When I was a child my mum liked telling me of how my grandma (dad’s mum) had to learn to cook very quickly once she got married.
I was told she was originally terrible and there is a funny story about her attempting to make panettone from scratch in the village’s bakery oven and flooding their whole kitchen with batter overflowing from the forms – I don’t know if it’s true or partly true or a straight up fabrication of a relative’s imagination but I nevertheless giggle at the thought every time.
Grandma also had to learn pretty quickly what to make of leftovers: in a post-war Italy my granddad was apparently quite fussy and did not like to be served the same thing 2 meals in a row.
You will understand that his was not the most practical attitude when everyone was on food rations so she used her imagination to turn everything into a brand new dish for him and the habit stuck even after rationing was lifted and she could afford to make a new dish for every meal.
She had learnt to use everything she had and not waste and, for that, I have a lot of respect for her.
When we moved to Italy my mum also started teaching me that leftovers were not to be sniffed at and that little handfuls of mismatched vegetables could be turned into flavoursome dishes; we were not poor but we weren’t swimming in money either and I guess that after seeing the poverty 40% of the population lives through in Panama she did not want me to grow up being the type of person who wastes food.
She’ll be happy to know I try my best not to but that I have, sadly, come out like my grandpa and I cannot stand eating the same thing over and over again.
So here’s the thing, I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out what to make of leftovers and turn them into a brand new meal but I have also realised that maybe not everyone does it and that be it out of laziness or lack of imagination they eat the same thing over and over again or, worst, throw perfectly good food in the bin.
To me this is unacceptable and a lack of respect towards the 1.4 billion people around the world who live in extreme poverty – They would love to be so lucky as to have leftovers after a meal!
It has been then that after a lot of thinking I have decided to launch my own monthly challenge “Left. Over. Roger.” with the support of Love Food Hate Waste.
The rules are simple:
1) Make something nice with your leftovers of choice
2) Post the recipe with a photo and the Love Food Hate Waste logo on your blog (extra kudos if you post the recipe for the original dish the leftovers came from!)
3) Link to your post in the comments section of this post (and on the posts published on 1st of the month from May onwards) by 28th of each month
On 1st May I will post a run-through of all the recipes submitted as well as the previous month’s winner who will have their recipe published on the Love Food Hate Waste site as well as their Facebook page.
I feel very strongly about this and feel it’s important to raise awareness for these issues so make sure to join in!
May the best leftover win.