One of my favorite memories of growing up was spending a Saturday morning fishing with my dad at the Bordentown, NJ, intersection of the Delaware River and Crosswicks Creek (do waterways “intersect?” Pardon me if I’ve used the wrong term here). There were never any real thrilling fish to catch — mostly eels and catfish. A sizable catfish would make a good dinner. An eel of any size would make a tangled mess of your line.
Catfish are bottom feeders. They drift along the rocky/sandy bottom of the river scooping up whatever might be left over from some other fish’s meal. Since I ate a few of those “cats” as a kid, I apparently ingested some of their genes. What I mean is that I have no problem with leftovers. At least one other member of my family does. And therein lies the tension.
Daughter #2 insists on her food being fresh. That doesn’t sound unreasonable, of course. After all, who would want food that wasn’t fresh? But by fresh she means “not having been prepared previously.” In other words, she eschews leftovers. She’s been known to question the mashed potatoes that Evelyn has made for dinner: “Are those the leftover potatoes we had already?” she’ll ask with that “yuck” expression on her face. If it comes out of a plastic storage container, she’s not interested. (If it comes out of a paper bag with a chicken logo on it, that’s fine.)
So she sometimes finds her choices limited because, from time to time, the number of leftovers begins to overtake the number of never-having-been-prepared items.
I, on the other hand, have never had that problem. As the bottom feeder of the family, I’m more than happy to reheat-‘n’-eat. I pretty much draw the line at whether something has green fluffy stuff growing on it, but other than that, anything in a plastic storage container (or whatever) is fair game.
And, I need to add, as the bottom feeder of the family, I’ve been eating really well, and saving the environment (and, yes, a little money), as well as Evelyn’s nerves for more years than I can remember. Those extra waffles from the weekend that are now in a plastic bag in the freezer? They’ll taste great after a couple of minutes in the toaster. That one serving of mac and cheese that was too much to finish four nights ago? Just plop that into a frying pan with a little veggie oil and once it gets heated thru, crack an egg or two over it. Voila! A yummy breakfast. It’s almost an insult to call it “bottom feeder food.”
There’s no way I’ll ever convince Daughter #2 of how great I’m eating. Her mental block against leftovers is unmovable. But that’s fine with me. What she turns her back on, I turn back into scrumptious eating.
Don’t pity the bottom feeder. We eat just fine, thanks.