Just out
of curiosity, how long do y’all keep leftover food?  Me, I have a strict three day statute of
limitations for most things.  Sweets get
a little extra time.  Seafood goes out
sooner.  This means, of course, that
after dinner this evening the remaining turkey, etc. went in the trash.

reminded me of an article I read recently about “freegans.”  These are people who do not buy food.  They scavenge it from the trash of
restaurants and grocery stores. 

It’s not
that they can’t afford food.  It’s a
matter of principle.  Freegans argue that
vast amounts of food gets wasted in the
U.S., and I’m sure they are
right.  Did I not just throw away edible
turkey and stuffing?  If only I knew some
freegans, I would’ve called them up and told them to come and get it.

I admit
I’m a little paranoid about food safety. 
I won’t eat anything past its expiration date.  Just the slightest hint of imperfection will
cause me to apply the food safety mantra: when in doubt, throw it out.

In my defense,
my family has been eating Thanksgiving leftovers morning,
noon, and night since T day.  When I offered Little Bit a grilled cheese
sandwich instead, she nearly wept with gratitude.  I know there are hungry people in the
community, but it’s not like I could drive downtown and hand out plates of
four-day-old food.  I’d probably get
arrested by the FDA.

next year we’ll just eat out on Thanksgiving. 
Then it will be someone else’s responsibility to throw away the
remains.  And that’s worth a big tip.  Besides, it might provide a meal for a
freegan.  Anything I can do for the


36 thoughts on “

  1. I’m fairly certain food lasts forever in my fridge. Want a piece of gefilte fish from Yom kippur? Come on over!But the real question is : Why don’t we freeze things like our grandmother’s did?Wouldn’t it have been smarter to freeze most of that stuff til next month when we wouldn’t resent having to eat it?Tonight’s dinner was all dried out from reheating. I threw it out too…

  2. That explains it!  She was a freegan!  Unless you’re bullshitting me.  It was summer and I was looking for parking in the Pearl.  There, peering into a dumpster, was a 30ish-year-old woman with expensive shoes and designer clothes.  I couldn’t figure it out.

  3. I’ve heard of people who exult over their fabulous free food finds, but I didn’t know there was a name for them. I trust most leftovers for a week, and we’ve always been fine.

  4. RYC:  “Intervention Administrator” has the same status as an assistant principal minus the discipline. 
    A big deal in Texas to try and get parents involved in their children’s education.  Title 1 (federal program) includes parental involvement, mostly in the elementary level.  Apparently her school district didn’t and are trying something new, using Title 1 funds.    Special intervention strategies  for those students that are at risk of dropping out of school or failing, etc.  Emphasis on 9th and 10th graders and those ‘new comers’ from other countries, etc.
    Are you in the education system?

  5. The leftovers are the most dreaded thing for me to deal with after a big family dinner!!  I feel guilty for throwing away good food, but YOU CAN’T EAT THE SAME THING FOREVER!!!  As for how long it will keep……..I also consider how long it was out of the fridge after the meal.  No set time……….just common sense judgement, I guess.

  6. I don’t dare keep milk one hour past its expiration date in this house!  At least, knowingly : )
    I try to freeze the stuff we won’t eat soon, pretty much sticking to the 3 day rule, too.
    I think I read that a lot of stores had to prohibit people from having access to their dumpsters because they could get sued if someone ate something and got sick!

  7. leftovers must be eaten w/in 2 days. By the 3rd it goes to the trash or the dogs (depending). I think it’s the fear that I’ll poison everyone if I keep it longer…………. or they’ll poison me because I served the same dish 3+ times in a row 😀

  8. Freegan?  Wow.  Now I’ve heard everything.  It’s great to have principles and I totally agree that too much food goes to waste, but. . . ew.  That’s just gross.  And dangerous. 
    I’m pretty cautious with left-overs too.  Three days is the max, but only if it didn’t sit out at all.  About 5 years ago our whole family got food poisoning from mashed potatoes that sat out a little too long on Thanksgiving, and I will never forget it. 

  9. RYC:  Trust me.  I’m running!
    I freeze most of my leftovers.  Nell won’t touch them at all.  If she won’t eat her whole meal, I pitch it or else I’ll find science projects in the fridge.  Growing up, once a week, was leftover night.  Anything not eaten then was thrown out.

  10. My husband is always trying to pass off old stuff on me (I don’t cook and I try not to ever look in the fridge). He comes from a huge Catholic family. Wastenotwantnot yadda yadda cry me a river lectures all the time. I am very into huge helpings of healthy doubt. Good thing he’s cute otherwise he’d be OUT.
    This year was my turn to do Thanksgiving.  We went to the club. Less than $300 bucks for 18 people. Cheaper than doing it at home. No dishes, no leftovers, no craziness. It was heaven…and I am sure my kids have already forgotten the entire event. Hmmm…

  11. I’m the same way… generally 3 days. Of course, chilli, spaghetti, and spicy foods can keep longer. I also never re-heat food but once. It’s cooked, can be re-heated one time then those leftovers go out. It’s the medium temps where germs grow. Like you said, some things a bit longer and other things a bit shorter. I don’t want to poison the family or myself for that matter to save a few measley food dollars.

  12. OH and I will do free food… There’s plenty of it here from dinners and what have you. I just NEVER get it out of the garbage!! Only from the fridge and with permission!

  13. RTYC – I know what (I think) you mean, I get caught in loops of perseverative emotions and thoughts, and then spend my time pretending to myself it is like a puzzle that needs solving, the thoughts themselves and the thoughts about the thoughts…

  14. I’m either brave or stupid.  I’ve tasted mold once or twice in my life.  I HATE throwing out food.  (Never got sick from it, far as I know.)
    The worst part of this is the risk of poisoning someone else.  But the only person who tries four-day-old leftovers is me, so I don’t worry that much.  Barbara’s not about to take any chances. 
    Don’t get me wrong.  If I DO see or taste mold, or if I’m at all suspicious, out it goes. 

  15. My hubby will eat the turkey day food at least 4 times, so I generally keep it about a week I suppose.    I have gotten to where I try to cook only enough for a few meals.    Of course, the turkey itself is kept for turkey pot pie and the carcass is made into soup.     I figure with the good fridge we have, food is safe for long periods.

  16. 3 days is good… I made turkey enchiladas with the last of our turkey. No one feels like they’re eating leftovers because they’re so different. The bones are in the freezer though. I wasn’t up for making turkey stock yet.  I generally dice and freeze leftover meat like that but sent so much home with guests we had just the right amount for eating up. It’s great to pull out out and use in casseroles or enchiladas or stuff like that though.

  17. 3 days? I keep things forever, I guess. I suppose that I don’t generally have leftover meat in my fridge, which doesn’t last as long, but I make enough vegetarian chili to last us nearly two weeks and it always still tastes delicious by then end. About three days after Thanksgiving, my mother makes what she calls “Turkey Carcass Soup,” where she boils the turkey’s body in water for a day, and then adds the remaining turkey pieces and barley and vegetables and voila! she has a fabulous soup that doesn’t last much longer than a few days, since everyone gobbles it right up.I guess if there’s no mold and it smells right, I’ll eat it, no matter how many days have elapsed. Food has its ways of telling you when it’s time to go.

  18. We got a turkey breast for Thanksgiving this year (a three pounder) and it was gone by Saturday. I will do that again next year! I have never heard of freegans before, but I don’t think I’ll be joining them for dinner anytime soon. 🙂

  19. My mil gets paranoid if the deviled eggs are out of the fridge for longer than 10 minutes…& she’s constantly afraid to leave anything on the counter cuz flies might lay eggs in it!!!!!

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