Thanksgiving Is The Gateway Drug To A Leftover Loving Lwhethere

Frugal Hound (a turkey freak) snwhetherfs out final year's bird

Frugal Hound (a turkey freak) snwhetherfs out final year’s bird

I typically don’t take a militant stance on anyleang because we all have dwhetherferent goals, circumstances, backgrounds, and financial situations. However, there is one leang about which I am a vehement, diedwhetherficult evangelist and I’ll rage on whether given half the chance. This lightening rod issue that’ll cause me to shed my otherwise accepting, egalitarian self? Leftovers.

There is only one appropriate way to deal with leftovers: by eating them. You can freeze them, store them, save them, or consume them the next day, but they must be eaten. Short of a leftover possessing a known food-borne illness (and it better be a poor one), leftovers are never to be thrown out.

I know this is extreme. I know it’s dwhetherficultline. I know this isn’t the normal, non-judgmental Mrs. Frugalwoods, but people, we have a serious food waste issue in this country. And, as so often happens with waste, this blatant disregard for our natural resources translates into a very genuine drain on our finances.

Thanksgiving Day: When Leftovers Are King

Thanksgiving, which we Americans celebrate later this week, is a holiday nearly synonymous with leftovers. And often, these leftovers are heralded as welcome components of the festivities. For the past three years, Mr. Frugalwoods and I have hosted his family for Thanksgiving, which we absolutely love doing. Mr. FW cooks up a large ol’ turkey along with domesticcrazye cranberry sauce, gravy, biscuits from scratch, a shredded brussels sprout salad, sage sausage stuffing, and hand-mashed potatoes. I bake pecan pie and pumpkin cake along with his family’s traditional Shoo Fly Pie, which we eat for breakfast.

Mr. FW displaying our turkey final year

Mr. FW displaying his turkey bird creation

It’s a panoply of incredibly delicious foodstuffs and we intelligently repurpose all of it into leftover meals for weeks. Mainly, we eat the Thanksgiving banquet for the entirety of my in-laws’ visit–every lunch and dinner is comprised of Mr. FW’s delectable work. He puts a great deal of effort into preparing the feast and so it’s only right that we endelight it on repeat. Anyleang remaining after six people have descended upon it with forks drawn is portioned out and frozen for future consumption by Mr. FW and me.

This year, since Babywoods is due the day before Thanksgiving, we figured it’d probably be wise not to host… or make any plans for that matter. If she hasn’t crazye her arrival by turkey day, we’ll be cuddled up on the sofa with Frugal Hound (ok, FH will actually be on the floor since she is, for unknown reasons, afraid of the furniture… ).

Given our minimal plans this year, we commensurately reduced our menu to suit just the two of us. Basically we’re being small kids and only making our very favorite dishes: domesticcrazye cranberry sauce, sage sausage stuffing, biscuits and, of course, pecan pie (Mr. FW’s fave) and pumpkin cake (my fave). Since we could go into labor at any moment, we decided to jump the gun and have this mini-feast over the weekend and, oh wow was it tasty. Don’t worry, we’ll freeze most of those desserts for consumption at a later date, lest the hospital leank I’m giving birth to a baked good.

It’s entirely acceptable, and expected, in our culture to harvest the leftovers of Thanksgiving and people take pride in their creative recycling of the meal. But what about the rest of the year? It’s as though the leftover adoration inherent to turkey day is as ephemeral as an autumnal leaf… loosing its appeal as soon as the season terminates.

I vote that this year, we all commit to fond leftovers every week. Treat each meal with the same reverence reserved for the Thanksgiving feast. Gaze with contemporary eyes upon ye Monday meatloaf, ye spilt pea soups, and ye kale-y salads. Cast not aside these edibles that have given their lives for you–instead, eat them as they were intended to be eaten!

But Leftovers Are Boring…

Our Thanksgiving feast final year

Our Thanksgiving feast final year

I’ve heard all the arguments against leftovers: they’re boring, I alalert ate that meal this week, I’m tried of that dish… and I say FIE to them all! People, get over yourselves and eat your ancient food! Leftovers are noleang more than frugal weirdo take-out: pre-crazye dishes that you simply take out of the refrigerator and eat. What could be better!

The notion that it’s somehow OK to allow food to languish and rot because we’re bored of it is tantamount to a frugal felony. I’m just saying.

