Friday, June 16, 2006

lord I love me some leftovers ...

WARNING: The following post is about food. In all likelihood, it is likely to stir your hunger and make your tummy rumble. The author accepts no responsibility for any degree of food longings he causes in you. Heh.

Note to vegetarians (Kathi): Lot of meat mentioned below! LOL

Some of my favorite foods taste even better, to me, when they're either reheated the next day, or the day after that, or when they're cold after being in the refrigerator overnight.

Now I know a lot of people like munching on leftovers, but I often get some strange looks when I share that I like to eat a lot of my leftovers cold. Is it just me? Really?

I come from a large nuclear family: dad, mom, five kids. And I come from a culture where it's important that there's always enough food, even if unexpected company should happen to show up — like when one of us would ask a friend over for dinner; or my dad would bring home some young airmen (he was a senior master sergeant), who were usually from Guam and hadn't had a real home-cooked meal in forever; or if a relative happened to drop by right before dinnertime. So dinner had an abundance of food, to make sure all bases were covered — that hungry kids got seconds or guests had enough to fill their plate and satisfy their appetites.

That usually meant that there were leftovers, which we'd either sneak late at night, or have for breakfast or lunch the next day.

Now sometimes, I think you really need to reheat leftovers. Spaghetti and chili both taste better the next day, after they are reheated. Soup, of course, needs to be served hot. But for most other foods, that's not the case, at least to me.

My favorite leftovers, like revenge, best served cold:

• Fried porkchops. God I love a cold piece of fried pork or three, along with some rice (hot or leftover).

• Fried chicken. I actually think fried chicken is BETTER cold than it is hot, but that's just me. On the rare occasions when I get KFC takeout, I usually just get a box of chicken (their sides suck ass, except the red rice, which is ONLY served in Guam KFCs ... unless there's one in the CNMI; I'm not sure if there is one there). But I don't eat it as soon as I come home. Instead, I take the box (sometimes the bucket) and put it in the fridge for several hours, to get it nice and chilled. Mmm ....

• Chamorro barbecue. Whether it's spare ribs, short ribs or chicken, I'll take it all nice and cooled down.

• Steak. The first time I ever had my own steak was about age 15 or so, at a Sizzler. In my house, it made more sense to buy those giant steaks that weighed about three pounds a piece. We'd soak them in a marinade made of soy sauce and vinegar, spiced with black pepper and onions. Then we'd grill them up and slice them into strips about an inch wide. Much cheaper and more efficient for a large family. And damn did they taste extra good the next day.

• Roast beef. Is there anything better than making your own big sammiches (hoagies, heroes, submarine sandwiches, whatever you want to call it) out of thick slices of cold, homemade roast beef the day after enjoying the same meat hot with gravy and mashed potatoes? Not to me there isn't. God those sammiches taste divine!

• Grilled beef brisket. My dad would slice brisket into thin little strips, soak them in marinade and grill them up. It was almost like beef jerky, though not anywhere near as tough. And the next day, these little strips of heavenly cow meat were simply divine!

So what did I have for dinner tonight (last night, for you folks reading this in the a.m., stateside time)? I bought one of those supermarket rotisserie chickens that are already cooked and brought it home ... then stuck it in the fridge for two hours so I could enjoy it leftover-style.

In the Chamorro culture we often send dinner guests home with more food, particularly at fiestas and other parties. Good luck trying to leave a fiesta without taking any food with you. If you won't make yourself a plate, odds are your host will make one for you. The term for making plates of food to take home with you is "balutan." What you do is stack up your favorite foods on a styrofoam plate, cover it with another plate, then wrap it all up in aluminum foil so no parts of it spill out on the drive home.


Madame X said...

Styrofoam plates?
How enviromentaly sound!

Unlike you...I HATE COLD FOOD!!!
There are some things I will eat at room temperature like Pizza or fried chicken but everything else has to be heated.

As for roast beef sandwiches...thinly sliced Roast Beef from the deli...very, very rare! I just made my mouth water!

DZER said...

madame x: sue us! and cold food rocks; you need to develop your taste buds ... and I love it when your mouth waters ;)

RobynB said...

You forgot cold pizza.

I'm with you, leftovers are always better. Cold leftovers rock!


Kristen said...

Cold Fried chicken is the best.....

Robyn's right....cold pizza

DZER said...

robyn: ah, a woman of taste and distinction ... heh

kristen: isn't it just? and I guess I just don't eat enough pizza ... LOL

Vixxxen said...

Hmm...cold pizza that use to be my breakfast whenever I stayed at my grandmothers. She use to order us a pizza and then I would eat what was left for breakfast well she tsked at me for it. Good memories.

And cold fried chicken is the best...Dzer you do indeed make a girl hungry with this post. Now I have to go raid the fridge. :)


DZER said...

vixxxen: nothing I like more than making a girl hungry ... well, unless it's satisfying her appetites ;)

Pyrhonik said...

This post made my mouth water!

Jamabalaya is always better the next day re-heated!

Cold pizza all the way.

Cold chicken over re-heated, for absolute certain. Especially those little rotisserie brined birds.

And barbecue sauce thickens when it cools so that's a no brainer!

snavy said...

I feel the same way about a lot of those foods.

Beef stew is way better reheated - it's thicker the next day - perfect for dumplings - mmmmm.

DZER said...

pyrhonik: I'm feeling ya!

snavylyn: you evidently have very good taste ... heh

kathi said... remembered me. How sweet is that?
And I beg to differ about KFC's sides. I like the cole slaw. :)

DZER said...

kathi: their cole slaw is OK, but I guess I'm used to a higher standard ;)