I’m home solo this week, craving a chicken pot pie and thinking about the dismal prospect of cooking for one. I am starting to believe that the root of my culinary laziness is anchored in this dilemma – cooking for one is no fun. Okay, it’s not the cooking. It’s the leftovers. I can’t get around the leftovers.
I’ve never been a big fan of leftovers and Marvin actually hates them. We don’t have a dog, or a teenager, or anyone else around who would appreciate eating reheated food – so leftovers turn moldy in our fridge and then get tossed into the compost bin. (Thank you, City of Seattle, for making me feel slightly less guilty). Honestly, I think the leftover problem is a major reason why I stopped cooking. No leftovers, less guilt.
Since I’m talking about guilt, I might as well move on to blame. Mom, it’s all your fault!
You see, when I was growing up, Thursdays were leftover night. Mom would empty out the fridge and artfully arrange small, pastel colored Tupperware containers full of odds and ends around the kitchen table. We would smell dinner from the family room and the combination of strong scents would leave us anxious and confused… is that chili? Chicken Cacciatore? Meatloaf? What is for dinner?
Soon enough we’d be called to the table where my sister, brother and I would get to choose from a huge smorgasbord of reheated vegetables, along with some leftover casseroles, a small blob of taco meat, the occasional piece of chicken, and the Thursday standard, cottage cheese. With protein scarce, the table became very competitive. Getting the blob of taco meat was a real score. If my dad happened to be at the table, the game got tougher. Even as a kid I felt like the weird combinations (sauerkraut, spaghetti, cottage cheese, and corn all in the same meal?) were just plain wrong. But, to Mom’s credit, by the end of the meal there was absolutely no food left on the table. Our refrigerator was cleaned out and ready for another week. And to this day nothing, and I mean nothing, gets thrown out of her refrigerator into the compost bin.
Well, tonight it’s just me and I am craving a chicken-pot-pie of all things. It must be the wind and the rain putting me in the mood for comfort food. No frozen Marie Callender’s for me. I’m going to cook a chicken-pot-pie for one, with an herb biscuit top. No leftovers! Can it be done? I will let you know. Hopefully a recipe to follow.