I’ve heard a terrible rumor that some people don’t like leftovers, that they throw away food they can’t finish in one sitting. I hope this is a flagrant lie. The thought of throwing away perfectly good food breaks my heart. Imagine slaving over a meal for hours and only enjoying it once! My dad had a knack for turning day old mashed potatoes or risotto into fried patties, golden brown on the outside and creamy in the center or shredding the dry chicken breasts from a simmering pot of stock into a curry salad studded with crunchy celery and sweet raisins. And of course, there was always cold pizza for breakfast after a night of carry-out from Bill’s. Oftentimes the leftovers were even better than the original meal.
Tonight is leftover night for us and I have been looking forward to it since lunch. Much like my dad would do, I take all the Tupperware containers out of the fridge and line them up on the container with plates, forks, and a pair of tongs. Some nights I take a little bit of everything, because more is more. Other nights I eat only my favorite dish and go back for seconds and thirds, until I decide that it’s more efficient to eat the rest directly out of the Tupperware. After all, it’s rude to leave less than a serving behind!
Another perk of leftover night is the anticipation of coming home from work and doing absolutely nothing, but eat. Growing up, my dad worked and my mom stayed home, but my dad was almost always the one who made dinner. This confused me, but now as a working adult, I completely understand. After hours of taxing my brain and fending off stress, there is nothing more rewarding then mindlessly following a recipe, chopping vegetables, or watching water boil. I find these tedious tasks mesmerizing, rewarding, and cathartic and I know my dad did, too. But every once in a while, after a long day, all I want to do is sit down to a plate of food and enjoy the results of my labor, only without the labor. That’s the beauty of leftovers.