Friday, June 15, 2007

Leftovers

On any given day, you could look into my refrigerator and find a whole slew of leftovers. Like today for instance, there’s egg foo yung and chicken fried rice from the local Ms. Egg Roll #2; spaghetti with marinara sauce that I made a couple of nights ago; a half-eaten chicken leg.

There was also a single piece of futomaki, which I took home from Nohana. The waitress looked at me strangely when I requested to take that futomaki home, but nevertheless put the piece into a huge styrofoam take-home box. It was maybe twenty times the size of the futomaki.

Inside of me, a war waged between feelings of waste from the excess packaging for my single piece of sushi and the knowledge that the same single piece could feed a starving family in Ethiopia or both the Olsen twins for a week. It was worth it; I resolved to re-use the styrofoam packaging somehow. Maybe if I collect enough of them, I could use it to make some kind of Christmas ornament that I could give friends that I no longer want to hang out with.

But I will say this: I will take home food from a restaurant no matter how small the morsel.

This is probably because I inherited my sense of frugality from my father; who believed that nothing should be wasted; that every cent should be considered. Thus, I can never throw anything away. And sometimes, when I walk past a dumpster, I have an urge to look in there and see if there's something I can rescue: an old lamp, second-hand romance novels, some newly married guy’s discarded porn collection.

I also believe that my fridge has magickal qualities in that anything I put in there can last through the next Ice Age--which I hear is currently in production at DreamWorks. Barring an unforeseen power outage, my leftovers are safe. I put my faith in this the way a televangelist puts his faith in the almighty dollar.

Unfortunately, my boyfriend is one of those people who refuses to eat leftovers because he doesn't believe in it, which makes me have to be sneaky.

Easy enough, I suppose, if you take the leftovers and make it into an omelet, a frittata or a casserole. Sometimes a dish could be separated into parts, and the parts stir-fried in with vegetables, noodles or rice. I'm sure each of you have your own recycling techniques. If I knew how to make futomaki, believe me, the leftover halibut would find itself cut up and folded into a roll.

When I eat leftovers, I know I am my father's son. It takes me back to the days when he would cook dinner, in huge vats. Whatever it was, we would chow down, stuff ourselves and eat it with relish. It's strange I know, but relish goes with everything, not just hotdogs. Usually, there would still be enough for a couple more days. I don't know if Dad cooked because he wanted to show off his culinary skill or because he just loved cooking for us.

I'd like to believe that it was the latter.

I know that as I sit down to eat my single futomaki, my cold egg foo yung, my half-eaten chicken leg, my father is also eating something from his fridge, maybe a lone, orphaned meatball, or something leftover from another meal, another time.

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Shame - My father told me not to embarrass my ancestors. Yes, my dead ancestors.


They Found Nemo!
- Finally.

My First Beer - My father told me that this was the only way I could grow hair on my chest.
Rock Bottom - When you've fished food out of the trash, then you know you've hit rock bottom.

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