Rendered Fat Content


Johannes Moreelse: Heraclitus (1630)
"By Epiphany, we will have somehow survived a second surge of Leftovering here."

Was it really just a week ago when I went to bed with my head filled with visions of an impending Thanksgiving dinner? The Muse and I had trundled out to fetch our fresh bird and returned to The Villa feeling supremely well prepared. The Muse had roasted off that little sugar pumpkin, anticipating some pie-making. We tussled a little over whether we should dry or wet brine the bird, a decision I ceded to The Muse, since she would be cooking. We were both salivating in warm anticipation, but that was then. Heraclitus, the so-called weeping philosopher, reveled in pointing out human foibles. He observed much human behavior that clearly couldn't qualify as rational. He noted that the same thing seems completely different from different perspectives while remaining otherwise precisely the same. He might have been foretelling the story of our Thanksgiving, which did, indeed, come the following morning but left a long, long tail behind. Turkey on day six seems a completely different commodity than it did on day one.

Most mornings, when filling the cats' food dish, I wonder if they might prefer a tad more variety in their diet.
The Muse and I usually switch between meat and fish on a daily basis, seeking variety perhaps most of all. The cats seem to insist upon a predictable sameness to the point where if I deign to dish up difference, they choose to shun rather than revel in it. I delivered two cases of rejected cat food to the cat shelter this week, after both Molly and Max turned up their little cat noses in the presence of it. Us, though, a week into Leftovers, have lost our recently anticipated passion for Thanksgiving. Each meal since has featured something from that single blessed meal and we're sick to the point of no longer even feeling hungry in the face of it. We didn't need to contract Covid-19 to lose our sense of taste. We just needed to subject ourselves to a too-predictable diet for less than a week. Turkey tastes almost precisely the same to me now as does air.

I reflected as I prepped the garbage for collection how we'd bought with anticipation everything in both cans, even the recycling. The Times came each morning, perused issues accumulating on the unused chair beneath the kitchen table until I boxed up a bundle of them for collection. I broke down boxes that just last week I'd found as if treasures on the front porch. This week, emptied of magic, they'd become leftovers, garbage. Everything displayed in the Target® is bound for the dump, sooner or later, most of it sooner. Those crisp new boxers The Muse snagged for me at the Brooks Brothers Outlet, were dated after their first washing. They now reside in regular, mundane rotation. My inner Heraclitus weeps.

There are stages of Leftovering which range from simple reheating to overt disguising and beyond. We passed through the Tetrazzini stage within three days of the original blessed event, Tetrazzini being an Italian word for 'vomit.' It looks downright refreshing, though, after a couple of straightforward warmed-over suppers. A turkey sandwich now seems indistinguishable from bland old peanut butter, even when liberally spread with The Muse's cranberry sauce and mayonnaise, even with a slice of fine Swiss cheese added in the hopes of elevating it. Last night, we finally reached the Risotto stage, which means we're nearing the end of our repetitive ordeal. The Muse had ordered a platinum-plated Italian white truffle, which elevated the otherwise debasement dinner. Wilted leek, chanterelles, Parmesan, and Italian parsley completed the ruse, even though it, too, included turkey and turkey stock in the mix. It seemed somehow orthogonal to Leftovering, and The Muse and I engaged in the first fine dining we'd experienced since the blessed original meal.

A week ago, I was thankful for plenty. Now I reserve my gratitude for an ever-nearing end to the damned Leftovering. I could use a nice piece of fish, marked on the grill, accompanied with anything besides anything even hinting at Leftovering. I've taken to breakfasting on plain oatmeal again, the least ornate meal possible. I ache for ordinary without even a distant hint of sage. I'm considering making croquettes out of that final remaining pan of stuffing as a final act of desperation consuming before most thankfully reentering ordinary times. The cats can revel in the numbing sameness of their every meal while The Muse and I return to a less predictable rotation. I should soak a fresh pot of beans this week, and stock up on everything but poultry. Perhaps some tofu could prove to be a blessing after a bleak long week of nothing but damned Leftovering. Christmas is coming and a new year, too. By Epiphany, we will have somehow survived a second surge of Leftovering here.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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