In Praise of Leftovers
October 1975

“In Praise of Leftovers,” Ensign, Oct. 1975, 68–69

In Praise of Leftovers

Leftover food is inevitable. And no one can afford to waste it—especially with rising food prices. Intentions to get leftovers out of the refrigerator by Friday are good, but how do you get the family to eat them? My husband came up with a tasty, creative solution and helped me out in a tight schedule at the same time.

Late one afternoon I was rushing off to a rehearsal and asked him if he would feed the boys and himself and have something ready for me to eat between the rehearsal and MIA.

“What’ll I fix?” he wanted to know.

“Oh, just whatever you can find in the fridge. See you later.”

When I got home, to my surprise and delight, he had prepared for us an ambitiously creative meal—and the refrigerator was empty. He had made three-inch high sandwiches by cutting crustless bread slices into fourths, then layering tomatoes, bologna, and cheese between the bread. Then he topped it off with leftover green coconut and a marshmallow! Four sandwiches were placed on each plate, with parsley in the center, and carrot sticks placed like spokes between the dainty leftover concoctions. The whole thing tasted as good as it looked!

Our children enjoy creating with leftovers, too—fully understanding that they must eat their works of art.

There are other fun ways of using leftovers, besides the usual tasty disguises in soups and casseroles. One family has a weekly Saturday night smorgasbord. Leftovers are packaged and put in the freezer after dinner each night during the week, then reheated for the occasion.

A lottery system can be fun where family members draw numbers and have to eat whatever is in the correspondingly numbered covered dish, along with whatever main dish is served.

Leftover vegetables and meats can be frozen in TV dinner trays with the contents written on the foil wrappers with a felt-tipped marker. Our neighbor makes fifty to sixty TV dinners after Thanksgiving with “planned-over” turkey, dressing, vegetables, and potatoes, then has a ready supply of easy meals when the Christmas rush comes.

The same aluminum trays appeal to preschoolers, who enjoy pretending they’re eating lunch at school. Be sure to put small amounts of leftovers in the compartments and a straw in the milk glasses. Laurie Sowby, American Fork, Utah