I am about to eat my lunch and I am very excited.
Ryan will not eat leftovers. He also has a strange hang up with carrying them out of restaurants (in the off chance he is saving them with the good intentions of trying to eat them later) so he hands his leftovers to me so that I can carry them out of the place. Then, it feels like some sort of secret narcotics exchange, and I feel like I am a criminal. A criminal armed with fried rice.
I don't blame him for not eating leftovers. I shouldn't eat them either. There were two kind of leftover nights in my house growing up. The first one was when mom would come home after a long day of work and look at us like... you again? Suckers, fin for yourselves. Then she would pull out every container, jar, bag, and cool-whip bowl stuffed with leftovers from God knows when out of the fridge, put it on the counter, and say..."dinners ready," with a cruel smile. I don't blame her, we ate an enormous amount of food for three girls. I was always the most hungry, so though this was not an enticing invitation, I still had hope that something in there had to be good. Unfortunately this meant I was the first one to open the containers, and can we all agree that there is nothing more awful than opening a cool whip lid to find an unidentified meat with green fuzz all over it??? GAG ME.
The second kind of leftover night is where mom is glowing. You wonder how she got home, set the table, and cooked up such an amazing casserole so fast?!? When you're younger this means she is superwoman. When you are older and take a few bites, you realize she's not superwoman, but an imposter...she's just found the meat from Sunday and turned it into something new. And dangit, it should be gross, but she is actually pretty good at turning one thing of meat into seven meals. First spaghetti. Then chili. Then sloppy joes. Then meatloaf. Finishing with a cheeseburger casserole that you will only eat because of the excessive amounts of cheese on top. This is truly a mom's gift. And if you are like my mom, it is an art form. How can I creatively turn this turkey into something else? How can I disguise it so that no one knows we've been eating it for a week???
These are the kinds of things you cannot think about when you are going to eat leftovers. It needs to be a mindless meal full of distractions so that you do not have time to wonder and question and imagine...just eat.
Today my leftovers are more fresh. (Sidenote: I hate saying that phrase, "fresh." Somehow when I was little we always ended up driving by this one cemetery in our town. I remember being totally traumatized the first time I saw a huge heap of dirt and realizing that someone was going down in that hole soon. In my mind I began to think of newly dead people as "fresh." I told the guys this on a trip once and ever since then they always point out "fresh ones." I feel awful about it. I wouldn't want someone to call my loved one a "fresh one." But that is what I think every time I pass a cemetery and see a heap of dirt and the green tent. Another fresh one.)
My leftovers? Blazing Noodles from Pei Wei. The first time I had this dish my right ear got swollen. Since then, I have also had such reactions as a swollen lip, profuse sweating, tears, and the chills. This dish is so hot it is absolute torture to eat it. Ryan cannot possibly understand why I eat something at the risk of getting a swollen right ear. I tell him it is for medicinal purposes. To clear out my sinuses and to help me eat less. These are just excuses. Some part of me actually really enjoys the challenge of eating this amazing dish and seeing how long I can make it before my throat starts to bleed or my eyeballs start bulging out of their sockets.
Now that's a leftover I can get excited about. Happy Monday. Bon Apetit!