What Makes The Best Leftovers?

What Makes The Best Leftovers?

When I was in school, I didn’t think of restaurant food in terms of single meals. I always tried to order dishes I could stretch into future meals because, like most university students, I was a little poor. The ability of any given dish to be a future meal has a lot of factors.

There’s portion size, of course, but you also have to think about serving temperature. Some foods reheat great, some are delicious when consumed cold, and some are just not very good after the initial serving (sushi). I have (obviously) thought a lot about this. Some of my favourite leftovers include:

  • Pizza: Pizza is the king of leftovers. It’s pretty easy to reheat — just warm it in a frying pan with a little olive oil — but you don’t need to. Cold pizza is a perfect breakfast, and I will accept no criticism of it.
  • Pasta: Popping your fettuccine or spaghetti in the microwave with a little water is all it takes to revitalise leftover pasta but, once again, I don’t hate it cold.
  • Steak: I almost never reheat steak. Instead, I slice it thinly, top it with some red onion and a funky cheese, and drizzle it with a super acidic vinaigrette for a delicious cold salad.
  • Fried rice: This was a go-to in university. Not only do you get a lot of food, but you can bulk up the leftovers with whatever you have lying around in your fridge, or add a fried egg for extra protein.
  • Fried chicken: There is no restoring fried chicken — or fried anything really — to it’s former, crispy glory, but I’ll be danged if it doesn’t make the best cold chicken sandwich. It’s also great in the wee hours of the morning, consumed by the light of the fridge.

French fries, obviously, do not deserve to be on this list. Though I have seen some arguments for chopping them up and making them into a home fries situation, it requires a lot of oil, and they still have that distinct leftover fry flavour. Sandwiches, unless they are pressed, also don’t do so well the next day.

What, in your opinion, makes the best leftovers? What makes the worst? What do you like to reheat, and what tastes best after a night in the fridge? Also, have you found a use for leftover fries, and are leftover fries even a thing that happens?

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