Leftovers

My kindred spirit is my mum. They say women eventually turn into their mothers and I bet that’s not far from the truth. Every now and then I catch myself mid-way through a ‘classic mum’ facial expression or imitating her disparaging noise, the vocal version of an eye-roll, which I seem to have perfected over the 25 years of knowing her.

She’s always the person I go to for advice and she’s always there willing to listen and offer opinions. We lend each other clothes and shoes, enjoy TV dramas together – or, at least, I instructed her to watch Sherlock and War and Peace so I had an excuse to watch them again – and I’ve inherited her pasty pale skin and bad memory.

Above all, of course, is our enjoyment of eating. Greed, although a quality that naturally disregards gender, tends to appear predominantly in women, I find. My general response to, ‘Are you hungry?’ is, ‘I can always eat’ which conveniently deviates the question and ensures I will receive food no matter what. Although I love cooking, convenience is the clincher when it comes to lunch time. My mum is known to hover at the open fridge, gazing desperately at the vegetable drawer, the eggs, and the jars of various pickled items my dad keeps, before closing it in frustration, looking around the kitchen aimlessly for another minute before opening the fridge door again. There’s a simple but unobtainable desire for ready-made and delicious food just waiting to be eaten, surely it’s not too much to ask?

This is why my mum and I are such fans of leftovers. Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, if we have leftovers from a takeaway, dinner from the night before, remainders of a barbecue from the weekend, we will pile our plates high with it straight from the fridge. At least warm it up first, you might say, but that defeats the pure enjoyment of leftovers, I reply. It’s not a meal disguised as another, no, my friend, this is an amalgamation of treats, or ‘an eating adventure’ some may say – chicken in creamy Korma, chilled stir fried aubergine, cold pizza dipped in mayonnaise, a plastic tub full of cold paella, just inhaled then and there at the fridge door.

Nothing is better than leftover curry. It is these words that make my mum say, ‘You really are my daughter.’ Hopefully, there had been no doubt before this.

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