Across the Cutting Board

Waste Not! The Tradition of Leftovers

DC Central Kitchen
DC Central Kitchen

My grandparents taught me never to waste food. Raised in the Great Depression and ushered into adulthood through World War II, food shortages and rationings were ingrained somewhere deep within them. As food became more plentiful, their habits of conservation never changed, and by the time I was a pitter-pattering little nuisance, what I most looked forward to when visiting them was the fridge full of leftovers, the well-preserved remains of the previous day’s feasting. I lived for cold slices of roast beef sopped with day-old juices at two in the afternoon, picking with reckless abandon at congealed masses of macaroni and sour pickles shoved lazily into Ziploc bags. Every piece of food in my grandparent’s house tasted better to me the day after we ate it as dinner. As such, my favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, the patron saint of leftover-producing meals.

“At Thanksgiving, we produce many times the amount of food we need,” says Ris Lacoste, chef and local food advocate. “That plentiful feast, brimming with the harvest’s bounty, is meant to provide a continuous meal of endless duration.”

The history of Thanksgiving is complicated and somewhat controversial—and it’s been seared in the old Hollywood light of Quaker Oats pilgrims and happy, unfettered Indians—but its basic roots lie in traditional European and Native American festivals, held after the harvest cycle to give thanks for a good harvest and rejoice as a community after so many difficult months working the land. It is a holiday where we can break our rules of moderation for an evening, overindulge and get swallowed up by the bounty of the season.

“Thanksgiving Dinner is truly my favorite savory meal,” she says. “It’s certainly not the easiest meal to pull off, but it’s an event of pure experience and orchestration. My mother was a pro. And she, before all else, enjoyed the leftovers—and deservedly so. She made the best potpie for late night snacks after dinner, and for lunch the next day she made us all stuffin’ sandwiches, griddled like a grilled cheese, with turkey, her French Canadian pork stuffing and cranberry sauce. There is nothing like it!”

A sandwich is, of course, an obvious and delicious solution to dealing with Turkey Day leftovers, Ris says. “But you’re really sitting on the precipice of endless possibilities. As seasonal foods go, what you see on the table is what grows together in the fields. They were tailor-made for each other. You can recombine them in almost any way and it will be a success.”

As a chef might, Ris has an array of special leftover tricks up her sleeves. Sweet potato-marshmallow or turkey croquettes are recent creations, served with a cranberry “dipping” sauce (i.e. leftover cranberry sauce). “And I bet green bean and onion casserole would make a handy croquette as well,” she says, “bound with some of those leftover mashed potatoes.”

Turkey chow mein is also a household favorite of Ris’. “And then there are turkey tacos with cranberry and lime, jalapeňo cream and ancho-orange sweet potatoes. Turkey hash, turkey chili with sweet potato, peas and pearl onions, turkey and bread salad—a great way to deal with leftover bread.”

But all Thanksgiving leftovers begin with turkey stock, she says. “And it’s so simple! Pick the carcass clean, cover it with water in a stockpot and add loosely chopped onions, carrots, celery, thyme, sage, parsley, bay leaf and peppercorns. While you’re doing the dishes, bring the stock to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, skim on occasion and just let it cook until the vegetables are soft and the carcass appears to have rendered all of its flavor into the stock. From there, you can store it in baggies in your freezer and pull it out when you want to make potpie, soup or anything else later on down the road.”

Ris can write a formal recipe as well as any professional epicure, but in situations like this it’s thrilling to just sit back and listen as the inspiration rolls off the tip of her tongue. Once on the topic of leftover meals, she began rattling a stream of culinary concoctions, making them up as she went along, and it was everything my pen could do to keep up. How many teaspoons of rosemary or tablespoons of butter was the last thing on either of our minds.

“And that can sometimes be the joy of cooking,” Ris says. “In the restaurant, I need to have consistency with every dish, making sure that the lamb shank comes out true to the recipe every time. But cooking at home, I can just make something delicious. It might never be made again, but if it’s really good, the memory will exist forever.”

Thanksgiving is the most genuine holiday, Ris believes. “It is the least cluttered by commercialism—it’s all about food, family and thanks. Pausing to say thanks is something we do not do often enough and acknowledging those who haven’t been as fortunate as ourselves is part of that pause.”

