Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stuff 'n Nonsense


“What’s for dinner?” Rachel calls to me through the window.

“Stuff ‘n Nonsense,” I reply.

A wide grin spreads across her face.

“Hey Lydia,” she runs off excitedly, “We’re having Stuff ‘n Nonsense for dinner! Yippee!!”

Yep, that’s one of the favorite meals around here because it invites every member of the family to peruse and choose their dining experience according to the odds and ends plus bits and pieces from previous meals.

You may call this “leftovers” but I found that term made my lips curl as I said it and caused more noses to turn up than mouths. After all, “left”over connotes that somebody “left” it and probably for a good reason. (Oh wait, that voice from childhood has piped up again!) My mom tried calling them “plan”overs but that didn’t work either.

One day in a fit of perkiness on my part, to counteract whininess on my child’s part as they beseeched me for a hint about dinner (a task for which I had zero ideas and even less energy to put forth in the creation of such), I popped off with “Stuff ‘n Nonsense.” Mouth agape, the young one stuttered out a plea for explanation, to which I threw open the fridge door and invited them into my lair. The eyes of a child can find all kinds of adventure in the hallowed recesses of a food chiller. Hmmmmm … ooooh … *clank* … shove … reach … aaaaaah ... With a bit of teamwork we hunted down a delicious array of “Stuff ‘n Nonsense” and transformed a dull meal into an epicurean adventure.

Now, despite the fact that these food items have been stockpiled from a former dining experience and may constitute a portion less than adequate for more than one person, we assemble an eye-appealing array of this and that atop serving platters and in fetching little bowls that just cry out to be sampled. “Presentation is everything,” according to Martha Stewart and never more so than with the wholesome and still palatable dregs from the fridge. Candles, cloth napkins, and charming music make for a thrifty buffet everyone will enjoy.

I once watched my mother-in-law cut up dinner’s remaining bread+spread (a concoction my arteries don’t want to remember), a few uneaten bar-cookies from dessert, and other assorted finger-foods that the group hadn’t consumed. She attractively arranged these leavings on a tray and set it in the middle of the table as we carried on an after-dinner conversation. I queried why she offered more food directly after we had finished eating and she replied sweetly, “There isn’t enough to make another meal, so if I cut this all up into little pieces and place it in the middle of the table it will disappear.” She proved to be a magician as the assembly of eaters, who could in no way have maintained hunger after her filling meal, proceeded to nibble and sample until the platter winked starkly from the center of the table. My mother-in-law smiled, retreated to the kitchen to wash the platter, and left me with a tidbit of wisdom regarding hospitality.

Hmmmm … I wonder what would happen if I dropped little bits of unfolded laundry onto the middle of the table next time we are all sitting around gabbing after dinner? Just a little bit more stuff 'n nonsense -- or should I say "fluff 'n nonsense"? ; )

15 comments:

Flea said...

I like your leftover term. Here it's just "fend for yourself". :)

LadiesoftheHouse said...

Oh your Mother in law is wise--very wise indeed. If you don't mind I think I will use her little ploy in my own abode...

Becky said...

LOL. Only you could make leftovers sound absolutely delectable. Still... not sure that would fly in this house... I would open the fridge only to hear a four part chorus of "can we go to Micledonalds"

Kathryn said...

That is just pure marketing genius! Genius, I tell you! I love it!

Kathy said...

You are so clever! I love that idea, but everyone here already gobbles up previous meal offerings with no complaints. Jerry and I have declared an old cowboy cook's rule, anyone complaining about vittles, gets to be cook the next day. No exceptions. It works ;-)

Virginia said...

Guess why we having for Friday dinner. “Stuff ‘n Nonsense.”
Thank you for the great idea, Love your post.
Blessings, Virginia

Karen said...

Stuff and Nonsense is a vital part of the week. But I tend to call it what Flea does.

Leah said...

Lovely! I think this might just appeal to my little girl. And by the way, this post made me hungry...

noble pig said...

That's a great idea! I am sooooo going to try this. What a smart woman.

I'm going to call it Bits & Pieces.

Karen Deborah said...

Great post, but I am in even bigger awe that there is ANYTHING ever left over!

farmlady said...

This is just a wonderful post, Debbie. I really like your idea and it's a much nicer way to say "leftovers".
I really get a kick out of your mother-in-law...,and your idea with the laundry is just hysterical.

freddie said...

I loved this post. May I have some too???

ciao from Tivoli
freddie

imbeingheldhostage said...

That's genius. I am now calling our previously rejected food "stuff and nonsense". You have a winner here (and your MIL? Brilliant).

Elizabeth said...

How Cute, you made me smile! :)

Janette said...

My grandmother also used to cut up what was left and leave it on the table with conversation. She claimed that those who ate like birds while chatting- never gained weight and those houses that put everything away in storage paved the way to children who hoarded.... interesting thoughts.