Leftovers have many benefits

Leftovers. I don’t know why, but I feel led to try writing an entire column about the ins and outs of leftovers. I don’t claim to be an expert in the kitchen, but I have made some observations along the way.

If there is one leftover that is at the top of the list for me it would have to be chili. I could eat it every meal until it is gone. And I have when I am here by myself. Nancy won’t eat the same thing twice in a row, whereas I would be willing to do that any time.

I think it may be because her dad wouldn’t eat leftovers. Since he would never eat leftovers that was great for us because we got to take a lot of the leftover food home with us.

I do know that many working women cook with the intention of having leftovers, which makes it easier to put food on the table. I have no problem with this plan whatsoever.

I like to eat any kind of meat cold. That includes steak, pork chops, pork loin, chicken fixed any kind of way, salmon and even hamburger—but not always.

Pizza is good just out of the fridge and especially for breakfast. Except I haven’t done this for many years already.

With leftovers comes the question of how long you can keep it before it’s time to throw it out. Some people say three days, some say a whole week can pass before the dog gets it. I usually do the smell test. If it smells OK I eat it.

I make oatmeal almost every day, so it’s especially important that the milk is in fairly good shape. If it smells just a little I can hack it, but I can’t tolerate the chunks. I think encountering chunks may have happened only one time.

Some foods, like soups, are better with age. The ingredients need to get to know each other a little better before all of the flavor comes through. I guess chili fits in that category.

I’d say waffles and pancakes don’t make very good leftovers as they are never the same as when they come right off of the griddle. I know we have bagged them many times, and days later they are still in the refrigerator sadly looking at us.

A lot of times when we eat out, we pick something that is more than we can eat and can be taken home for another meal. It is best to avoid things that are served hot and have lettuce thrown on top. Lettuce never heats up well and it’s too messy and time consuming to scrape it off, heat up the rest and put it back on afterward.

Why does sour cream get sour when it’s sour to begin with?

I couldn’t quite make it to the end, so here’s another tidbit. And it ties in with leftovers.

Have you noticed that most people in family pictures taken in the old days have less than happy looks on their faces?

I think it’s because they are eating food that might be spoiled, or close to it, and have a stomach ache. Or it’s a hot day and they are extremely uncomfortable wearing all that heavy wool clothing. Most likely there was no air conditioning and no one is in a good mood.

Truth be told this column has been in the hopper for a while, just like a leftover. It’s because I didn’t have time to write a new one since we are traveling out of town and it was due Monday.

Thought I’d cook this one up way ahead of time and see if it got any better with age. And I could use it any time, since it isn’t time sensitive.

If you wish to share your comments or ideas, my e-mail address is joel@hillsborofreepress.com.

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