In a fiscally responsible household purchasing fast food or take-out six days a week overextends the grocery budget. What can the family do on those evenings when time is fleeting and cash is nonexistent? Leftovers open the door to survival. Dinner becomes whatever can be scrounged from the fridge and served hot or cold accompanied by a minimum of adornments. (Of course, the presence of leftovers implies that someone thoughtfully prepared a first run of the food earlier. Don’t forget to add that person’s name to your list of reasons to be thankful.)
Aluminum foil was the wrapper of choice for leftovers in the golden age of my youth. Only Mom, the dispenser of food, knew what chilled inside those gleaming blobs. None were labeled, perhaps to camouflage them from a ravenous pack of boys. Mom knew that the leftover meatloaf could anchor a second meal or that the last chunk of roast beef might be multiplied into barbecue sandwiches. We always had good food, well, except for the pickled corn incident! She was a master of wasting nothing.
Shawn is a leftover aficionado also. She plans leftovers into her weekly menu. I refer to that meal as Compost Night. For non-gardeners, compost starts as scraps and waste then morphs into something beneficial and healthy. My heartfelt question, “What’s for supper?” is answered by Shawn’s loving reply, “Compost.” That’s fine by me. She’s a great cook, and her reruns are better than some prime time attempts I’ve tasted from others.
Leftovers abound in benefits but also display serious drawbacks.
Who among us has not undertaken an odyssey to locate the source of the unpleasant aroma wafting from the fridge each time the door is opened? A desperate search of the nether regions uncovers a lost chicken leg that has returned to life or at least smells like something occupying a barnyard.
We have much Tupperware® and products of that ilk. Plastic containers supposedly increase the shelf life of leftovers beyond that provided by foil. Leftovers, no matter how they are stored, have a limited life span. Non-transparent containers master in deception and the contents remain a mystery until one de-burps the lid. And then it’s too late. Whoosh! The toxic cloud escapes to burn a fresh hole in the ozone. Three-week old broccoli can flatten a 200 pound man in a microsecond.
For best results practice simple safety rules with leftovers.
- If in doubt toss it out.
- Anything sporting a green fuzzy coat is out of style. Bury it.
- If the aroma of the opened container can be detected outside the kitchen don’t eat or heat the contents.
- Refrain from ingesting any unidentifiable substance.
- Never archive broccoli or beans for longer than two days. Their gas-producing tendencies operate inside a sealed container the same as in the digestive track. Methane surprise awaits the inquisitive fridge snooper.
- A leftover serving of dessert belongs to the finder who in no way incurs any obligation to share. Said treasure may be best eaten in hiding to avoid conflict.
- Examine all fridge containers on trash day and make an attempt to relocate expired items into the weekly pickup.
God addressed leftover sacrifices in the Law of Moses. Interesting. This was before the Tupperware® age, and refrigeration only functioned during winter months. Were these restrictions included to prevent food-borne illness?
Now when you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and the next day; but what remains until the third day shall be burned with fire. So if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an offense; it will not be accepted.
Leviticus 19:5-7 NASB
Next week is Thanksgiving. Most of our tables will be adorned with delicious food. We’ll pause to offer a prayer thanking our God for His provision. Depending on circumstances we may enjoy leftovers for several days. Are we just as thankful for the food second time around?
Share with us. How many ways do you know to disguise leftover turkey?