An Ode To Leftovers

You make dinner. You stress about it and season it and salt it. You toil and trouble and because you drank too much wine you burned the onions and had to start over. When you sat down to eat you were hungry and exhausted.

It is not this way with leftovers.

Leftovers are your gift to you.

I’m not talking about the Thai food from five days ago (throw that out btw), I’m talking about all that’s left of the pasta/chili/rice/chicken thing you made last night that’s now sitting in the tupperware on the top shelf of your fridge.

You shouldn’t be letting it spoil. You should really be enjoying day two of your dinner–preferably for lunch–and here’s why:

Your sauce has really had time to come together. Whereas it may have been a little soup-y initially, while your sauce has been sitting on that shelf it’s figured out how to cling better to the pasta/meat/rice/vegetables. The flavors have developed and become richer. It’s probably something scientific, but I would like to think of it as magic.

Leftovers were meant to be microwaved. I know people extoll the virtues of reheating pizza in an oven or on a skillet and tossing cold pasta into a pan, but leftovers are a meal of luxurious convenience and not dirty dishes.  You did those yesterday. You’ll do them again tonight. Plus, I fucking love when the cheese melts and gets a little hard on the plate.

Leftovers inspire creativity. Add more vegetables to give it an extra shot of color and freshness. Drown it in cheese. Add hot sauce if you’re feeling spicy. You already know what the initial dish tastes like. Leftovers are your chance to spruce things up or change them however you’d like. It’s your dinner’s second chance. It’s a mouth adventure.

Eat them standing in the fridge, waiting at the counter, out of your lunch bag at work, in a bowl at home. It’s yours. You made it, you didn’t have to open Postmates to order it, and sometimes they taste even better cold. Leftovers aren’t lazy, they’re easy. They’re past-you looking out for present-you. They’re home-cooked happiness. Thanks, you.

All that crying over the onions was worth it after all.

 

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