Nothing Leftover


Eat the good leftovers, the desserts, first.

By Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

I wish you could have seen the look on his face. The moment the check appeared on the table he looked completely confused. We had just finished eating and I couldn’t tell if it was the amount of the bill that was the cause of his surprise or that fact that there was a bill at all..

We had just finished eating a very good meal, if I do say so myself, when I set the bill on the table in front of him tallying up how much it had all cost, including my time to prepare it.

We had been married for about two or three year by this time so he was well aware that I didn’t cook. After all, we had been eating out every meal for the last three years. Literally, it was we who kept open all the restaurants in Birmingham.

But, now, being the long married woman that I was, I was ready to forgo all that fun. I was tired of being waited on, of having whatever I wanted for dinner, of not having to clean the kitchen. I wanted furniture. And, I was informed that as much money as we spent on eating out we could have several homes all fully furnished. I wanted to see for myself exactly how much all of this added up to so I was ready to cook for furniture. That was what led to my leaving a dinner bill on the table. And, I expected a tip.

He played along quite content not to be dining out every meal until one night he sat down and was served a meal of vegetables. He looked at the plate and asked me what was for dinner. I left him the check for a veggie plate. Another time he balked that he didn’t think it was fair for him to have to pay full price for leftovers. That’s when I realized that he didn’t eat leftovers. I did remind him how lucky he was to get such attentive service and and how happy he should be that he wasn’t having to pay for other services.

This little cooking experiment lasted until I had actually saved all the money we needed to buy enough furniture to have a place to sit. And, while it was fun while it lasted, I learned that I didn’t like to cook. I don’t find it fun to cook every night under the pressure of people being hungry and tired and waiting to be fed. I was finished with the experiment and now that we had a kitchen table to eat on and chairs to sit on I was never cooking again.

You learn a lot about a person when you cook for them. And, you learn a lot about yourself, too.

There has been only one time in the history of meals for the last thirty years that B.B. has ever eaten leftovers. One night the last brownie disappeared. The brownie that I had my heart set on eating. When I found out that B.B. had eaten it I promptly reminded him that that brownie was a leftover brownie from dessert the night before. Apparently, that rule does not apply to dessert. So, I always make sure to eat all the dessert I want first, because there will not be any leftover.

I’ve learned who is allergic to walnuts and who hates coconut. I’ve learned that your family thinks you still don’t eat pickles from when you were ten years old even though you have been eating them for the last forty-five years. I’ve learned that everybody has a favorite meal, and a least favorite meal. I usually make them their favorite meal for their birthdays and other special occasions and celebrations. And, I’ve learned not try and change the Christmas breakfast casserole or serve ham instead of turkey for Thanksgiving. It will be remembered and discussed every year for the rest of your life, and even long after you are gone.

So, I am looking forward to our traditional Thanksgiving meal. And, to having all the leftovers I can eat. Too bad I will be too full from eating all the pumpkin pie and chocolate cake first.

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