I’m glad summer is finally here, because that means plenty of fresh vegetables on the table. I love fresh vegetables even as leftovers which I do not always love!
You just can’t beat the taste of fresh grown vegetables, and Williamson County
has always had some great gardens that deliver the best. For years, Angela would make a weekly stop in the spring and summer at Betty Reed’s down by the river. They always had a great selection. You just can’t beat a meal of vegetables even warmed over from another meal.
For me, leftovers are never as good as they were when freshly prepared. There are, of course, exceptions. Two immediately come to mind.... fried chicken is always good hot or cold as a leftover as well as a country ham. For me, country ham is good anytime especially if the ham comes from Ernie Greer in Liepers Fork! Biscuits optional.
I’ve always tried to have a good attitude eating leftovers, but honestly, I think I am reverting to my childhood when it comes to food. A peanut butter and banana sandwich can get me through most days.
I grew up in a home where leftovers were a staple in our big family. Although there was not much “left over” when we left the table. I hate to think how many hours my mother spent in the kitchen feeding my dad and three siblings. I love the quote attributed to Calvin Trillin who said, “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found!”
My children are now grown, and with just two of us at the table, leftovers are pretty common. Why go to all the trouble of fixing a meal only to have half of it wasted? We try to save the food, but sometimes we cannot remember when the leftover food was cooked (failure to label the bags!). The last thing we want to do is get sick or worse…..kill ourselves!
Many times, Angela will freeze the leftovers and write on the freezer bag what’s inside. But if she fails to identify the food, then we’re sunk. Frost on the bag makes it difficult to determine its contents. The bags all look alike…just something frozen.
Sometimes, Angela will take frozen leftovers to work. Colleagues will ask what she’s having, and she says she doesn’t know since she forgot to write the food and date on the bag. Only after the bag is completely thawed will she know. I call it her “surprise lunch.” I can handle most casseroles as a leftover, but honestly meats like hamburger, steaks and meatloaf don’t make me want to “dive in”. When I was younger, a meatloaf sandwich was pretty good, but as I’ve aged, I care for them. Also, mashed potatoes are not good as a warmed-up leftover but make a bird’s nest with green peas, and it works. I love hot fresh cornbread, but I don’t care for it so much as a leftover. Warming in the microwave helps along with adding a dab of butter, but it’s still not as good fresh out of the oven, especially in an iron skillet.
My favorite leftover is probably soup. A good soup or stew will hold up!
One leftover you can’t beat is a leftover dessert. Unfortunately for me they are not an option. My doctor told me that maybe a bite or two would be alright, but have you tried to stop yourself when there is a nice fruit cobbler or tasty pie in front of you? I just can’t pass those up with a bite or two! However, my daughter-in-law has come up with a nice option…sugar-free banana pudding, and it gets better with age. Now there’s a nice leftover!
So, here’s to summer…. leftover vegetables and sugar-free banana pudding.
Harry Chapman and his wife Angela have called Williamson County home for more than 40 years. He is a recognized face and voice in the entertainment industry in Middle Tennessee. He was formerly co-host of News Channel 5’s Talk of the Town.