatever's in the bag.

Note: Plain Malt-o-meal is a great substitute for rice.  Scrap in the dozen or so black beans from the sauce pan on the stove.  Even if they've been there for a few days, no worries since they most likely don't contain meat.  Chop up the half a tomato left on the table overnight, sprinkle on the parmesan cheese that was freshly grated two weeks ago, crispy but still good, and the shredded raw cabbage, browning and limp, but still good.  Any leftover meat or tofu product, chopped, will be a fine addition. Avocados look like they are bad before they actually are. Vinegar and oil based salad dressing last way longer than the expiration date implies.  Use the last remains of any bottle to give a little spice. Salt to taste. Enjoy.

Note on the Note: Leftovers are only served to family and very very very good friends.  So most likely, you have nothing to worry about.

*This extends to food that no one wants to eat, which must be left in the frig until it molds, at which point it may be discarded.


  1. Remarkable how these small choices in a day can carry so much freight with us and how letting go of the freight can allow us to soar...more likely like Icarus until the next little thing.....Grandpa John

    1. Exactly! So I ask: Why can't your son allow the leftovers to reside in a pot? Perhaps it's in the genes??

  2. Oh, Joanna, this one made me laugh out loud--particularly the third paragraph. You have a talent for capturing & describing important details that really make a story pop. Thanks for the much-needed laugh on a Thursday morning-- a Thursday on which I was so tired I chose to sleep through yoga class. :)

  3. This was one of my favorites too. I've gone from being more like your adorable hubby to being more like you when it comes to leftovers so both perspectives cracked me up! Plus, knowing both of you and being able to imagine the "leftover line-up" and A freaking out over using "too large" containers made me miss you both in a big, but fond & loving, way. xoxoxo

    1. Calling my husband "adorable," that narrows the pool quite a bit.

      But still not exactly sure of your identity.

      Needless to say, Unknown, we also miss you in a big, but fond & loving, way.