Leftovers

Okay, you know those people who say things like “I don’t eat leftovers”? I have always and will always think that there is something terribly wrong with those people.

Our littlest is currently one of those people. I hope she will outgrow it, but currently, she doesn’t voice it, but she will not eat anything on reheat. She complains “the texture is off” or just “doesn’t taste the same.” The only exception I’ve found so far is breakfast bread based recipes such as waffles and my French toast casserole and my husband says even these fail some days.

But what is the deal with people who don’t like leftovers? I mean, there are foods that should not be reheated. Basically, almost anything fried other than chicken is dead on reheat. Chicken has some magical quality that still makes you want to eat it even though you never get the amazing crispy crust you had the first time. Fried chicken is so magical that some people (including my husband) even eat it cold, so it’s an exception to any normal perception of fried food. Also, eggs. They just shouldn’t be reheated under any circumstances, unless you enjoy eating stale rubber.

But there are foods that are so much better on reheat. Something happens when you leave them in the refrigerator overnight. It’s like the ingredients have consummated their relationship, and it’s just beautiful.

My favorite reheat of all time is chili. I love chili. I make an amazing chili. I recently made it with 1/2 pork and 1/2 ground beef and I swear, I don’t know where this has been all my life. But leave that chili in the fridge overnight and then reheat and eat it, and it is one the most incredible dishes. Whenever I make chili, my husband immediately maps out how soon he can make mac n cheese. He loves putting the chili on top of the left over mac n cheese.  And spaghetti is another one. I’m not even sure I really like the classic spaghetti on the first go. But after a night in the refrigerator, I can eat my weight in it.

And I love eating a wonderful meal and knowing that tomorrow, I’m going to have another visit with that meal. With the proportions at many restaurants, your choices are to enjoy the leftovers, split an entree like an old couple at the early bird dinner special (assuming you can agree on a dish), or contribute to the massive food waste problem in the world. I will deliberately cut my sandwich/hamburger in half before I start eating, eat half and half the sides and then ask for a box. My husband and I will deliberately order more than we can eat knowing that it creates leftovers for tomorrow. In fact, almost every weekend, I cook way too much food to create leftovers. Except for nights with the little vegetarian, we deliberately live on leftovers for lunches and dinners.

If you don’t like certain foods left over, I get that. I mean, reference my fried food statement above. But to, as a general rule, exclude trying leftovers in your diet is robbing yourself of some major flavor development. It also means you need to learn very strict portion control to avoid food waste and just general irresponsibleness.

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