A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times ran a piece about the age-old dilemma of leftovers. The article explored a few extreme examples of the sending-people-home-with-food phenomenon, but I'm more interested in the oft expressed anti-leftovers attitude so many people seem to have.
I just don't get it. As someone who cooks primarily for one, I almost always have leftovers of one kind or another - either bits of this and that that didn't make it into an intended dish, or cold roast chicken, or half a pot of boeuf bourgignon. I have no problem making a big vat of coq au vin and eating it for lunch four days in a row. Growing up, leftover salad (chopped salad with fresh veggies and an assortment of leftover meats, grains and whatnot) was one of my favorite meals. Whatever the leftover happens to be, I eat it happily. I re-purpose it, or warm it up, and get down to the business of dining.
For example: the other day, I was hungry, but didn't much feel like making a trip to the store to replenish my relatively empty fridge. The result? An improvised carbonara made with the end of a slab of bacon, the single egg in the fridge, some grated Parmesan, the cavatappi left over from Danielle's macaroni salad and a handful of pea shoots I'd forgotten about.
I suppose this isn't everyone's idea of "leftovers" - part of the dislike seems to be directed at the idea of eating the same thing two days in a row, which didn't happen here - but it fits mine. By looking at the odds and ends left over from four other meals, I was able to creat something new and different for a fifth. Frugality and laziness won the day - all it took was a little creatvitiy.