Hubby and I were both raised by parents who valued family dinner. We’ve tried to keep that tradition alive in our own family, but sometimes that means being flexible. For example, on the nights Hubby has loads of work to complete and not enough hours to complete it between coming home from class in the afternoon and collapsing into bed late at night, dinner has to come to him.
Instead of a table for two, we have a chair that holds the food while we sit nearby and sup. Side-by-side dinner conversation takes runner up to face-to-face. The togetherness counts as far as we’re concerned.
The other night we had tapas. (That’s code for “leftovers.”) I’m trying to be new-school about it instead of falling back on the old-school method of using leftovers: hiding them in a casserole. While the members of some families may anticipate each never-before-seen cheese-covered dish of cream-soup-glued goodness, that’s really not my thing. My apologies to the long line of frugal home cooks who’ve come before me, but I prefer the re-incarnation of a food to be just as worthy of consumption as the original.
Lest you think I’m on a high horse, elevated to ensure that the sodium and fat of that cheddar can’t sully me, think again. It’s not the fat I object to in casseroles. It’s the artlessness. In an effort to be more imaginative with my cold, gloppy risotto, I didn’t bury it under anything; I just dipped it once in egg, once in flour, and once in an electric skillet of 400-degree canola oil. Judge me all you want; it was just as good the second time around as it was the first. The fried rice balls reminded me just a little of hush puppies, which I love, have been craving, and have no idea how to make. Better yet, they fueled my homework-dueling lovebug for his final stretch of tedious calculating.
How do you keep food from going to waste in your house? Are there any foods you find particularly difficult to use up before they spoil? For me it’s celery. What do you do with it after you’ve made potato salad, chicken salad, and egg salad? (I really don’t like it raw.) Someone recently suggested Big Oven to me. Anybody tried it? I’ve used Allrecipes‘ ingredient search a few times.
While I’m bombarding you with questions, tell me about your views and habits regarding family dinner. Do you prioritize it? Take it when you can get it? Surround it with traditions like Pizza Friday? That one has evolved on its own for us. Sometimes we shake it up and eat something else when we kick off our weekend, but usually it’s pizza, whether carry-out or homemade. How about you?