I have a confession to make.
I don’t like leftovers.
That’s not to say I NEVER eat leftovers; I often do but they’re just not my favourite thing to eat. I figure I’ve already put creative energy into making the dish in the first place; now I’m supposed to figure out how to repurpose them for another meal? That seems harsh.
I think this aversion to leftovers started when I was little. As with most families back in the 60’s and 70’s, living with parents who, in my case, had experienced WWII firsthand, waste was not tolerated. It mattered not how over-cooked and grey the meal was before me, I had to eat everything on my plate. If I didn’t (or couldn’t manage to sneak it out in a napkin or pass it to our faithful dog), the same plate would be sitting at my place for breakfast the next day. And every meal after that until the offending, neglected food items were gone.
The challenge to not liking leftovers is that I simultaneously don’t like waste. I hate the idea of throwing good food, and these days, more and more expensive food, away. These two conflicting mindsets have been my culinary nemesis for as long as I can remember.
Cue the Leftover King…
Here’s where my partner John comes in. John, by all appearances, loves leftovers. Now, I’m not sure if he truly does LOVE them; maybe he’s just more resigned to their existence and isn’t annoyed by them the way I am. Either way, it’s a coupling that works. And by coupling I’m referring to John and me, not John and the leftovers although, that’s pretty good too.
As I sit here typing away at the kitchen peninsula, John has walked in, opened the fridge and in a happy tone of voice declared “we have leftover steak.” My eyes rolled, he laughed and said, “I should watch what I say while you’re writing… you might write it in.”
More eye rolling. Anyway, where was I?
We have an ongoing joke between us (yes, another one). John often will take last night’s leftovers, put a poached egg or two on it and call it breakfast. I have a whole folder of pictures on my phone entitled, ‘Things John puts eggs on’. I’ll be honest; most of the pictures look like food that is not fit for human consumption. Except for the pristine, perfectly poached eggs gently placed on top. Pizza is a frequent choice for ‘Things John puts eggs on’ and why not? What amuses me most though, is John’s assertion that you can put eggs on everything. I’m not so sure about that but we have yet to encounter a leftover that has failed the ‘can John put an egg on it?’ test.
And yet another Leftover King
Back in Toronto, we had a good friend and neighbour who described his family’s leftover ritual growing up as ‘Point’. As in, ‘take all of the leftovers out of the fridge and just point at the ones you want for dinner’. We loved the term so much, we’ve adopted it in our household too. It seems everyone has a leftover tradition.
So, you can imagine my delight last night on my FaceTime call with my youngest son when he described the dinner he prepared that was ‘fridge clean out’.
He come’s by it honestly except I’m sure he likes his leftovers far more than I do.