If your fridge looks anything like mine this weekend, it's packed to the gills with leftover turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, and other family favorites. It's hard not to take advantage of the bounty of the Boston area this time of year, and harder still not to show off a little by providing a feast for the family on Thanksgiving.
According to Ocean Spray, Americans consume some 80 million pounds of cranberries during Thanksgiving week, and 35% of the world's cranberries are grown in Massachusetts. Many local farmers markets remained open until Thanksgiving, providing access to locally grown potatoes, onions, garlic, kale, pumpkin, squash, Brussels sprouts, eggs, cheese, meat, apples, cider, and more. Several area farms, including Chestnut and Stillman's, raised heirloom and standard turkeys for the main course. And all of these dishes and more are probably packed up in tupperware, wrapped in foil, or tucked into ziplock bags in your fridge or freezer right now, ready to be turned into sandwiches, soups, and pot pies.
Today's New York Times has an interesting article about the long tradition of eating leftovers. As times have changed, so has our relationship to last night's dinner. Everything from class status to technological developments to war and peace have influenced how we feel about eating leftovers, or being seen eating them. Eating leftovers has been viewed alternately as low-class and patriotic.
In my book, the best reason to eat leftovers (aside from the fact that they taste great), is that it's a green way to handle not only surplus, but energy use. Refrigerators run more efficiently when they are full, and microwaving leftovers for two minutes takes far less energy than baking a fresh dish in the oven for an hour or more. And the more you eat, the less winds up taking up space in landfills. So join me today in having a tasty sandwich of leftover turkey and stuffing on crunchy, half-stale bread, topped with cranberry sauce and served with a side of gravy mashed potatoes. Yum!