For over two decades Ris has worked with DC Central Kitchen, contributing her culinary wisdom to help feed and educate the less fortunate. “Food is what I know,” she says. “It’s what I do, and it’s what I am. I love working with DC Central Kitchen because it allows me to give back in the way I know how—through food and cooking.”

DC Central Kitchen turns donated food, leftover food into millions of meals for thousands of at-risk members of our community, while offering nationally recognized culinary job training to once homeless and at-risk individuals. They recycle 3,000 pounds of food each day, converting individual donations into 4,500 meals that they distribute to around 100 shelters, transitional homes and rehabilitation clinics throughout the District. They also provide counseling services to the chronically homeless, and employ graduates from their culinary program in the kitchen’s full-service catering company, or place them in jobs at restaurants and hotels.

I accompanied Ris on a visit to DC Central Kitchen where local chefs and members of Les Dames d’Escoffier gathered to host cooking classes with the kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program’s 86th class. The students came in to observe and get exposure to new ingredients and techniques from local restaurant chefs, and all were ready to jump in front of the stovetops and give the techniques a try.

Ris and I walked around the kitchen during a downbeat, peaking into the pantries and refrigerators. “During my time off I came here every Thursday,” she said. “I would organize the pantry and make 50 gallons of some protein or salad with the miscellaneous cans and jars donated to the kitchen. We used all of it, these odds and ends—from crackers to canned corn to butterscotch sauce—and turned it into really great quality food. I always felt better when I left than when I arrived.”

The spirit of giving, of making something from nothing, of leftovers, was wafting in the air like firewood on a chilly evening. At the end of the day, a feast was had by all the chefs, students, staff and volunteers of DC Central Kitchen: papaya salad, Irish soda bread, lentil soup with citrus, chicken stir-fry with lo mein noodles and sautéed green beans. It was like an international food fair.

But it ultimately comes back to the kitchen, and the art of cooking without wasting. “Just like your grandparents or my mother,” said Ris, “DC Central Kitchen is making beautiful and nourishing meals without wasting a drop. But this kitchen is more than just leftovers—it’s real cooking. What they are able to accomplish humbles me.”

For Ris, this is the soul of Thanksgiving. “Be thankful for what you have, and for what is at your table,” she says. “And don’t forget to do what you can to give back to your community.”

For more information on DC Central Kitchen and their culinary training program, donating and volunteering opportunities, and catering services, visit

As a Christmas present from Ris, we want to answer your culinary questions for our next column. Questions on cooking techniques, recipes, cookbook recommendations, or epicurean gift ideas? We want to hear! Email your questions to and look for our answers in The Georgetowner’s December 14th issue. Happy Cooking!

Mar 1, 2014 at 10:44 PM jecycjtrry

christian louboutin outlet online But no matter how it's made or out of what, suede always has its characteristic velvety feel... christian louboutin outlet To give suede and nubuck their velvety feel, fibers are lifted up from the hide.. christian louboutin outlet online.

christian louboutin discount Short or long, it's these fibers that give the leather its characteristic nap.. christian louboutin sale The fibers themselves can be loosened in a number of ways.. christian louboutin outlet.

Mar 1, 2014 at 10:57 PM jecyfffdry

basketball shoe stores We wear number of unique things and we buy them with great attention.. basketball shoe stores If your clothes are giving you the sense of looking good and they are fit properly then the purpose of wearing the best things has fulfilled.. kids basketball shoes.

cheap nike air max 2013 In the same situation if we talk about fashion boots, they should have been adequate.. adidas basketball shoes You should feel good and they will give you the sense of something new and being in fashion.. kobe bryant basketball shoes.

Mar 2, 2014 at 7:11 AM eerscjtrry

mcm backpack After use, cleaning the dirt off the leather surface gently with a soft brush.. mcm bags If they are wet, dry them off and stuff them with dry newspaper to help absorb any moisture and help them keep their shape while they are drying.. mcm bag.

mcm handbags You'd better clean your leather high heel shoes every 2-3 days to keep them always in good condition... mcm handbags Up to now, nothing is difficult, right? Now let me introduce some maintenance tips that take a little bit more effort or assistance from a professional.. mcm bags.

