1. Thou shalt not throw out someone else’s leftovers.
Early on in our life in rural Minnesota, I had leftover tofu of some sort I’d brought home from a Chinese place in St. Paul. Jeff tried it when I was at work one day, and promptly threw it out. Until nearly four years later, when I (a vegetarian) accidentally dished up his dad’s macaroni chicken salad, I held it over him on many occasions.
2. He who works the next day calls dibs.
Of course this only works if you don’t have the same traditional day shift, but it should go without saying that whoever has the least means to make a healthy lunch for his/herself should get first dibs on leftovers.
3. Thou shall use leftovers for lunches at work, not meals with young kids.
Pick-a-leftover style dinners can be great if you have older (or no) children at home, but for preschoolers, it’s a recipe for disaster. They will always want what someone else has. Always.
4. Thou shall eat leftovers within 3 days.
I can’t cite the source, but about 5 years ago, I read this. And because it is far better to waste than to get someone sick, I follow it to the letter.
5. Thou shall only reheat leftovers once.
See number 4.
6. Thou shalt not let a meal cool before moving it to the refrigerator or freezer.
This wives’ tale comes from a time when people used blocks of ice to store perishables.
7. Thou shall freeze leftovers in personal size meals.
If you make a 10-serving batch of soup, it’s a great way to prevent waste without getting tired of a great recipe.
8. Thou shall give meals new life.
Chicken is an easy one. Vegetarian options are a bit more challenging.
9. Thou shall gift what thou won’t eat.
Next to love, of course, there is no greater gift than food.
10. Thou shall look kindly upon leftovers.
“Leftover” is not a dirty word. If you’re a half-way decent cook, leftovers are far better than the convenience food you’ll pull out of the freezer or cupboard any day.