Lapping Up the Leftovers -
The holiday season -- stretching from Halloween until Valentine's Day -- often finds us awash in leftovers. Meats, sweets, sides, too much potato salad left over, not enough green beans to go around for a full veggie serving. What did your family do with leftovers (or what do you do today) -- especially if the item was not very well liked. Hide it in a casserole? Soup? A big mixed salad? Gussy up a cake with extra candy or fruit? What was your favorite repurposed food?
We'd love to hear your stories and share your recipes. Here's what to do...
RECIPES I GREW UP ON
By Virginia Davis
I lived in East Texas when I was nine years old. We were very poor. In fact, Mom had to sign up to win a TV. We were so happy when she won. Mom got on the phone and called Daddy. He asked about the noise in the background Mom told him we had won a TV.
We were so thankful for the little things in life. For supper mom always made steaks smothered in gravy and onions and sometimes she made liver that way too -- and served them with mashed potatoes and green beans. She bought some real cheap steaks which she would tenderize with a metal meat-pounding tool. She would fry them until they were brown on both sides, then add lots of water and onions and cook the steaks for an hour. She would continually add water as it cooked down. When the steaks were extremely tender she would add a little flour, if we had any, and stir it up real good.
Sometimes we didn't have any money for groceries and Mom would buy Spam and slice it up and fry it until it was crispy which we would eat between two pieces of bread. And sometimes when we had no meat, just potatoes, she would soft-fry potatoes and put them in bread slices. We even ate weenies fried and put between slices of bread.
But the best meal she has always made was at Thanksgiving -- chicken and dressing. Mom cooked two chickens in hot boiling water until they were done. She removed the chicken and saved the liquid because it had salt and pepper seasoning and the flavor of the chicken still in the water. She would chop up some celery and onions and sauté them in a frying pan. Then she would make a double recipe of cornbread from the instructions on a bag of white cornmeal mix.
She poured the cornmeal mixture in an oiled baking pan and cooked it according to instructions for temperature and baking time. While the cornbread was baking she deboned the chicken and tore it into small pieces. When the cornbread was done she used a fork to break it up into small pieces. After putting the cornbread into a larger oiled or buttered baking pan she would add the chicken, more salt and pepper and just a little poultry seasoning. She poured the liquid she cooked the chicken in a little at a time, stirring until the cornbread was mushy. Back it went into the oven to bake until it was done -- when a toothpick inserted into it came out clean or when the top looked done.
While it was baking she added the finely chopped giblets and chopped boiled egg whites only to a mixture of butter and flour that has been browned in a frying pan with enough water to make giblet gravy.
Today, I use chicken breasts, chicken stock that comes in a can, and Jiffy yellow cornbread mix. I get the same results with less fat. My daughter has always loved my mom's way so she makes it the way her grandma did. But that's okay, my mom is 75 and hasn't cooked in a long time, so we all cook for her now. I'm so proud I still have my mom even though she hasn't been well in a while. But I pray for her every day to get better. She has taught me so much about life and living and knowing how to be a good person. I only hope I get to spend more time with her as long as I can. I don't want to lose her. And I'll cherish her frugal cooking and favorite recipes forever.
In each issue of YUM we’ll ask you to bring something special to the table. We will sort through your entries and choose several of the best to share with everyone. Submissions will be evaluated for originality, readability, of special interest to those of us on the better side of 60, and whatever other special touches you might have added to round out our celebration of food.
The top entries will appear in the next issue of YUM. The winner will be awarded a check for $50