On Sunny Lane: Wasting Food part 2 – Leftovers

Last week I wrote about the issue of wasting food and my mother's "commandment" against it.

I mentioned the dilemma of eating in restaurants, getting too much food on our plate and deciding what to do about it. Today I would like to address the matter of leftovers from home-cooked meals and what to do with them.

Many years ago, when my husband and I had three pre-school-age children, we were visiting friends at supper time. They also had two small children.

I remember distinctly that we had sloppy joes and coleslaw for the meal. The young wife and mother made enough food for an army--well, a small army anyway. There were only four of us adults and the children didn't eat much.

We ate our fill, then sat around the table and talked for a while. The men got up, eventually, and the wife and I started to clean up the table and wash dishes. As she emptied the serving dishes of leftover sloppy joe and coleslaw, she scraped them right into the garbage!

I was horrified!

I questioned her about the reasoning behind her actions. She said her husband didn't like to eat leftovers.

I brought up the subject of the poor starving children in Africa, as my mother did to me when I was a child. My hostess questioned the practicality of sending our leftovers to them, just as I questioned my mother many years ago.

I have found that a good thing to do with leftovers is to serve them again--especially if there is enough for a second meal. You may fix a fresh salad or other accompaniment to go with it. In fact, sometimes I plan to make extra, so I have a quick and easy entree on a day when I am busy.

Now, if I don't have enough leftovers for a meal, I may just have a few spoonfuls of one thing and another and mix them together, if they are compatible. If they aren't, I keep saving little bits of this and that until I can make soup or a casserole.

However, this practice has its downside Sometimes, I see bowls in the refrigerator with lids on and I have to take the lids off so I can be reminded what is in it. Sometimes, it has been there so long I no longer recognize it.

Sometimes, it is starting to grow or is turning color and is no longer fit for human (or animal consumption). That's when the only sensible thing to do is throw it out.

Sometimes, that's the kindest thing a person can do with leftovers.

I just hope Mom isn't watching from the Other Side when I do.


Dorothy is the author of two books—“Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together “. You can purchase a book or make a comment by emailing her at dorothybutzknight@gmail.com.

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