Monday, November 9, 2009
Fighting over leftovers
We're not fighting each other for the leftovers. We're fighting because my wife and son often spurn leftovers in favor of a new taste sensation every day. That not only causes conflict, it means I have to sweep the refrigerator and make a meal of them now and then.
My wife and 12-year-old were away this past weekend, so my dinner Saturday night were items from our home-cooked meals in the previous week or so: one fried flounder fillet, one shoulder lamb chop, one chicken sausage and a baked red potato. The only fresh item was a salad of organic spring mix.
Thankfully, my wife assembled her breakfast this morning from leftovers and anticipated my suggestion she finish a couple of spoonfuls of ackee and saltfish. Usually, I open the fridge, then look over and push around the containers, just waiting for my son to return from school and say he's hungry. Then I spring my question: "How about a chicken tacos or should I heat up that chicken leg quarter?"
For about a year now, we've been trying to prepare smaller quantities in an attempt to avoid the leftover issue altogether. We used to make a pound of spaghetti or other pasta each time to accompany meatballs or sausage or to combine with tomato sauce and sardines. Now, we make only a half pound and use only half of a 32-ounce bottle of sauce, but can't even finish that.
This morning, I wanted to defrost chicken for tonight, so I asked my wife if she and our son would be eating the Niman Ranch pork ribs left over from dinner last night, which I served with yellow rice, black beans and salad. She said I should take out only enough chicken for me, because she wants to cut her cholesterol.
We love these fully prepared, naturally raised ribs and I recall that when I was buying them at Trader Joe's, I picked the biggest package there. I could have bought a smaller package, just enough for us to finish at one meal, but didn't -- maybe because I like to have a lot of comforting food around and fear running out.
My father had an encyclopedic memory for leftovers and if he didn't see something from previous nights on the table, he would grill my mother, who prepared a home-cooked meal just about every day. Of course, he didn't consider that she served them for lunch to her three sons or visitors. He wanted to know what happened to all the leftovers.
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