Leftovers? Oh, no!
By Lisa Smartt
We love leftovers. The lasagna that was delicious yesterday will be even more delicious today. The soup from Tuesday will be even better on Thursday. None of our family members are haughty enough to say, “Yuck! We already had that.” Our boys realize that were they to pull such an attitude, we would make them spend the night outside on the porch and require them to hunt berries and mushrooms in the woods in order to sustain life.
Soup and lasagna leftovers are one thing because I rarely get a hankerin’ to eat two or three bowls of soup late at night. But recently I was forced to contend with leftovers of a different nature and trouble began to brew. Philip and I had planned a party for our church group. A disco party. I even made a “Weakley County Disco Ball” with Styrofoam and Reynolds Wrap. Yes, it was a party for the society page. But mid-afternoon the day of the disco party, the blizzard came roaring in full force. The party was no more. And that’s when the trouble came knockin’.
Early that morning I had made two pans of brownies and two pans of lemon squares. At the grocery store, I had acquired two large bags of tortilla chips and two jars of picante sauce. I’d even bought those greasy little rolls that come in the little metal pans. You know the greasy little rolls I’m talkin’ about. They’re sweet and delicious and they make great ham sandwiches ... and they’re greasy. So, now we were all “snowed in” with about 79,000 calories of leftovers. This is a fat girl nightmare ... or dream come true, depending on how you look at it.
I determined not to partake in the bounty of salt and sugar that had accumulated in our kitchen. And that was a good plan. If only it had lasted. That’s when my meticulous eye for detail noticed that one of the lemon squares had been cut crooked. Appropriate action needed to be taken quickly. At first I cut off the crooked part and ate it. Then I realized it was now too small for the platter and had to be eliminated. The fastest and most effective way to eliminate the malformed lemon square was by eating it. The brownies had made the whole house smell like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I felt the need to test the brownies several times. But it was all for good reason. What if some poor soul came walking up to our door needing to find shelter from the blizzard? What if he hadn’t eaten for days and needed sustenance? Would I want to give the poor man brownies that could be contaminated with some unforeseen contaminant? Of course not. Someone had to be brave and courageous enough to be the quality control inspector. Thankfully, I was on the job.
After inspecting the sweets as best I could, I heard the salty treats begin to call my name. I pretended not to hear their siren song at first. But the song got louder and louder. Oh, how I now regretted the whole disco party idea! I wished platform shoes had never been invented. Silk shirts and bell bottom pants should be burned in a large bonfire. But my biggest regret of all? I regretted the baking and the shopping for tortilla chips. At this point, I even regretted the greasy little rolls.
So I bundled up the food blessings into little containers and put them out on the front lawn with a sign, “Free to a good home.” OK, not really. The minute the roads had cleared we distributed them to friends. Next time, we’re serving only vegetable soup ... with Ritz™ crackers, of course.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 3.12.08