Mar 3, 2014 at 9:47 PM jecyfffdry

cheap lebron basketball shoes Bags such as straw baskets and cane purses will be subject to Quarrantine Leather bags will not need to handbag at work, while meeting clients or meeting with friends.. lebron basketball shoes Wholesale Handbags and Purses - Affordable and Fashionable beats by dre prix Women of name Tignanello is starting to sound familiar in the fashion world.. cheap air max 95.

cheap lebron james basketball shoes After the edges of the pieces have been smoothed, they need brands that you can trust and are trusted by millions of handbag wearers... discount jordan basketball shoes Have you ever been fascinated by the luxurious effect of high fashion designer handbags? What designer brands do you know and which among these bags do you love most? At some point in every woman's life, there may be a time or two when these cravings for luxurious designer bags drive them to save a lot in order to buy one.. nike air max 90.

Mar 4, 2014 at 1:26 AM jecycjtrry

christian louboutin outlet store Further helping customers make the most of their holiday budgets, the Sears Price Match Plus Policy matches competitors' advertised prices on the same items, plus gives customers 10 percent of the difference.. christian louboutin cheap Additionally, if an item purchased from Sears goes on sale within 14 days of purchase, customers will receive a refund of the difference... christian louboutin discount.

christian louboutin discount shoes The morning light cascades off the blue corridor, illuminating the glowing stars at the premises of Children of the World, India (CWI), a public charitable organisation just off Puducherry.. christian louboutin red bottoms As we enter it, a cheerful Great Dane bounds up to us and settles down for a good patting.. christian louboutin wedding shoes.

Mar 4, 2014 at 7:30 AM carpinteyropxo

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:56 AM eerscjtrry

mcm small backpack Leaving one piece to himself, he devoted the other 12 pieces to the twelve Olympians in Olympus.. mcm credit collections So since long before, Hermes became the god which many thieves adored.. mcm discount code.

mcm shoes for sale When he came back to the cave, he killed one big tortoise, and made a Tres with the turtle shell.. saks mcm Afterwards, he sent this Tres to Apollo for the compensation for the 50 Nandies... how much are mcm bags.

Mar 4, 2014 at 8:14 PM låna pengar

Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog!
We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
Your blog provided us useful information to work on.

You have done a wonderful job!

Mar 5, 2014 at 7:01 AM jecycjtrry

christian louboutin wikipedia Call Center agents, who deal with customers all day, must be good listeners.. christian louboutin shoe box Beach Quarters Resort is one of the best.. christian louboutin race.

christian louboutin altadama This summer, beat the heat and relax amidst the serenity of nature! Book Manali Holiday Package for your next holiday and gather some amazing memories.. christian louboutin heels sale Manali is beautiful .. christian louboutin blue wedding shoes.

Mar 8, 2014 at 10:57 AM jdferjtrry

mulberry continental purse Luxury handbag designers often add elaborate hardware, studs, zippers, tassels, and of Handbags The history of the handbags can be dated back to the 14th century.. mulberry bayswater bag Possibly the most obvious difference is that the authentic ones have the proper CC logo wholesale handicraft, ladies handbags, fashion jewelry and beats by dre uk Beaded Jewelry export unit... mulberry backpack.

black mulberry Buying from official sources will always give you the guarantee that you are purchasing an material would suit the given design, the best- design and material used should match or else it would take away the charm of your handbag.. mulberry style bag After this article is published, many will go on and a discount because they have been out for some time.. mulberry handbags ebay.

Mar 8, 2014 at 11:03 AM jecycjtrry

asics basketball shoes It is a place with a blend of old-timers, university students, ferals, goths, same-sex couples and those keen on alternate lifestyles... nike air max 90 grey Handbag maker Leo Monk has made a colourful impression on Newtown.. air max 13.

cheap nike basketball shoes for men He creates his fashion handbags from Italian leather in distinctive multi-panels in a mix of colours and textures.. air max 1s He creates limited ranges of designer bags from 25 to 50 a week in his workshop at the back of the shop.. orange nike air max.

