I tossed what was left after a couple days

I tossed what was left after a couple days
                        

I wish I had some life-changing suggestions for using up that turkey sitting in your freezer, but you’ll get no help from me there. Using some of my brains, I tossed whatever was left after a couple of days, never letting it get as far as the freezer.

I know from experience it would go in there without the slightest chance of it seeing the light of day again, and it would just take up space until it had enough ice crystals obscuring the contents to justify throwing it out with no guilt.

It’s best, probably before the Saturday after Thanksgiving even arrives, to just say something like, “Father, forgive me for this shameful waste, amen,” and pitch the leftovers in the trash, guilt free.

There. Now you’ve freed up space for keeping the vodka ice cold through Christmas.

And forget about the mental note to buy a smaller bird and make less food next year. None of us, no matter how much brains we employ, is able to stifle the instinct to make lots of food, just in case Patton drops by unexpectedly with the whole Third Army in tow.

You just never know, and it’s best to be safe, rather than face the horror of running out of dressing with someone still sniffing the table for more.

Common sense says you should make enough for the people you know will be there, double it for each teenage boy expected and stop there. But there’s something in our primordial brain that won’t allow for common sense, and we end up freezing food in a pretend game of frugality.

Maybe we should designate the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Toss It Day or at least Take Some To The Recently Divorced Neighbor Guy Then Toss It Day.

I joke about this, but there are simple rules to follow. Obviously any leftovers from the big meal should have been frozen by now and should have been by the Monday after at the very latest.

Leftover meat, like turkey, which has begun to go south, will look and smell off, telling you to stay away. But this is kind of risky as the build-up of bacteria, enough to make for a foul smell signal, is already past the safety point.

Leftover dressing will do you no such warning favors. It can smell, look and taste just fine and still be beyond the point of safe reconsumption.

If you save the leftovers and have kept everything separated with each item in a separate, tightly sealed bag or container and you’ve labeled and dated everything so you know exactly how old it is, then you should be OK to pull some out for a snack for the next three months or so. It might be fine for longer than that, but it will surely take on an unwanted “this has been frozen since the Carter administration” flavor.

All this will hold true for your Christmas leftovers and the left-behind food from all the little gatherings in between. It’s the season of parties and probably wine.

Whatever you do, don’t try to save stuff you forgot in the dining room but found at 3 a.m. after everyone went home. Think of words like “congealed” and “moist” to aid you in throwing such things out immediately.

I’m happy to help you stay safe this holiday season, my friend. Now let the cooking fun begin.


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