My sister calls my family the Leftover Family. It’s got a certain ring to it, no? It’s not about all the ways we bring disparate people together; it’s about how we think of food, what we eat, and what we do with what’s left.
When we were kids, we called our dad the leftover king. This was usually said with both affection and suspicion because he sometimes combined things together that made some of us, uhh, uneasy. (There was an incident in the 80s that involved mixing someone’s shampoo and conditioner…together. Nuf said.) But most of his leftovers got doctored up or remixed or made into some kind of patty. For example, he recently cooked these amazing turkey hash patties made from the parts of the turkey my sister had rejected the previous day. Rather brilliant,no? (Sorry little sis if you didn’t realize the origins of the breakfast…)
So I guess it’s not surprising that I now love leftovers. I love them for what they represent–a kind of frugality tied up with utility and creative inspiration. I know of people who consider their fridge a giant cold layover on the journey to the garbage can. But where’s the fun in that? Leftovers present the ultimate challenge: how can you make a new dinner out of last night’s old food?
This being said, I now need to go figure out how to make my leftover butternut penne pasta interesting again. I’m thinking spinach and milk. Or perhaps a patty of sorts?
Wish me luck.