Like most kids, I grew up in a household where you were expected to eat all of your food at dinner time.
"There's starving children in [insert your choice of country] who would give anything to have [insert an unappetizing meal] for dinner", my mother would say.
"Great! Let's ship this over to them immediately! What's the zip code in India?"
Not only did my mom expect you to be grateful for the meal, but as she prepared it she was already planning out what to do with the leftovers. Believe me, there's only so much you can do with kielbasa. We just didn't waste food in our house. My mom could stretch a pot of homemade pea soup for an entire month if she had to. She grew up with little money and learned to live frugally, if not grossly.
I can distinctly remember helping her prepare tacos one night when I was young. She handed me the block of Cheddar cheese and the cheese grater.
"Mom! This cheese is moldy- look! It's green and blue!"
In the blink of an eye my mom hacked away at the cheese until all of the mold was cut off and sitting in a fuzzy pile on the edge of the cutting board.
"Here ya go. It's fine now", she stated as she handed me back a much tinier, yet more unappetizing, piece of Cheddar.
The original Frugal Gourmet, my mother was. Waste not, want not. And you better want leftovers.
Now that I'm a mom, I find myself wasting a lot of food and therefore spending a lot more to feed my family. Last week I was sauteing vegetables and I had one quarter of a zucchini left over. I looked over my shoulder quickly to make sure no one was watching and opened the garbage can and threw it in. I could hear my mom inhale sharply from 750 miles away and shake her head in dismay.
"You could've shredded that zucchini and made a single mini muffin out of that!"
My husband is a food tight wad as well. He will eat and drink things that I can't even bring myself to mention. Just think "past expiration date- way past". He also cleans his plate at every meal, which should be an admirable trait, however he will eat himself into a stupor, just to avoid wasting food. The other night he scraped and dug at the bottom of a bowl of ice cream with his spoon so intently that he inadvertantly dug to China.
I leaned over his now empty bowl and shouted down to the wee, starving children of China "Sorry I threw out that zucchini the other night!"
Do you have enough leftovers to feed a small island nation or do you use everything?