Using Leftovers: Friday’s Glory

Using Leftovers: Friday’s Glory

The scoop on this dish…

My Grandma Cress was a fabulous cook. Her food brings back memories of the family gathered around the dining room table every Thanksgiving and Christmas to a multi course spread of classic American dishes. On holidays she spared no expense and left no detail uncoordinated. She was a shining example of hospitality. From her, I understood the roll of hostess to be an artful and intigral aspect of traditional American culture. I also have memories of she and Grandpa babysitting my brother and I and how eager I was to eat when supper time came. On ordinary days, dinner consisted of a salad, cooked vegetables, a casserole, and the obligatory toast and butter. (For Grandpa, the table wasn’t set until space was cleared for his toast and butter.) To this day, I get those “warm fuzzies” reminiscing about her casseroles. They were so delicious! She’s always made a large dish so there was never strife over second helpings. However, this did mean that there were leftovers. Ah, infamous leftovers. Every woman who reign of her own kitchen soon discovers the pain that is leftovers. I reckon there have been many wars fought between husband and wife regarding the age old predicament of leftovers. What to do with this bits and pieces when your family doesn’t want to see the same thing twice? In Shakespearean summary, “To toss or not to toss, that is the question.”

Grandma’s solution to leftovers…

Creative woman that she was, Grandma engineered her own clever way to make leftovers disappear. She named it, “Friday’s Glory.” Every Friday, she took stock of the odds and ends in her fridge and created a hodge-podge dish. Each week it was different. No two ‘Glories were ever created alike. In a way, it was the perfect culinary metaphor for us and our relationship with God. And what a perfect time -Friday evening- leading into the Sabbath, to commemorate the creative work that God does in our lives, taking all of our less-desirable parts and renewing them.

My first attempt…

It’s not Friday, but because of circumstances, today is the day to use up all of those odds and ends languishing in the fridge. So I made my own “Friday’s Glory.”

It’s a combination of whole grain rice, tater tot casserole, black beans and pinto beans, and some fresh garlic, green bell peppers, and biquinho peppers.

It looks like one hot mess… which it is! But it’s tasty and the sky’s the limit for how I could eat this. I might put it in some lettuce leaves. Or I could use it like sloppy joe filling in Pão de Sal (Brazilian French rolls.) I can always eat it on some crackers if I’m feeling more like a snack. Or, like I’m doing today, I will eat it just like it is. And it’s good! An unexpected genre of comfort food.

So what’s the secret…

Something old, something new, something spicy, something YOU.

Go ahead! Throw in those leftovers!

Don’t be afraid. Leave perfectionism and visions of French cuisine at the door. This dish is all about courageous combinations. Toss it together into a salad, create a stir-fry, bake it into a casserole, roast it, let it simmer with a good broth into some soup, sauté… for every leftover, there is a glorious option for reincarnation.

Add a little interest…

Pick a couple of new ingredients that can tie the recipe together. Maybe a vegetable or two, a little cheese on top, some fresh herbs.

Spice it up…

Add some seasonings. Some go-to favorites of mine include oregano, black pepper, paprika, taco seasoning, turmeric, garlic, and curry powder.

Add your special touch…

Finally, remember that we eat with our eyes first, so let your creativity shine and plate that wonky wonder you just made like it is the next revolutionary culinary invention! And when your toughest critic, (ermmm, family,) ask what it is, give it an intriguing name… something like… Friday’s Glory!

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