Leftovers: the word alone evokes sad, forgotten remains. Something inferior, less than. This bad branding may be behind the sorry way we treat the food that’s left on the table after a meal. Every year, the UK throws away 1.2 million tonnes of leftovers. Perfectly good, unspoiled food that we deemed worthy to serve just moments before. It’s one of the biggest sources of avoidable food waste, and it doesn’t even involve anything going bad!
It doesn’t have to be this way. Not long ago, an instinct for revitalising leftovers was one of the marks of a good home cook. Home economics manuals, which aimed to apply science to the art of maintaining a household, were full of tips for making today’s dinner out of yesterday’s remains. Cottage pie, for example, was originally developed to make use of leftover stew and mashed potatoes.
You can show off your own home-cook savvy and slim down your grocery bill by looking at leftovers in a new light. There’s no need to treat your uneaten servings like guests that have overstayed their welcome. Instead, see them as brand-new ingredients, ready to spark your culinary creativity.
Give your leftovers new life by incorporating them into delicious dishes such as this chicken soup, which works perfectly for the remnants of a roast bird. Once you get the hang of some basic leftover-saving techniques, you’ll develop your own instinct for the art. In no time you’ll be serving up one-of-a-kind recipes of your own invention.