Why Leftovers Always Taste so Good

Why is it that leftovers always taste good? Sometimes, they even taste better than the meal. During the holidays, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how they almost enjoy the leftovers more than the actual meals. In fact, I think some people do enjoy holiday leftovers more. Here are a few of my thoughts on the topic.

With the pandemic restrictions easing up the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to have a (social-distanced, outdoor, and small) gathering every weekend. Usually we plan some kind of potluck lunch. Every time, I’ve had leftovers. Each time I go to eat them, two important things are happening.

  1. I have an easy, tasty meal. Preparation time is minimal. There’s the added bonus that I might be eating something delicious that somebody else took time to prepare.
  2. The happy outing memories are “baked” into the food. It’s almost as though I can recreate the fun conversation, laughs, and joy from eating the same foods again.

Even before Covid and all the lockdowns and restrictions destroyed social gatherings, I was always a fan of leftovers. This could be because I grew up making and eating a lot of Italian food. Everybody knows Italian food is better when it’s been slow cooked, heated up, and marinated in its own delicious saucy-goodness for a while. Another reason is because I was big on bringing my own lunch to work, when I used to commute. Leftovers provided me with something quick and easy to prep in the morning, or the night before (see no. 1 above). To me this was a more nutritious and less-expensive option than grabbing something from the food court. I would also add, that when I worked downtown, I got food poisoning more than once from eating in the food courts. Another great reason to bring my own food, where I could be confident of the quality and handling practices.

I do know a few (crazy) people that refuse to eat leftovers, but they’re definitely in the minority. I can recall a few times this happened to me. One time I made a large spaghetti squash. I ate it for days and days, hoping it would get moldy so I could toss it without guilt. Eventually, I choked it all down by mixing it with other leftovers.

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