Growing up, I hated to hear that dinner was going to be leftovers. I mean, yuck. I wanted something hot, fresh and new not a buffet of things I didn’t eat that much of the first time around. And I know I’m not alone in these thoughts. But maybe it’s because we’ve had the wrong perspective and maybe even naivety about it.

Since being at h.e.a.r.t. I have been made more aware of the hunger issues that devastate our world. People are going to bed hungry every night in every country around the world. The crazy part is that it isn’t because the world doesn’t produce enough food to feed everyone. In fact, some sources say that only a quarter of the globally wasted food is enough to satisfy the hunger worldwide. So we are producing more than we need and wasting it while people go hungry. Because of this I’m sure you’ve heard something along the lines of, “Are you not gonna eat that? You know there’s starving kids in Africa that would love to have it.” The truth is, you could say almost any place and that sentence would be true.

The problem isn’t the quantity of food around the world, it’s the distribution.

With all that being said I won’t stand on my soapbox any longer. There is website after website addressing, arguing, debating, and trying to solve this issue. My main point for the day is this: leftovers can be delicious and should be used rather than simply thrown in the trash because you avoided eating it long enough that it went bad.

Here at h.e.a.r.t. we have a “tradition.” Meals are prepared Monday through Friday three times a day. Some meals we end up cooking way more than we need or people just simply weren’t super hungry. So we end up with leftovers. In fact, we have an entire fridge/freezer dedicated to leftovers. When Friday lunch comes around I prepare what I like to call “Lunch Lady Leftover Soup.” I go to the fridge and look at what we have left from the week. It can be a combination of anything: soups, bean salads, stir-fry, rice, casserole, etc. I pick a few or all the leftover meals, grab a pot, start combining, and at the end of it all we have a “new” meal made from all leftovers. Sure, sometimes I have to add seasonings or some pasta and it almost always looks like prison food, but it usually ends up being one of the favorite meals of the week. This is one small way that we try to combat food waste.

If there is something I have learned in my time of being in the kitchen it’s that you can do anything with soup.

So I challenge you to the leftover soup task.

Either have on hand some chicken/beef/vegetable stock, make some with meats or veggies earlier in the week, or keep some chicken bouillon on hand. With that you can combine anything you want and have something hot, fresh, and new all out of leftovers.

Post by Ashley Carter

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