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The Battle Over Leftovers

takeoutWhat’s the most valuable food on earth? Most people would probably say caviar, lobster, truffles, or kobe beef, but they’d be wrong. The most valuable food in the world is anything that’s earned the glorious label of “leftover.” I’ve never craved lobster or any of those other delicacies anywhere near as much as I’ve craved a carton of leftover Chinese food in my fridge — especially after eleven p.m. Unfortunately, my husband, Mike, feels much the same way, and this has lead to way too many “ACK! DID YOU EAT MY ENCHILDADAS?!?!?!?” style confrontations in our home.

Yesterday I opened our fridge with dreams of enjoying the leftover Kung Pao beef I’d brought back from a Chinese restaurant a couple days earlier only to discover — GASP! – that it was gone. When I confronted Mike he stammered something about eating it, but only because there was just a little bit left (a dirty lie). He then added something about how he’d “left me the chicken.” This was not okay. It was time we had a “come to Jesus” over how we deal with leftovers in our home.

“First of all, Mike, I don’t care how little is left — even if there’s just one tiny little shallot at the bottom of the carton — you do not eat someone else’s leftovers! Second, the chicken was your leftover, not mine. You can’t leave me your leftover as substitute for eating mine! Third, you know chicken grosses me out when I’m pregnant, so why would I even want it? Fourth, and this is the big one, you never take a pregnant woman’s food. Ever!”

Mike just stared at me as if he’d been run over by a dump truck.

“What have you to say for yourself?” I barked. I mean seriously? What could he possibly say? Those are pretty dastardly crimes, amirite?

“Remember those delicious tamales we brought home a couple weeks ago?” Mike began. “The ones you said I couldn’t have under any circumstances because you absolutely couldn’t wait to eat them?”

I nodded slowly.

“How’d they taste? Oh wait. You wouldn’t know. Because I had to throw them away uneaten and moldy! Just like I had to throw away your beef stew, shrimp pasta, and margarita pizza. Do you have any idea how many of your scrumptious leftovers I’ve had to throw out uneaten? Do you?”

Crap. I suddenly wasn’t feeling so confident because I’ve totally been guilty as charged of late. It’s not my fault, though. I’m pregnant with hyperemesis and as a result eating is a serious challenge for me right now. Also, I would never tell Mike this, but sometimes I forget my leftovers are in there.

I still think Mike is more in the wrong than me (because again… you never eat a pregnant woman’s food), but neither one of us is innocent in our battles over leftovers.

Thankfully, there is one type of leftover that we happily share: Annie’s. Many nights we’ve chomped on her leftover quesadillas after she’s gone to bed, and not once has she called us on it. I’ve got a feeling that will change soon. The first morning she is old enough to open the fridge and say, “Hey, where’s my quesadilla?” both mommy and daddy will be in big, big trouble.


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