Dearest Rachel –
It’s one of the stranger reasons I have to contact you this evening; most meals fly under the radar, unless it’s one I put together (and while the kitchen is all but finished, I’ve not yet gotten to the point where I feel comfortable actually cooking in here, particularly when the pots, pans and utensils are still stowed away in boxes – more on that in a little bit), and an evening of eating leftovers has got to be the dumbest reason to be talking to you. But hear me out.
I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I don’t care for leftovers, honey. It’s not for the reason you would think, though. I’m perfectly happy to reheat a good meal later that I simply couldn’t finish at the restaurant, for instance. It’s why we take those things home in the first place, after all. What does bother me about leftovers is the fact that we never had a particularly good system of filing them for future use – and with the refrigerator as crowded as it was, stuff tended to get lost inside, and quickly. By the time the once-delicious meal was found again (it was never a case of being thought of and purposefully retrieved – thanks to the principle of ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ it was inevitably forgotten about for other dinner ideas that tickled our fancy at the time hunger struck us), that adjective no longer applied. Indeed, it was often a case of being less of a meal, and more of a science exhibit. Not being versed in the discipline of chemistry, forensics or geology, we had no use of this former food anymore – and yet, you could not find it within yourself to dispose of it, for whatever reason.
And so, these containers of unknown and unknowable, now-inedible foodstuffs continued to accrete within our refrigerator, waiting for the day when they would be consigned to their fate. Even now, I have difficulty getting rid of sauces from places when they give us more than we need at the time. It’s a tough habit to break, but I’m working on it. So on a day like this, where Daniel and I basically make a fairly substantial meal out of emptying containers from here and there, it’s a bit of a victory to be celebrated. And that’s why I wanted to tell you about it.
To be honest, there wasn’t much that was actually from a restaurant, waiting to be polished off. I don’t have nearly the problem eating what’s been served to me when I’m dining out (and you’re more than welcome to elbow me or pat my ample gut in comic affirmation – honestly, I wish you could still do that, honey) that you did, so we don’t have nearly the same level of accrued meals waiting in the refrigerator in the first place. Even Daniel manages most of the time, and on the few exceptions, I make a point of letting him know he has something that needs taking care of over the course of the next few days, in order to get him to handle his assigned clean-up duties. But we did have one thing from Father’s Day that I assumed belonged to him, but which he pointed out had been granted to us by his Aunt Jenn. That’s right, you taught her to offer her leftovers to us (since she would simply let it be taken by the waitstaff under other circumstances), and trained me to accept it in turn. For what it’s worth, the steak was still tender and flavorful, and the macaroni creamy and cheesy – definitely worth saving for later, rather than throwing out.
Most of what we were dealing with, by contrast, were open and half-eaten boxes of pre-prepared foods that had been riding around in the chest freezer downstairs. Jan is coming over tomorrow to help me move the cookware, cleaning and storage products and other accessories back into the kitchen and laundry room, and she assigned us to move what we could from the downstairs chest to the freezer in the bottom of the new fridge. That way, the older stuff that we’d bought in hopes of putting it in the new oven or whatever would be readily available and at top of mind straight away, rather than moldering away like Ötzi the Iceman.
Whether that will ultimately be the case remains to be seen, but suffice to say, if tonight was any indication, we’re off to a promising start. While most of the boxes of food were in decent shape, there was one with a literal handful (seriously; four out of twenty that had originally been there. Hardly enough for a hors d’oeuvre) of taquitos that was battered in, and another half full of snack-sized chimichangas that was half missing (not sure what happened to the other half of the box – I can’t imagine having been so hungry as to outright destroy the other half of the box in order to get at the first few that had already been eaten back whenever). Ironically, most of this repast didn’t need any of the new appliances in the kitchen – even the restaurant leftovers could be put into the old microwave still sitting on Daniel’s piano bench – the rest went into the portable air fryer.
And so, over three or four course, we had a more than satisfying meal of what my mother used to refer to as ‘musgo’; because, you see, it ‘must go.’ And go it did. Now, there’s two fewer boxes in one or the other freezer, and another item removed permanently from the fridge. We may not have a perfect record of keeping up with this stuff, but we’re getting there.
Anyway, thought you’d be glad to note that we’re trying to make sure these things don’t go to waste. Until next time, keep an eye out for us, and wish us luck; we’ll probably still need it.