Monday, January 4, 2010

How Can Leftovers Be Any Good?

Whether leftovers will be good or not is always one of my concerns. Generally speaking, I hate leftovers. But then there are some that aren't so bad. It's really a matter of preservation and preparation.

Some things make terrible leftovers. Like turkey, but there's only one day a year that we have to worry about turkey. The rest of the year turkeys are free ranging. I was driving through the countryside the other day and literally saw 40 turkeys up on the hill in the snow. Turkey never looks as yummy as when you see it walking in a field. It makes you feel like a pilgrim, till you're out of sight.

I think hamburgers are terrible as leftovers. Why this is, I don't know, because there are things with hamburger in them that aren't bad. But say you have a hamburger patty, and you put it on a plate, and you wrap it in plastic, and put it in the fridge. When you get it out -- whether a week or five minutes later -- it's going to be terrible. A hamburger patty, once it's been touched by refrigerator air, is instantly spoiled ... even through the plastic.

Yet, and this is a weird thing, hamburger mixed in with tomato sauce, such as for spaghetti, heated up isn't so bad. Of course you're going to lose some of the juiciness and looseness that the sauce originally had. A little bit of water loosens it back up, but you have to be real careful not to put in more than a few drops. It loosens up faster than you think it will.

I went out for Mexican food yesterday, noon -- had steak fajitas. The portions are pretty big. You have three soft shells, plus a big platter of sizzling steak pieces mixed with onion. Then there's a bowl of cold stuff, tomatoes, a little lettuce, some guacamole, some sour cream, etc. And lastly there's a big plate of rice and refried beans. So it's huge. Meaning you can't eat it all, meaning it will be leftovers.

I had the leftovers from this tonight, and maybe it was because I was especially hungry, but to me it tasted better as leftovers than it did originally. I was really surprised. Because I thought, you know, steak is in the hamburger family, and if hamburger goes bad with refrigerator air, steak might have some of the same problem, like a genetic flaw. Like red hair on people.

Pizza I don't especially like as a leftover. And I've had it a million times. It all depends, but it's one of the things that usually is going to be bad. If it's just in the box, it has that inch of air surrounding it inside, which is basically the same as leaving it completely exposed. It's going to be dry, ugly, and unpleasant tasting. If you wrap it in plastic that's not always a perfect solution either, because the plastic and any remaining heat when it goes in makes it wetter and soggy.

The best thing I would suggest is if you live near one of those cryogenics labs, to befriend someone who works there and have him freeze it for you, like minus 40 degrees. Then if they ever find a cure for bad tasting leftover pizza, you can have it thawed out and enjoy it.

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