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Blessings found in leftovers….

June 6, 2007

are something we specifically look for at the Complete Thought home. Since the beginning of my marriage I have sincerely rejoiced in the fact that my husband, beloved man, eats leftovers without any grumbling–ever. It’s thoroughly a thrill for me, because in the beginning of my cooking career I often misjudged just how much to cook, usually always overcooking in the amount (sometimes the actual dish–that’s another story). So when I blissfully made a 9×13 casserole to feed a whole TWO of us, he didn’t even flinch at having to finish chicken broccoli casserole five times in the week (lunches and suppers, not every night consecutively–come on, I do have some cooking sense).

Anyway, as children began to enter the picture with their challenging growth spurts that required extra portions, contrasted with those weeks they seemed to exist on air alone, leaving many leftovers. I have always had need of a significant amount of plastic ware containers and what not for the housing of leftovers. Sometimes though, the boys, not as quick to take their cue of contentment from their dad in eating the leftovers, created the necessity of a clever marketing plan in presentation of the evening meal.

When the leftovers constitute another full meal, it’s fine in being able to change a couple of sides for re-packaging purposes and serve it again. “Yes, honey, I know it’s teriyaki chicken again, but this time it’s rice and squash, not potatoes and green beans.” or “Yes, sweetie, it does look like the spaghetti of Tuesday, but this is Friday’s Fried Spaghetti.” Eh, sometimes the marketing is more successful than other times.

But the training, er brainwashing, is working because we’ve adopted the clever name of Smorgasbord to describe the event. We liken the leftovers offering night to that of an in-house S&S Cafeteria event. I place all the entrees in several glass pie plates–3 pieces of chicken cooked two different ways, 8 pieces of kielbasa, and 5 pieces of pork. Then there’s the vegetable plate–a spoonful of green beans and 3 spoonfuls of broccoli, with salads on the side. Next comes the starch offering–1 cup of rice, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes and 2 biscuits. Complete with the need to finish jar of applesauce, 2 becoming overripe bananas, and a handful of apple slices, we’ve devoted attention to every food group. Then, everything is heated as needed, employing both the toaster oven, oven and microwave. And because I’m from the South, I’m always ready to throw something into the iron skillet with a bit of oil for that fried appeal.

When it’s all laid out on the table, then the bartering and negotiating begins. Daddy (because he’s always eaten the leftovers without any quibble at all, people) receives first choice of all selections. Next, the boys are allowed to ask for their choices as long as each food group is represented. When a favorite is in the mix, it’s funny to see them choose to share or trade the bites even. “Pele, I’ll give you 2 of my kielbasa for part of your porkchop.” or “Chess, I’ll let you have some of my fried potatoes if you’ll split your biscuit with me.”

The lesson goes to how God really always does provide a bounty of provision, specifically in food–that we’ve been given the privilege of such selection, and in leftovers at that. Without having to give the whole third world starving children lecture, the boys are realizing the benefits of not having eaten the same thing every night. They are being trained in how to make healthy choices–not mashed potatoes with a side of biscuit on top of rice. They are required to practice sharing their favorites and a proper contentment even when they don’t receive first choice or sometimes there is not enough to give everyone a piece of the preferred whatever.

I’m pleased in being able to clear out the refrigerator of pieces and parts in a consumable rather than disposable fashion, and the cooking on Smorgasbord night is truly just re-heating.

Here’s to the firstfruits found in leftovers.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Cor 10:31

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2007 8:04 am

    This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  2. June 6, 2007 9:02 am

    That was wonderful. I have a 17 year old son who was involved in every sport possible so for 4 years I am used to cooking for a big appetite. He will be leaving for college in August and my cooking habits will thus need to change as it will be me, my husband, and my 2 year old daughter. I’m sure I will be blessed with many leftovers until I get used to the change 🙂

  3. June 12, 2007 11:52 pm

    That’s a great way to handle leftovers. If I have a little, I send it to work with my husband. If there’s more, I’ve learned that all kinds of things can be wrapped in flour tortillas or cooked between them in the quesadilla maker we got for Christmas.

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