The Remains of the Day…Before

by Samantha on November 28, 2011

Some people would never dream of heating up yesterday’s dinner. Re-warmed pizza? No thanks.

Many of us, however, relish (pun intended) the thought of having a ready-made meal waiting in the fridge, hot and steaming with the press of the microwave button. What is it about leftovers that divides us?

Depending on which side of the fridge you’re on, there are a number of reasons why people do or don’t re-heat yesterday’s dinner. 

On the one hand, if you’re pro-leftovers, then having a pre-cooked meal ready to go in seconds seems like a no-brainer. On the other hand, opponents of “day-old” (or “three-day-old” food) cite decreased flavor, fear of spoilage and related reasons as to why they will pass on nuking yesterday’s meal.
Image courtesy of http://cookingquestions.myrecipes.com
With the holiday season in full swing, this topic is both timely and pressing – especially for those of us who wonder how long turkey can really last in that Tupperware container at the back of the fridge. But I digress.

Upon reading this article about leftovers, the line was drawn in the sand, and I had to place myself in one of two camps. I am unashamedly a Nuker.


From my completely unscientific research, there appears to be two camps to which people subscribe: The Nukers and the Non-Nukers. 

The Nukers have the following traits and rationales when chowing down on a not-so-fresh repas:
  • Pragmatic – C’mon, chicken from a few days ago is probably okay to eat, right?
  • Frugal – Tired of throwing away spoiled food – groceries are expensive, after all
  • Lazy – Why cook if you don’t have to?
The Non-Nukers contend that leftovers and sludge are one in the same, and that no self-respecting individual would attempt to eat food that is less-than-fresh. Some Non-Nuker traits:
  • Discerning - Can tell a Pinot Gris from a Pinot Grigot in an instant
  • Financially Successful – And therefore able to choose not to eat the extra food from last night’s dinner
  • Single – Because I’ll go out on a limb to say that those having to deal with children’s temperaments on a daily basis will appreciate not having to cook whenever possible – making leftovers a welcome option.
Surprisingly, those who ascribe to either one of the above-noted camps are pretty hard-wired in their choices to nuke or not to nuke. Our allegiance to either group is pretty set, from what I’ve seen, with those who choose to make a good meal last just a few days longer not at all understanding folks who turn down the opportunity to take home a “doggy bag” from a restaurant because, after all, they wouldn’t dream of reheating its contents. Once a re-heater, always a re-heater. Conversely, non-nukers tend to really appreciate food, and for this reason, do not want to sully the experience of eating what was once a great meal the next day. Because the light of day – or the freon in the fridge – just might make the whole experience just a tad less savory.

As I stated before, I’m in the first group. I believed it when my mother told me that soup only gets better the second or third day, but that’s just me. Where do you belong?

Do you eat leftovers? Why or why not? 
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