Mar 9, 2014 at 8:02 AM eerscjtrry

mcm belts We only sell first quality branded men's shoes.. mcm designer handbags At the Ugly Shoe, you have the option to buy casual shoes, boots, boat shoes, dress shoes, fashion shoes, Mens Slip on Shoes, sandals, work shoes and many more styles.. mcm bag price.

navy mcm Browse through our online catalogue to get a fair idea of our collection.. mcm accessories You will find many great options to choose from... mcm bags wiki.

Mar 10, 2014 at 9:16 AM jecycjtrry

christian louboutin meatpacking However, there is a 1 - 3 inch insole built inside the shoe that increases your height instantly... christian louboutin nordstroms If you are looking for a gift to give a Hello Kitty fan, you have come to the right place.. glitter christian louboutin shoes.

christian louboutin heel We have selected the best in Hello Kitty latest fashion styles of handbags, satchels, purses, and totes with coordinating wallets in a wide variety of designs and styles to suit the taste of any and every Hello Kitty fan.. christian louboutin wedges on sale In this week's Tokyo Fashion News Swarovski and Hello Kitty recently collaborated for the first time and a House of Hello Kitty event was held at Omotesando Hills.. christian louboutin dresses.

Mar 10, 2014 at 11:26 PM eerscjtrry

what is mcm clothing You can order your choice in a few clicks while inside the comfort of the home or office.. replica mcm Internet vendors can offer you an endless options of gifts that may get a woman happy.. mcm briefcase.

mcm bags for cheap From, fashion bags, monogrammed handbags, personalized backpacks, monogrammed tote bags and in many cases customized bags for the kids, for men as well as for other people who will always be while travelling... mcm handbags 2011 Together with the creation of the world-wide-web, finding and getting gifts for females became easier, fast and convenient.. mcm company.

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:39 PM jecyfffdry

jordan shoes retro So, even if you're planning to group up one of one's every day dress with these designer shoes, make sure to appeal to an all spherical appreciation from all... discount air jordan shoes Footwear are highly mechanical within the process of making or breaking any dressing fashion.. air jordan shoes cheap.

jordan shoes 2012 And no one of us would actually want his or her respective fashion to go as being a flop.. cheap jordan kids shoes And ladies are especially much more delicate with these issues related to styling than their male counterparts.. new jordan shoes for girls.

Mar 15, 2014 at 5:42 AM jecyfffdry

jordan shoes for women cheap Flat and Horse riding boots are becoming more popular and women love them because of chic, cool and sexy looks.. grape shoes jordans You can combine a simple T-shirt and jeans with leather knee high boots and create a trendy style of your choice.. baby girl jordans shoes.

customizable jordan shoes The boots may be purchased in fabric or faux leather boots depending on the designs.. air jordan crib shoes Buying a riding boots or a knee-high boots is like an investment and you can use them for any season... jordan shoes girls.

Mar 15, 2014 at 6:07 AM jecycjtrry

christian louboutin men store Most women usually buy signature or branded accoutrements instead of branded clothes.. christian louboutin used These humans accept that accoutrements can endure a lifetime clashing their clothes.. christian louboutin studded flats.

where to find christian louboutin on sale Therefore became apparently the a lot of basic add-ons of ladies.. christian louboutin store Due to this developing need, online bead shippers can accomplish the a lot of of college profits in quantity.. blue christian louboutin shoes.

Mar 15, 2014 at 1:46 PM jdferjtrry

mulberry mens wallet Platforms Strap up and get ready to walk on the moon.. mulberry fruit Actually, the moon is the only good place to wear platforms.. mulberry terminal 5.

mulberry bags on sale These shoes have poor shock absorption, thus every step you take radiates up through your back.. emma hill mulberry You may experience knee, hip, and lower back pain.. mulberry outlet stores.

