When Chris and I were youngsters, our moms didn’t waste even one scrap of food. Her mom could fashion a meal out of any ingredients. My mother would often eat the leftovers in our fridge for her lunch. Now I understand—our mothers weren’t sacrificing their food choices at all. They knew then what we know now: Leftovers can be a praiseworthy part of any menu.
In our home, leftover foodstuffs remain after almost any dinner, scrumptious delights awaiting our next refrigerator visit. Because leftovers are surplus food, they’re also a luxury—remnants of former meals, just a bit older but still delicious. (Maybe even better the second time around!) My favorites? Cold baked beans, turkey meatloaf sandwiches, cole slaw and any kind of soup! You have your favorites, too, right?
“Leftovers” might also include anything or anyone that isn’t an immediate first choice. (I can remember rarely being the first pick for recess teams.) Leftovers remind me that, with God, there aren’t any leftover people—we all have been chosen to receive God’s love; we’re all useful for God’s purposes!
By saving and consuming leftovers, Chris and I practice the axiom, “Waste not, want not.” These scraps hold their nutritional value, so we don’t discard them just because they’re older. The small containers of extra food also remind us that, in the rest of life, too, other manifestations of “elderly” might also be valuable.
One of my favorite Bible stories prompts the question: “After the 5000 folks were fed, what did Jesus’ disciples do with those twelve baskets of barley bread bits and pieces that they collected?” My leftovers-related thought: “That’s what Jesus and his disciples had for lunch/supper the next few days!”
We’re glad that we can save and consume leftovers. And grateful for our mothers’ examples!
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