Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Food-Day Tuesday...Leftover Confessions

I heard something unbelievable the other day. I was chatting with a friend about food, dinner to be exact and she was whining a little bit because she has to cook something new everyday and there is always too much and she ends up throwing it in the trash.

WHHAAAAA! I think my eyes must of darn near dropped on the floor "Why do you throw it out? Why don't you enjoy it for lunch the next day? or re-invent it for dinner some way? or, at the very least, freeze individual portions to feed those ever starving teenagers that live in your house? Goodness knows a microwaved portion of leftover lasagna beats a Pizza Pocket any day of the week!

Her answer was "My family won't eat leftovers." Secretly I thought 'maybe they don't like the original either' "Seriously?" I inquired "They won't even turn last night's ham into a fabulous sandwich on a crusty roll with fresh greens, grainy mustard, soft cheese and onions?" (excuse me...I'm just nipping off for a snack...back in a minute.)

"nope!" was the reply I got.

I couldn't believe it. I started to ask around and was astounded by the number of people who do not eat leftovers! I really can't believe it!

In our home I cook with 'leftover intention' that is to say that I plan meals and dishes with leftovers in mind. Sunday's roasted chicken becomes Tuesday's potpie. Thursday's fish becomes a fabulous addition to a spring salad lunch on Friday. Spaghetti from Monday makes a nutritious hot lunch for Tuesday. Those pancakes made at home heat up just like toaster pastries without the chemicals. If I make enough Dinner on Friday...well when people are winging in and out of the house on Saturday, there is something quick and healthy when they have time for dinner.

Beyond the glorious culinary possibilities of leftovers, there is the senseless waste of food. I can't believe that so much really good food is hitting the trash bin. Just in my small circle I know families who are struggling to put good nutritious food on the table. I feel guilty for tossing 2 tablespoons of mixed veg that gets shuffled to the rear of the fridge unnoticed until grocery day. I can't imagine disposing of what remains from an entire meal. I'm feeling the guilt for my friends.

If guilt alone is not enough to convert a leftover phobic. Think dollars and cents. If you are pitching 1/4 of what you make every day that amounts to an entire weeks worth of groceries over a month. How much do you spend on groceries a week.

I spend about $200/week on groceries for our family of 5 (sometimes 8 or 9)

Quick math... $200 a month in the bin x 12 months of waste = a pretty nice family getaway!

(I'll be back in a minute...I'm mentally escaping to spending $2,400.00)

Okay, so today has been a bit more of a rant than a rah-rah but seriously I can't bend my head around this. If you simply can't bring yourself to eat leftovers (and I feel immense sadness for what you are depriving yourself of) buy less, cook less, half the recipe. If you can't do the math at least send something over to the neighbour's...save them the trouble of cooking.

Am I the only one shocked by this? What's your take on leftovers? Got a leftover solution to die for? Please help me save my leftover phobic friend!

Gratitude today that Food-Day Tuesday just helped me rationalize my plastic food storage container illness, kitchen experimentation and a really great thing to spend money on!

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


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