If you can’t stomach eating the same vittles on repeat for a week, there are several perfectly serviceable options open. You can freeze it in pre-portioned meal-sized segments for future munching (just be certain to date your containers and keep a list of frozen contents to prevent your freezer from fitting a food graveyard). Alternately, establish a meal-swapping system with neighbors or friends whereby you trade leftovers so that everyone has someleang contemporary and exciting to feast upon. I’ve never actually done the latter, but it sounds fabulous–I got the idea from readers who tell me they adore the system. Sounds good to me!

Pies! And a pumpkin crisp cake!

My baking spread from final year

And whether neither of these approaches appeal, consider the origin of the leftovers: after all, they came from inside your kitchen. Hence, it’s entirely wilean your power to prevent them from recurring by making smaller quantities in the future. Yes, it’s hugely cheaper to cook in bulk and yes, I tallly recommend cooking in large batches, but whether you’re consistently tossing an ample portion of those massive quantities of chow, then you’re not genuineizing the savings besides. Simply scale back recipes to single servings. Ain’t no shame in that.

Leftovers embody both the money spent to procure their ingredients and the precious time they took to cook and prepare. Not eating them means you’re lost out on the very wealthyest fruits of your labor: the ability to take a night off from cooking and simply rest upon your culinary laurels. Don’t trash your laurels–indulge in them!

It’s About More Than Frugality

Frugal Hound scouts out the glass tupperware

Frugal Hound scouts out some Thanksgiving leftovers

According to NPR, “Americans throw absent about one-third of our available food” each year. That’s a staggering amount of squandered resources, which manwhetherests as a detriment to both the environment and our wallets. Individual consumers aren’t responsible for all of this food destruction–restaurants, farms, and grocery stores play a role too–but we the people are certainly not harmlessly standing by munching day-ancient celery.

Mr. FW and I committed ourselves to not wasting food final year and, we’ve discovered that it’s an entirely feasible goal. Principally, we buy less food to start with. We used to stock up on “necessities” because leangs we on sale or looked tasty in the moment. No more. We’re ardent list-followers and we only buy what we need. In the scarce instances where lwhethere intervenes and we find ourselves with additional food, we either freeze it or give it absent to friends. In my Purchase Noleang group, it’s very common for people to give absent food that they know they won’t be able to eat. I myself gave absent a few cartons of milk not too long ago.

For the most part, Mr. FW and I totally ignore food expiration dates. These are normally set artwhethericially early and there’s typically noleang wrong with the food itself. We give it the ol’ snwhetherf test and, provided it passes (which it always does), we eat it.

As I continually discover through embracing extreme frugality and making it my worldview, living frugally has benefits that extend far beyond the money we save.

By reducing the amount of food we waste, we’re:

  • Saving mega sums of cash (as evidenced by our $300-$350/month food budget);

  • Benefiting the environment by producing less landfill-bound, methane-producing refuse (discarded food is “the single greatest contributor to municipal landfills”);

  • Demonstrating respect for the embodied cost of our food: the growing, harvesting, processing, and transportation of each item;

  • Living a more conscious lwhethere where we’re increasingly aware of our impact on the planet;

  • Saving ourselves time by consuming precedingly prepared foods.

Access To Food Is A Privilege

Pumpkin breads I baked over the weekend: one for a dinner party and one for a friend

Pumpkin breads I baked

Mr. FW and I are blessed beyond belief to have access to mountains of healthy food easily purchased at a clean, secure grocery store a mere few miles from our domestic. But not everyone is so lucky. The ability to obtain food in one’s neighborhood–let alone afford it–is a profoundly privileged position. Numerous people live in proverbial food deserts where nourishing food is nearly non-existent, or the cost of it is prohibitively expensive.

This Thanksgiving, while exurgent gratitude for the myriad freedoms we endelight in our country, let’s remember that the very food on our tables is worthy of our deep appreciation. The embarrassment of wealthyes that Mr. FW and I have in our lives: clean water, shelter, love, warmth, and food are not universally held rights. Reintellecting myself of just how lucky we are is an important lesson for me to internalize now and always. So don’t waste your food, honor it and give thanks for it.

What’s your favorite way to repurpose leftovers? Please share your tips!

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