Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Paean In Praise of Leftovers.

Even   though I am constantly protesting that I don't know nuthin',. I am frequently coming to conclusions which could be filed under "Things I Think Could Be True........For the Time Being Anyway."  And one of the things I have concluded to be undeniably true is that there are two kinds of people in this world..........those that love leftovers and  them that hates 'em. 


Oddly enough, I have come to believe that what motivates both types is good, old fashioned fear.  (actually, I think that motivates almost everything we do, one way or another....but that is for another blog).


There are people like me who are so afraid (yea, terrified and paralyzed with fear) of not cooking "enough" for the particular occasion that they prepare vittles sufficient to feed an army.  Consequently, after those who came to the table to be fed have  staggered off, stuffed with second and third helpings, we are left to view the scene, and mutter shamefacedly (while eying the mountains of food left on the table), "I guess I made too much".   The shame quickly fades and is followed immediately by raucous cackling and gleeful rubbing of hands at the prospect of LEFTOVERS.  Lunches for days, dinners and midnight snacks for nights into the coming week without the need to stir a pot or lift a spoon (except as a tool with which to nibble the delicacies that your overstuffed guests have left behind.   Oh joy!  Oh rapture!  And so many things taste even better the 2nd and 3rd day anyway.....Glorious leftovers....... a gift from heaven.


And then there are those others.  I cannot promise to properly explain the thinking of those people, but I will give it a try.   I firmly believe this it is also fear....... a fear of waste or an  inexplicable fear and dread of LEFTOVERS.  That is the only acceptable excuse I can come up with for stingy portions.......unless it is just plain  stinginess.  (that could be it, couldn't it?).  After all,  it is no more trouble to cook 8 chicken breasts than it is to make 4.   (a bigger pan helps)And the very idea of someone leaving your table hungry is such a fearsome thought that it cannot be tolerated for a moment by type #1 folk and generates a panic that says, "Better have another appetizer and two more side dishes, maybe".  (Hmmmm I do wonder if this could be a Jewish thing?????) (back to that later )

If you are poor and cannot afford chicken breasts, folks of my ilk will be undaunted and will serve up huge portions of Chili and Beans sparked with tons of chopped raw, sweet red onion, bowls of Tabouli (bulgar wheat, tomatoes, onions, mint, olive oil and lemon juice) and hummus with lots of fresh pita bread for dipping.  Wealth does not make a feast........cooks with love in their hearts for food and for people make feasts.


Talking about all of this reminds me of my beloved friend, Dorothy..........the one who taught me to curse properly by adding  "shitpissfuck" to my vocabulary.  And thinking about Dorothy brings me back to my whimsical query about whether bountiful, groaning  tables might be a Jewish thing.  You see, the fact is that Dorothy, a paragon of virtue and  possessor of  numerous talents was one of the worst sinnners in category # 2 described above and   it always baffled me because Dorothy was a superb cook and great hostess, but Dorothy was only HALF Jewish.  An invitation to Dorothy's for dinner was a highly prized thing and we all knew that we would be fed in high gourmet style, on lovely china and with candlelight, shining flatware, goblets and fine wine.  The conversation would be bright, intelligent and funny  and you would leave delightfully entertained but dreadfully hungry.  If  Dorothy had 6 people to dinner she would present a platter with 7 chicken breasts, one helping of veggies for each guest and 6 wonderful dinner rolls.  Maybe even a potato for each.....whatever there was for dinner, there would be one serving for each person and perhaps a teensie smidge over....like the 7th chicken breast.  Everybody desperately wanted the last breast but none of us had the guts to take it and we all knew that it would not look civilized (which we all felt we were)  if we divided it up into 6 pieces and scraped the smidgeons remaining in each bowl plus spinning a bottle  to see who got to lick the spoon.  So, the 7th breast always remained forlornly on the plate, hugely coveted but unclaimed.  

When everyone left and I was helping Dorothy clean up I once asked her why she didn't make more  food in case someone wanted seconds.    She looked at me like I was crazy and said in the most scathing and condescending tone of voice..........., "For heaven's sake, what for......Haven't you noticed there is always one piece leftover?

28 comments:

  1. I LOVE leftovers!! Especially pizza for breakfast the next morning...

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    1. I'm on that page too. Are we related? LOL.

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  2. Once Dave made so much barbecued pork that he was shoveling leftovers into ziploc bags for everyone to take home. To the tune of at least two pounds per person. I think y'all would get along. And I like leftovers more than the original.

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  3. G'day Lo. My mother always believed that it is better to cook too much food for guests, than not enough and I have always followed her rule. Left overs are a must in our house. Take care. Liz...

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  4. I enjoy leftovers. My problem is that I keep my fridge packed with food and invariably I forget about what I wanted to enjoy again. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I have to toss it. I chalk it up to a busy schedule.

