What Makes the Best Leftovers?

When I was in school, I didn’t think of restaurant food as a one-off meal. I always tried to order dishes that could be used in the future because, like most college students, I was a little poor. Many factors affect the ability of a particular dish to be food in the future.

There is of course the serving size, but you should also think about the serving temperature. Some foods are great to heat up, some are delicious cold, and some are just not very good after the first serving (sushi). I’ve (obviously) thought about this a lot; some of my favorite food leftovers include:

  • Pizza: Pizza is the king of leftovers. It’s pretty easy to reheat – just heat it in a skillet with a little olive oil – but it’s not necessary. Cold pizza is a great breakfast and I don’t take criticism from it.
  • Pasta: Microwaving fettuccine or spaghetti with a little water is all it takes to revive the leftover pasta, but again, I don’t hate them cold.
  • Steak: I almost never reheat a steak. Instead, I cut it into thin slices, sprinkle with red onion and cool cheese on top, and drizzle with super acidic vinaigrette for a delicious cold salad.
  • Fried rice: This was a college meal. Not only do you get a lot of food, but you can also accumulate leftovers from what you have in your fridge, or add a fried egg for extra protein.
  • Fried Chicken: You can’t bring fried chicken – or actually anything fried – back to its crunchy splendor, but I’ll be scared if it doesn’t make the best cold chicken sandwich. It’s also great in the wee hours of the morning by the light of the refrigerator.

French fries obviously don’t deserve to be on this list. While I’ve seen some arguments for chopping them up and turning them into homemade fries, it takes a lot of oil and still has that distinct flavor of chips left over. Sandwiches, if not pressed, are also not so good the next day.

What do you think makes leftovers the best? What makes the worst? What do you like to reheat and what is the best thing after a night in the fridge? Also, have you found a use for the leftover fries, and what happens at all?


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