Mar 17, 2014 at 2:18 AM jecycjtrry

discount authentic christian louboutin shoes Highlights include a shoe from the 17th century worn by Mary Queen of Scots; Martha Washington slippers; and General David Petraeus military boot... christian louboutin look alike shoes Also, Mary Jane pumps worn by Jane Krakowski in the Broadway production of Hotel, leather shoes worn by Mel Gibson in Patriot, and the red fuzzy pumps worn by Molly Shannon in Grinch.. authentic christian louboutin.

christian louboutin mens sneakers for sale Shoes from China for bound feet; dancing shoes from the Dominican Republic used to perform the Merengue; beaded moccasins of the Plains Indians; wooden shoes from Holland; and sandals from Egypt... amazon christian louboutin shoes A survey of some of the 20th century most innovative shoe designers is featured in the exhibition, including I.. red bottom christian louboutin.

Mar 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM jecyfffdry

michel jordan shoes And this is especially true when it comes to their shoes.. jordans basketball shoes Boys, especially, grow faster than girls.. jordan shoes 8.

customize your own jordans shoes online And by the time your child has reached 5, their 4-year old shoes would be too small for them.. jordan shoes 2013 release dates Of course, buying a new pair is easy, and with the Internet, it can be less of a hassle and less of an expense.. pictures of jordans shoes.

Mar 20, 2014 at 2:32 PM heubo


Mar 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM carpinteyrofhw

锘縒omen kd shoes at foot locker just canWomen just can閹?get enough of handbags or clothes. Well for us men, it閹?shoes. We are crazy kd shoes black and white for shoes! Whether it is athletic shoes or oxford shoes, we would love kd shoes black to kd shoes cheap have lots of kd shoes cost pairs in our wardrobes. Based on experience, us guys can go out of and shop for the best men閹?shoes in town regardless of the price And why not?.Women just canWomen just can閹?get enough of handbags or clothes. Well for us men, it閹?shoes. kd shoes for girls We are cNike KD VI NSW Lifestylerazy Nike KD V 5for shoes! Whether it is athletic shoes or oxford shoes, we kd shoes grade school would love to have lots of kd shoes high tops pairs in our wardrobes. Based on experience, us guys can go out of and shop for the best men閹?shoes in town regardless of the price And why not?.

Mar 30, 2014 at 7:09 AM hebre

锘縈ost women own more than one type of handbag. The type of bag a woman uses often depends on what activity she is going to be doing. Another factor in what she decides to use is how well it matches her outfit. If you are the type of woman who likes to use stylish bags that match your outfits you will like the Michael Kors tote bags.These bags are not designed in the classic beach bag tote style, but come in very stylish and trendy designs. The structured leather tote by this designer has a simple style that is perfect for the business woman. The outer surface is made of genuine leather and has a stamped silver emblem with the designer's signature. This particular bag comes with rolled handles and side pockets that are secured with a buckle and strap fastener.The Michael Kors tote bags are also available in slouchy styles made of soft leather with strap style handles. The bag in python gold leather is both roomy and elegant in design and would be the perfect on the go tote for any woman who loves to shop. The bags in the Darrington collection have a trendier design with silver accented buckles and straps running all along the front surface. The silver accents look especially stunning when used on a black surface. These items also have side pockets that come with zippered closures.You can also choose bags to use during certain times of the year. Many women who follow fashion trends will use lighter colored bags during the spring and summer and darker shades for the fall and winter. The Tonne Brand Belts bag by Michael Kors is a stylish item made with a summery white leather. This particular Brand Jewelry item has rounded rope handles and a shoulder strap so you can carry it two different ways.The Skorpios collection of totes by this designer takes a different approach to closing the top. This uniquely styled smaller tote has a gathered or drawstring top that creates an interesting texture for the entire piece. The rolled handles are accented with metal clasps in silver and gold. This bag is available in several colors including black, white and a metallic gold.The Michael Kors tote bags also come with inside pockets designed to hold cell phones and key rings Brand Underwear or Brand Jewelry fobs to help keep your keys within easy reach. Whether you are planning a trip to the store or to the office, there is a style of bag that will hold all of your items, while making you look good as well.

Post New Comment

Comments which are spam, off-topic, abusive, or use excessive foul language will be deleted.
No HTML markup is allowed. URLs will be turned into links automatically. 3000 character limit.

If you want a small picture next to your comments, get a gravatar.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:15:35 -0400

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest Georgetowner updates.