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Regarding leftovers, my father had a saying when we were young, "if the kids won't eat them, give it to the dog and if the dog won't eat it, give it to Dad." He grew up during The Depression, as did my mother but the two of them didn't personally and officially declare The End of The Great Depression until all five of us kids were grown and out of the house. I can't say out of his hair because he maintained a lifelong military crew cut.

(Slightly morbid but true aside: He passed away in 2004; there was some delay at the funeral home so when we saw him at the wake in the open casket, his hair had continued to grow. EVERYONE commented on the white wave because the mortician's style was in a manner my father never would have worn alive. Family members, university colleagues, former students, church friends, even long time neighbors whispered and laughed.)

Back to leftovers, I also practice "if the kids don't eat it..., however my version is somewhat different. We don't have a dog so I Rachael-Ray-it and give some to The Cats...if the cats won't eat it, I put the leftovers outside far from the house for groundhogs, squirrels, stray cats, or skunks. If it's soup or a casserole that I like but there's too much, I label and freeze it for future unforeseen circumstances.

When I dig the mystery out of the back of the freezer months later, sometimes I realize what was missing or it just magically tastes better. I rename the leftovers, add a salad, some garlic parmesan bread and everybody thinks Mom made some crazy new recipe. For maximum distraction, I recently rearranged the kitchen table, picked some wildflowers and put tea lights in unusual containers.


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