Leftovers can be Tasty

29 May

Here’s a little taste of something from The View From my Window

Why is it that if I preface lunch possibilities with the word, “Leftover” then at least half of my family says an automatic “no thanks” whereas if I say, “Macaroni and Cheese from a box” (which just might happen to be the same thing we had two nights ago) then they’re fine with it?

Why is it that I know that soup, for instance, is even better the next day, but that they haven’t yet learned this? Or, perhaps, they just refuse to believe it?

I have, however, discovered a trick.

If the child makes the food, the child then wants to eat it – even the leftovers!

Isn’t that a great trick? It kills several birds with one stone. 1) They’re learning to cook – a life-skill and a boon to busy mothers everywhere. 2) They’re learning the value of their work and the loss of spoiled (and rejected) food. 3) They’re learning to better appreciate the work that it takes to prepare, present, and clean up after a meal.

At least I fondly think they are.

My nephew didn’t want his face shown…so here’s his hands.

When we were out in Washington over Christmas, one of my favorite memories was cooking together with my sister and her family every evening. My sister has a large kitchen – large enough to hold 5 or 6 adults all working in the same space. Not to mention my three kids running around underfoot.

It was the most fun ever. My brother-in-law was grilling outside, though he mostly was inside with us as it was cold out. My sister was making several things as once – dips and batter for onion rings and slicing the onions too, as I recall. My husband was deep frying the rings. My nephew was making sushi which, if you’ve ever made it, you know is a detailed and many-splendored thing. I was helping him a bit by cutting veggies and tuna with his direct-from-Japan sushi knife which he warned me about with no uncertain words.

It’s very, very, very sharp.

Did I mention that it’s crazy-sharp?

I was also making chocolate chip cookies (though perhaps that was on a different night? I can’t remember – we had several of these wonderful evenings!). I am required, by law, to make Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies for my brother-in-law whenever we visit. I have lived under this law since 8th grade. I always make a double batch, because it’s hardly worth all the work otherwise. I even fried them like pancakes on their woodstove one time when the power was out for 8 days.

Aren’t they beautiful?!

I know that on one of these fun nights, my nephew made whole wheat noodles. And that on another, my nephew-in-law, who had come over for the evening with my niece and great-nephew, was in charge of deep-frying oysters. (If you pull the fryer out, you might as well get a lot of use out of it!)

The kids, during this time, were “helping”.

Boo was a helper…with the scraps.

As we worked we talked, laughed until our sides ached, and enjoyed each other’s company. It’s not often that we’re together as a family, as Minnesota is a long way from Washington, mores the pity.

The next day we ate the leftovers – the few that there were – and relived the memories of the night before. Those kinds of leftovers will never get old.

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13 Responses to “Leftovers can be Tasty”

  1. Just A Smidgen May 29, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Well.. You’re so very clever!! I cringe to think of all of the left-overs that could have been saved, my energy and time saved.. And the fun that could have been had! Great idea!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      🙂 You never know what can happen when you get the kids involved!

  2. treadlemusic May 29, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    When the kids were growing up, my boys loved leftovers and do to this day……although, I sometimes referred to them as make-overs/do-overs because of the slight modifications to the original. The only time I would get some questionable feedback would be if the “do-overs” got to be a large enough item that they created “leftovers”…..there are limits, you know!!! LOL!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Yes, leftover leftovers get a little tired, don’t they?!! By the time I’ve had something for lunch five days in a row I’m a little tired of it, too!

  3. ceciliag May 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    family time.. so precious! c

  4. Hotly Spiced May 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    How wonderful to be able to spend that time with your sister and her family. I bet the cousins all have a blast. And it seems there are some talented cooks in your family. I’m super-impressed with the sushi!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      It was very fun and yes, the kids enjoy each other so much. I was inpressed with his sushi too, and it was tasty, not just pretty!

  5. Paws To Talk May 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    We love leftovers! 🙂
    Bella and DiDi

  6. whatimeant2say May 30, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    I need to actually cook more often in order to get Dimples involved! Great post!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 31, 2012 at 12:01 am #

      Getting my kids involved is harder when in the throes of real life! I’m hoping this summer to do some real cooking with them…but yes, like you say, that means I have to actually think ahead and cook!

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