When it pours with rain on a dark and cold evening, commuters in London go a bit mental.  One night way back in November I had to wait in the cold and wet while 3 full buses sailed past my stop while folks in the bus queue were effing and blinding and waving their fists at the drivers.

The fourth bus stopped and I pondered what to eat when I got home for just about the whole journey.  I was sorely tempted to order a pizza because I was wet and cold and fed up, but instead (and I am proud of myself for this) I made some Yul Broccoli which I had with a little baked potato.

As I was feeling a bit sorry for myself after my rotten journey, I watched two episodes of Murder, She Wrote back to back.  Yul’s broccoli and Jessica Fletcher made me feel 100% better.

This dinner was a little lesson to myself in the joys to be had using up food rather than just buying more.

However, I have decided to spend one day a year not feeling guilty about chucking away food. Only one day out of 365 mind…

This dinner was a lesson learned in the fight against wasting food.  That broccoli had to be eaten, ditto the potato and the cheese had been hanging around in the fridge for a while.  I am a terrible hoarder when it comes to food and I am hereby putting the date of “Throw Out Your Leftovers Day” – Thursday 29th November – in my diary on annual repeat.

This was how my fridge looked on the morning of 29th November – blime! Please bear in mind that I LIVE ALONE!

I spend 364 days a year fretting about when and how I am going to use up all the bits and pieces of leftover thingamabobs in my fridge.  Of course there is Phyllis Diller’s Garbage Soup recipe, and now, Ruta Lee’s “Clean-Out-The-Refrigerator” Salad BUT some things just won’t go in either of these handy ways of using up leftovers…  I herby announce that I shall allow myself one day a year to throw away with abandon.

I got out my Peg Bracken, I Hate To Cook Book and re-read her brilliant chapter about the curse of leftovers before I started excavating the fridge and then set to it!

One of my faves of all books

If you too cannot bear to throw out food and end up with a fridge bursting full of stuff that will eventually go mouldy and be thrown away, here are a few wise words from Peg.

“What is a lady profited if she gains two avocados for one-and-elevenpence instead of one for a shilling if she doesn’t need the second one and so lets it rot away?”

..and a lesson for all of us who keep egg whites when we’ve used the yolk for something and vice versa…

“There are four thousand things you can make and do with an egg white or an egg yolk, all of which call for more cooking and usually result in more leftovers which is what you were trying to get away from in the first place.”

INDEED!  So in 2020, I am going to adopt a Peg Bracken attitude to leftovers and follow her lead, trying not to create too many of them.

Help me be strong Robot Gunslinger!

Yul Brynner’s Sautéed Broccoli

1 bunch of broccoli

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 teaspoon sugar

1 fresh red chilli pepper, or dried chilli pepper to taste

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 clove garlic

1 slice fresh ginger (about 1” across), minced, or ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger

½ cup cooked shredded roast pork (optional)

Separate broccoli into spears; trim off bottom of spears.  Stream broccoli until spears are almost cooked but are still firm.  Set aside.  Mix together soy, sherry, and sugar.  Cut chilli pepper into thin slices and add to liquid; set aside.  Heat oil in wok or heavy skillet.  Saute garlic and ginger for one minute, add broccoli spears, and stir one minute.  Pour sauce over broccoli and stir one minute.  If you wish, garnish with roast pork.  (Serves 4)

Note: I cooked 200g Tenderstem broccoli and halved all the other ingredients and it was just right.  I used about 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chilli flakes this time and that made for super tasty broccoli.  Yum.

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