Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Positively green

The two previous posts here have, accidentally, emphasised the negative aspects to the rationing plan - how it doesn't actually replicate 1940 reality and how I'm effectively skipping three days of the month for my own convenience.

So I should be positive: today, I wished I was already doing the plan, because I've got some great leftovers.

To people born in the 1950s and 1960s, leftovers rarely sound positive. I was born in the 1970s, and my school friends talked disparagingly about leftovers (usually to be had of a Monday night). But I don't have this experience: my mum was (and still is) a chef of the first order and has catered to parties of 1000 and of 2. She knows exactly how much to cook and her leftovers, if she chooses to have any, are re-presented later as brand-new meals that nobody would know were recycled. (This is now in fashion, with at least one serious and one post-modern-lets-take-the-piss-of-a-subject-we-actually-want-to-make-money-from book on the market). Thanks to my mum's very patient teaching and lack of a gag reflex - I'm not a natural in the kitchen in the way she is - I can also spin leftovers into other meals.

On Monday, I made two cottage pie meals; one with real mince, one with faux veggie mince. Both with the same riced potato topping (via Kate and Jon's part-wedding present of a potato ricer, be still my beating heart: Best. Present. Ever). There's no way of making that meal for one sitting, especially in two mutually-exclusive varieties. The leftover pie is then re-served the next day, but is less alluring a second time, so needs something new adding.

This time it was steamed cabbage. Yes, you remember it from childhood and cringe. I don't. My memories of it from childhood is it being cooked barely and briefly until it was bright green, crunchy and tasty but not bitter. I told you my mum was good. A perfect supplement to cottage pie. But a whole cabbage leads to more cabbage than two people can eat.

No matter. The leftover cabbage will be tomorrow's bubble and squeak. But that's not my point here. My point is that I was left with the water the cabbage steamed in: salty water that was bright green. And some gravy that I made from granules that I didn't finish. These will go down the sink.

Except they shouldn't. I paid good money for that gravy. And the cabbage water contains much of the nutrients and almost all of the vitamins of the cabbage itself. I'm not doing it now - and I'm feeling guilty because of it - but when the rationing plan kicks in, leftover steaming water plus leftover gravy plus a few root vegetables... doesn't that just scream "the perfect soup"?

No comments: