Speaking of leftovers

If I sounded like I was kvetching about schlepping leftovers down the I75 SUV Speedway yesterday, I have to clarify that we snagged some darn good stuff outta the moomincabin refrigerator. There’s the pepperjack cheese that I grated up for tonight’s enchiladas. And some leftover Chili Quails that I’ve been heating up for breakfast. And there’s potato salad…

We cobbled together a potato salad for the Non-Thanksgiving BBQ / Potluck last Thursday. It was based on the Joy of Cooking recipe (the basic one, page 87, number II but we used NO mayo, thank you very much). We did use some hard-boiled eggs, cucumber (I think), peppers, red onion, and frozen peas, among other things I am forgetting, dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. It was pretty good but probably not anything to write home about and there was a lot of it at the end of the party. Guess what? If y’all are guessing something like “potato salad gets better and better and better as it marinates in that loverly vinaigrette”, well, you are rrrrrright! Yesterday afternoon, after six hours or more on the road, I slogged over to the Plum Market and picked up a nice salmon filet. We grilled that salmon and the non-Thanksgiving potato salad plus some leftover green salad were perfect with it. Made a good lunch today too! This stuff is to die for and I’m making it again. Soon!

That said, schlepping leftover food around between our various haunts is one of the banes of my existence. I’m getting better at minimizing food purchases when we are at Houghton Lake or the Moomincabin but as “affluent” Americans we can get just about any kind of food anywhere and we definitely overbuy when it comes to grokkeries. (Disclaimer: We are not all that affluent and I am probably cutting off my foot by even writing that ’cause who knows what’ll happen next? But we are more affluent than so many of our fellow citizens who do not have access to fresh food… We can buy it pretty much wherever we are…)

My parents-in-law were a lot more frugal about grokkery shopping than I am. I’m sure that had to do with the reality of feeding 10 children and sometimes other family members like their Uncle Harry (a different person from My Dear Uncle Harry, who occasionally makes an appearance here) and Liz the baby-sitter. Me? I am mostly feeding two people. Buying filet mignon for the two of us does not break the bank. I *rarely* do it for 10 people!

Anyway, when I joined the Courtois Fam, I eventually learned to not just leave a bunch of leftover food with Grandpa Garth at Houghton Lake. My parents-in-law did not like to throw out food (and neither do I) and they got stressed out when faced with more stuff than they could eat, not to mention things they didn’t *want* to eat.

I learned over the years to make sure I *asked* Grandpa what he wanted me to leave. Leftover breakfast sausage or toast from Ron’s Restaurant could literally be left on the counter or the table and it would disappear. Other stuff? He would eat some leftovers but not others. Vegetables were not his fave. I seem to recall that when he married Grandma Sally he ate something like four vegetables (including potatoes) and Sally managed to get him up to maybe seven (???). At any rate, a decent piece of steak that a beach urchin couldn’t finish could be left but a green salad would probably turn into slime. What the heck? Grandroobly (my dad) had similar tastes.

I tried but I was never perfect about all that and I will never forget the day I arrived at Houghton Lake and my beloved father-in-law met me in the back yard. He said, “I bought you a refrigerator! It’s in the garage.” It was a used refrigerator that he got by calling up a local “swap shop” radio show. Now. I have to admit that, for a split second I was, well, insulted. Before my face registered that kind of expression (I hope), I was hit by a lightning bolt! THIS IS A GOOD IDEA! And it was. It was so easy to put my grokkeries in the garage refrigerator and they didn’t get mixed up with his. I think that refrigerator is still out in that garage, even though Garth has been dead almost 10 years. It still gets used.

8 Responses to “Speaking of leftovers”

  1. Becky Courtois Says:

    Was that the fridge in the garage that we all use now? Didn’t he have a worm fridge?? Don’t put wine in the door though ( not naming any names – but Doug Farnell dropped my favorite chardonnay on the floor of the garage).

  2. Margaret Says:

    And some left overs heat up or keep really well, but others don’t. That’s my primary consideration.

  3. kayak woman Says:

    @Becky: Hilarious! I guess I’m not really sure if it’s the same fridge or not there in the garage. He didn’t have a fridge totally devoted to worms but he did have a styrofoam worm container that he kept in one of the [two] cabin fridges.

    (((When ya gonna be up there again and what’s yer fav-o-rite chardonnay?)))

    @Margaret: Yes. And I have no problem throwing out the stuff that doesn’t heat up well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Kathy Farnell Says:

    My dad didn’t like vegetables very well, but I was always amazed that he liked canned peas. (I prefer fresh or frozen myself) He also liked squash and corn. I made a chicken and broccoli dish when he was at our house once and he did not want to eat it. He saw my kids chowing it down and decided to taste it. He then announced that he didn’t know that broccoli tasted good because it smelled so bad. In later years, he would request that I make him chicken and broccoli for dinner.

  5. Kathy Farnell Says:

    I guess Doug owes Becky a bottle of wine. However, it is a good idea NOT to store bottles of wine in the door of the garage fridge.

  6. kayak woman Says:

    @Kathy I also remember Garth eating broccoli soup at the old Mountain Jacks in A2 and being a bit surprised that he liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

    That chicken/broc dish sounds a lot like chicken divan, which I haven’t made in a while…

  7. Becky Courtois Says:

    Kathy – Doug does not owe me a bottle of wine – I helped him drink his chardonnay. I just like to tease him ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Sam Says:

    I remember the KW (and The Comm’s) chicken divanโ€”from the way old days.