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  5. LOL! No, it's not a Jewish thing. My Sweetie, who grew up Southern Baptist, would tell you about the groaning tables at both "eatin' meetin's" and Ma'am Beeson's table, as well as others. And in my house, i just cook, and count noses, and start serving (we usually have bunches of stray children hanging around).

    Leftovers are planned for, and become lunches at work, or worked into the next meal. If i had 6 guests for dinner, i might not afford chicken breasts, but there would probably be at least 3 roasted chickens, plus sides and salads and gravy for the chicken, and the leftover meat would be chopped, the bones boiled into broth, the whole used for gumbo.

    Leftovers rule!

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  6. I always say that in a former lifetime I was a cook for a lumberjack camp. What else could explain the huge amounts of food I always cook? It was one thing when I was feeding six for dinner every night but now it's just two and there's always too much. Luckily, my husband doesn't mind eating leftovers at all.
    I loved the Dorothy story!

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  7. I don't cook, so I don't make leftovers. I do love to be invited over for dinner.

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  8. I used to love leftovers... I could cook on Sunday and make a dish last all week. However, it seems that with my son around again, there's no such thing as leftovers anymore! *Shitpissfuck!*

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  9. My husband's cry is 'Cook so and so...that way we'll have the leftovers to make such and such...'
    I enjoy cooking for family and friends...but when on my own it's the leftovers...if there are any left....

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  10. Leftovers? You have leftovers?

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  11. I'll eat your leftovers anytime. :D Your final line was a perfectly timed one-two punch. I laughed out loud.

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  12. Leftovers my husband the cook specializes in. As the second oldest of ten kids, and the father of six, he always makes too much. The biggest challenge is finding them all in the refrigerator before they go bad.

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  13. Leftovers rule. This is not a Jewish thing.

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  14. I have eight bottles of bubbly, six of red and five of white, and a dozen beers left over from my party Saturday. I really can't think what to do with them.

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  15. Since John passed I hardly cook,,When all of the kids were home, I cooked!!! Boy did I cook!!! I miss that but here comes a bit of that "fear" you spoke of...Do I remember how..Your last line had me laughing outloud! How I love reading your blogs,,,xo

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  16. Leftovers make life easier, for as long as they last. And I have always made way too much food for company...I overestimate how much people will eat and I do fear running short. Great closing story!

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  17. So many leftovers, so little time. I get my hand slapped sometimes, though: "That was supposed to be dinner tomorrow!" My attitude is, if it's in the fridge, it's fair game.

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    1. Speaking of which ... hmm ... be right back ...

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  18. Haha! I am sure that there is a word for what Dorothy did

    We are on our third day of leftovers now. Nearly at the end of them. Actually I am getting a little tired of pasta salad. :)

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  19. I adore leftovers and the opportunity to create something totally different from the first meal. I think it has to do with how you were raised and portions. We were raised in a rest home and my mother cooked for us and the 17 residents! I thought that 1 quart saucepan was the cutest thing, ever, when I married. What would I use it for?!? And, you'll find that 'fine dining' restaurants love to decorate their plates with little food and lots of negative space... while buffet-style restaurants allow mountains of food to be put on plates by their guests. I can't imagine not having, at least, seconds for my guests - BUT, that being said, your last line was a reall knee-slapper! Thanks for a brighter morning!

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  20. Thanks Lo for the kind comment. I missed my blogging friends and especially your words of wisdom... :)

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  21. My sweet Lo, I do adore your mind! "Wealth does not make a feast........cooks with love in their hearts for food and for people make feasts." I may just print this for my kitchen wall.

    Food is a language for me, and I want to lavish love on my friends and family, shower them with roasts and bread and stuffed hens and bacon wrapped lamb and....

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  22. There is a third category those of us who save leftovers only to throw them out a week later.

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    1. I sadly fall into this 3rd category as well.

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    2. Happy Frog and I ~ glad to know that I do not suffer alone.

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  23. Ah, atrial flutter. Sounds like you're going to get you SA node zapped back into normal sinus rhythm.

    Did you fail conservative treatment of medicine? What is your heart rate? Typically normal is between 60-100 beats per minute, but with A-Fib it can range up to 175 or more.

    Radio frequency ablation and pacemakers can cure it all if it comes down to it. Modern medicine is awesome.

    Your doc will probably;y put you on some Coumadin or Heparin subsequently.

    And no, I am not a doctor but was a medical transcriptionist for a couple of years (the layman's med school) lol

    By the way, I am running a Blog Fest Aug. 10-12 called the Dog Days of Summer. I'd love to see you there.

    Cheers and truly I wish you the very best outcome!

    At any rate, you'll be fine.

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