I can be a huge wallower. How about you? When I’m suffering the loss of a relationship, I don’t feel like going anywhere or talking to anyone and the sad songs are on repeat. The all too familiar strains of “Autumn Leaves” by Eva Cassidy or “I’ll Never Love Again” by Lady Gaga would begin and my dog would sigh heavily. His exasperated look clearly said, “If you play that f*cking song ONE MORE time, I swear I’ll bite you, you pathetic sap!”
Sometimes the wallowing is simply part of the grieving process that just can’t be skipped. You find the leftovers . . . . . a big cozy sweatshirt he left behind, that pair of socks he always liked, a t-shirt, his razor. Should the leftovers always be trashed? The t-shirt and socks are perfect sleepwear and the razor is of a much higher quality than the pink plastic one residing in your shower currently.
What’s better than leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner? Not much! And tomato sauce and stews always taste better the next day. A roast chicken can morph into a casserole or crepes and some leftover veggies make a lovely and healthful breakfast omelet, quiche or frittata. Leftover bread comes alive again as Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, panzanella salad or croutons
Leftovers can make your life easier when you’ve had a busy week. They save you money too. And much like the wallowing, just don’t let them linger too long.
As a general rule, most leftovers, if handled properly will keep in the refrigerator 3-4 days or 3-4 months in the freezer. If the food has been cooked all the way through, wrap it well and refrigerate it promptly. Anything that’s been left to sit at room temperature for two hours or more should be tossed. (1 hour if you’re at a summer picnic and it’s 90-degrees) . . . . and if your Aunt Ethel with the 12 cats made it, it’s got to go now!
It’s important to cool food rapidly so it reaches the safe refrigerator-storage temperature of 40° F or below. To do this, divide large amounts of food into shallow containers. A big pot of soup, for example, will take a long time to cool, inviting bacteria to multiply. Instead, divide the pot of soup into smaller containers so it will cool quickly.
I’m all for leftovers. They have their place but like the wallowing, there’s an expiration date. When that day comes, clear out. Turn off the sad songs and put that baby on shuffle. Some Pretenders, “Stop Sobbing”, anything by Beyonce and definitely Ariana Grande’s “Thank you, NEXT” should be in the mix. Dance it out. Take off the sweatshirt and socks. Comb your hair, put something cute on and go to the market. Get some fresh ingredients and start anew.