Monday, 9 January 2012

Waiting for Leftovers

l. to r.: broccoli & carrots, bacon, home fries, steak.
In the interest of full disclosure (to borrow a ridiculously overused cliché that indicates a sort of usually benign hypocrisy on the part of the speaker), I hate leftovers. They typically spend far too much time in my refrigerator, releasing their overripe funk into its atmosphere to the detriment of other, fresher foods. The usual method for using leftovers is, in the digital age, the microwave, a device I don't see eye to eye with even though it hovers luminously above my stove. I'll melt butter in the microwave (but not good butter), and I'll heat up the occasional cup of water in it if the kettle's broken or we're out of gas. But no food, and certainly no leftover, has ever entered a microwave that came out tasting better than it did before. For a long time, there were no leftovers in my fridge. Not allowed. They would be thrown out anyway, so what was the use? Then I began to wonder... how had people dealt with leftovers before the microwave?

My ultimate interest in food was piqued by happening upon an episode of Good Eats on the Food Network. One of my favorite episodes is something titled "Behind the Bird," a post-Thanksgiving show that has the crew of Good Eats snowed in, forcing them to use up the holiday leftovers. That is how I met my favorite leftover dish: hash.

Make sure ingredients are bite-sized
or smaller.
My hash is a bit different from AB's, in that I typically don't have the variety of leftovers hanging around that he does. Plus, with a vegetarian in the house, my hash tends away from meatiness. But not today. Today, I only had to cook for one.

The only rule I have for hash is that it must contain leftover potatoes. This can be any form of the spud: French fries, home fries, mashed, baked, whatever. I just make sure it's cut into little bits. Beyond that, whatever is in your fridge (or freezer) is the limit.

Leftover Hash
Start with the meat (if you're into that). Add oil or bacon grease as needed.
Add the veggies. Cook until desired temperature is reached. Season to taste & enjoy!

Title inspiration: Waiting for Lefty, a play by Clifford Odets. Premiered at the Civic Repertory Theatre in New York City, presented by the Group Theatre, directed by Sanford Meisner, featuring Lee J. Cobb, Elia Kazan, and the playwright, among others.


  1. My favorite is making a stir fry with all the leftovers. No one ever knows it was made with leftovers!

  2. My husband loves left overs, but I really don't care for them. He will eat them cold and under any circumstances without a hint of hesitation. I think they smell funny, look funny, and taste funny. So Mark usually takes them all to work, which allows me the chance to cook new fun things every day. However, this method gives me hope!