“Leftovers Anyone?”


I have a neighbor who refuses to eat leftovers. I have no idea why a grown man would take this stance, but it probably goes back to his childhood experiences. In my family there were rarely leftovers. My mother never quite got the knack of cooking enough for us and we ate up all that was offered. But there were times of big dinners, such as Thanksgiving, that we had leftovers. Those were put into the refrigerator in the kind of glass containers pictured above. Some of ours were bigger and some that size.To reheat the leftovers, you would put them in a saucepan or frying pan and gently warm them up.

I have over corrected for my mother’s approach, and I constantly cook more than we can eat. I no longer have these little glass containers, so my food goes into bowls and is covered with—you guessed it—plastic wrap. Then when one of us wants to have some, we put it on a plate and reheat it in the microwave. There is even a setting on the device called “dinner plate.”

That short comparison highlights how much things have changed in just 50 years or so. My mother was not trying to be eco-friendly by using those containers. They were the standard solution for storing extra food. We didn’t have the option of immediately reheating food, and so we never thought anything about waiting while it warmed. Now I would have to be intentional to search out these containers(the photo items were at a “vintage” site.) Then I would have to “wait” while the food heated on the burner.

Clearly the planet was better off without the choice of plastic. At this point it would take widespread reform so that I reached, without having to think about it, for a glass storage dish for leftovers. As for microwaves, I still have no idea if they are safe or not. But they sure are convenient!

15 thoughts on ““Leftovers Anyone?”

  1. When we moved last year, we intentionally did not want a microwave, still do not have one and will not get one. The place we lived before, a family member’s senior citizen community condo, had a microwave, and we used it far too much due to its convenience and my poor health, so the food was often insty-crap and my health only got worse, even though we tried to buy the organic or ‘all natural’ options. I do have glass containers now, although some have a kind of plastic lid, and I do reheat food in frying pans mostly. It has been a tremendous weekend for leftovers from the local restaurants, and they use those little sturdy paper leftover containers, so I feel like less is being wasted due to the containers themselves (remember styrofoam?) and each meal we buy out at a restaurant becomes at least another here for us. Maybe you can put a microwave-safe glass plate over the containers while you reheat them so you needn’t use the plastic, which is known to put bad things into food in contact with microwave heating…?


    1. Thanks for the tip about glass cover. As for us, the food still comes either in styrofoam or plastic containers as leftovers. Even the Chinese place has changed from those little paper cartons. Perhaps because you are in a little more upscale area(not you particularly, just the area)there is more “eco-consciousness.” Another peeve of mine is that it is easier to be healthy in more affluent communities.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree. I think that Woodstock has such an international tourist reputation that some of the upscale.crunchy granola/expensive places use the cardboard things that look like the Chinese places used to use, only bigger and without metal on. There are pizza joints and bad-quality burgers places where you get plastic, and the Indian place uses metal with paper lids. I think that NY state actually outloawed styrofoam, or maybe that was NJ…? People need decent food at good prices and less pollution. I’m so glad not to be a drinker or smoker, with the prices these days: close to $10.00 for a pack of cigarettes, and my parents used to buy a carton/ten packs for $6.70, I recall, when I was a teen. My dad used to smoke four packs a day until he gave it up suddenly, so that would be $280.00 A WEEK in cigarettes alone! That’s a week’s income for many!


  2. We are from the same era, and my mother did the same thing, even though she was usually feeding eight people. So I learnt to cook large portions and now, even though there are only two of us in my household, I tend to over cook. So yes, I need to store leftovers, which are always (usually) consumed the next day. Nothing hangs around in my house! And no, we rally use the microwave we have, that usually ends up heating up milk for hot chocolate.

    Go figure. Oh, and I would love those glass containers. I already have similar.


  3. Leftovers are great as second meal. When reheating them, I use Corning wares with glass cover. As for freezing leftover, I don’t. It was a habit Mother instilled that leftovers are eaten first thus save cooking.


  4. I like to use enameled steel whenever I can, then reheat on a dinner plate. It isn’t the best solution, but at least I get away from the plastics a little.


  5. Plastic has certainly become a widespread problem, Elizabeth. I am trying to reduce my usage to the extent I can. We use corning-ware dishes for leftovers. I do use the microwave quite a lot.


  6. The glass pots are great – I do have a supply of plastic ones but at least they’re not single use (and no point throwing out plastic to replace it with glass – but when I need new ones I shall go for glass). You’re quite right that it’s easier to be health- and environment-conscious if you’re affluent – friends of mine have electric cars, solar panels, wind turbines and wood pellet boilers – all great if you can afford the capital outlay upfront! I am driving a 10-year old diesel car which was given to me by my parents: I’m hoping it will keep going for about another 70,000 miles or more as I definitely can’t afford a new one, let alone an electric one – sadly.


    1. Here it is the same with food. People with money can get all self righteous about poorer people eating so much carbs, but carbs are cheap, produce isn’t.


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