When you cook every night from scratch, leftovers have a way of catching up with you. I try to eat them for lunch so they don’t accumulate, but eventually I end up with no choice but to have a Leftover Dinner.
I hate Leftover Dinner. No matter how organized I try to be, it has a way of turning into utter chaos.
First I go through the fridge and pull out a dozen or so containers. I lay them out on the island and announce the myriad of choices. Commence squabbling. Naturally everyone wants the same thing. Not quite sure where to start, I choose a child, demand that a choice be made, and dish up that particular plate, cover with wax paper, and pop into the microwave.
Another child throws a fit because she wanted that dinner. Remove said child from table for time out.
Third child makes a choice, albeit slowly and with lots of deliberation and last minute mind changes. I dish up the plate. Remove first plate from the microwave, hand it to its proper owner, put second plate in the microwave.
The first child complains that his dinner is still cold. Call to disobedient child and invite her to return to the table. She makes a reasonable choice this time, and I dish up third plate. Remove second plate from microwave. Return first [cold] plate to microwave. Serve drinks.
Owner of second plate complains that hers is too hot. She runs off to play while it cools down.
Remove first plate from microwave. Return to its rightful owner. Put third plate in microwave. Dish up hubby’s plate. The first child is done and wants more. Take third plate from microwave, set it on table. Put hubby’s plate in microwave. Take first plate from first child and dish up second helpings.
Remove hubby’s plate from microwave and deliver. Call second child to come back and eat; her plate should be cooled by now. Third child is done and runs off to play. Hub gets up and pops his plate back in the microwave; it wasn’t warm enough.
Conversation ensues. Everyone talks at once. Child #3 is annoyed that no one will let her finish a sentence. Child #1 teases child #2. Child #3 wants more milk. Child #1 asks to go play with his friends.
Hub finishes up his first plate, declares his undying love for Leftover Dinner and all the glorious choices, and returns to the counter for another round. Child #2 and #3 are finished and run off to play.
I pause, the first moment in the last 20 that I have no one making a request that requires my immediate action, and survey the scene that entails something like 12454 dirty plates between the kitchen counters and the table.
That’s when I realize, I never even got a chance to eat.