Like most people, I have a few recipes I make all the time. Topping the list of my most frequently cooked meals are turkey meat loaf, frittata with linguine and spinach, and baked scallops. Even though my husband knows the meat loaf will be followed by pizza with meat loaf and artichokes, I think it’s nice to tell him what I’m up to in the menu-planning department. Of course, I don’t drape a towel over my arm and say, “I’m Jean and would like to tell you about today’s special,” but I do have something of a routine.
I make the first announcement at breakfast, when he invariably says he can’t think about dinner in the middle of Wheaties and banana. As the day goes on and the menu changes, I give updates. It’s worked pretty well until recently when he heard the word “leftover” once too often and decided there should be a better way to describe day-old meat loaf and microwaved omelet. And this has led to a marathon of conversation about what he refers to as “recycling food.”
Unlike car dealers who have done a pretty good job changing their image by substituting “preowned” for “used,” I’m having a hard time letting go of “leftover.” So far, I’ve been able to come up with “encore,” “second-act,” and “reruns.” Just yesterday, our blue-plate special was pizza with homestyle meat loaf, and tonight we’re dining on risotto and scallops deja vu. As soon as that fish hits the table I know he’ll recognize it, but the risotto is from-scratch, which should take some of the sting out of the scallops.
—By Jean Kressy