Leftovers: Second Verse, Same as the First

Illustration for article titled Leftovers: Second Verse, Same as the First

It’s Easter Monday, the day of resurrection – of last night’s dinner. In my  ’fridge is evidence of yesterday’s excesses: Quite a bit of leftover ham and the orange marmalade glaze that goes with it; enough potato salad to feed my house and another’s; green beans; homemade dinner rolls and two cheesecakes – one with strawberry topping, one with cherry.


Tonight we’ll have leftovers, and if enough of the cheesecake hasn’t been consumed by the hubby and son – my daughter doesn’t care for it; I care for it too much – I’ll be taking most of what’s left across the street to the neighbor’s. Better on her hips than mine.

I don’t know why I go overboard on holiday cooking. I did about 90 percent of the cooking at Thanksgiving in Ohio, where nearly two dozen were expected. My mother, who’s 78, had injured her foot, and my aunt was suddenly hospitalized. I was in the kitchen from the moment I walked into Mom’s house until after Thanksgiving dinner was served. (When it was time for folks to eat, I just sat on a stool in a corner of the kitchen, sipping a glass of zinfandel and attempting to relax and recuperate.)

Yesterday it was just the four of us, and after dinner I didn’t feel that great. Why did I spend so much time and energy making “traditional” food knowing it’s high-fat, high-calorie content? While it always makes me happy to see my family enjoying what I’ve created, I wasn’t at all happy with my own choices.

As I said, I don’t particularly care for ham, yet there is was on my plate. I thought I had mentally moved past the “eating out of obligation” or “because it’s there” thing. Apparently not. I didn’t have much, but really, I shouldn’t have had any at all. I did fill fully half my plate with green beans. (They were fab, thankyouverymuch.)

As with Thanksgiving and Christmas, by the time I joined my family at the dinner table, I was wiped out. I’d spent hours and hours in the kitchen mixing, kneading, sautéing and chopping. For what? Tradition?

That’s when I decided there’d be some new traditions. That’s when I decided to stop talking about subscribing to Cooking Light and went ahead and subscribed online. It’s just $15 a year on Amazon.


This month, it’s all about revamping current dishes and coming up with new, tasty, light and healthy ones. I probably could have made those cheesecakes with fat-free cream cheese, Splenda and egg whites, or something. Worth a shot.

Guilt is for losers. I never again want to regret anything I’ve eaten.

Onward and upward.

Guilt: The gift that keeps on giving. ~  Erma Bombeck

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.