What Else You Can Do with Leftovers

On my way home from Thanksgiving dinner, I walked down Capp Street in the Mission, fully bloated and lightly buzzed from an over abundance of great food, good wine, and a mild case of self-satisfaction over having won two games of Celebrity. I had just spent the past eight hours feasting and laughing with friends. As I turned the corner onto Mission Street, I saw a man sitting on the sidewalk. He stared at me and I stopped in my tracks and stared back for a moment. He didn't ask me for anything and I realized then that I didn't have anything to offer him. No leftovers, just a bagful of dirty dishes and a book of short stories by Saki. The warm, fuzzy glow of the evening I had just spent evaporated and all the casseroles, turkey, and pie turned to cement in my stomach. It was clear that our respective celebrations of the holiday differed. I felt thankful that his experience was not mine and impotent to do anything about improving his. The exchange lasted about three seconds.

If you are reading this, chances are you own a computer and pay for online service, which means that, in all likelihood, you can afford turkey and, if not all, then some of the trimmings. Like me, you probably spent Thanksgiving with friends or family or both, either sitting about a giant dining table stuffing yourselves silly, or milling about a party, drinking and grazing your way through relish trays and pumpkin cheesecakes (Please tell me you didn't spend the day locked in your bedroom, quietly drinking). Whatever the case, the chances are slim to none that all the food was consumed.

What can you do wth the leftovers? Apart from salivate over Madame Laidlaw's ideas from yesterday's post (I am a sucker for a good quesadilla), you might think about donating food to your local food bank, if your feast of plenty was too plentiful.

Of course, most places aren't going to accept a couple of slices of pie or a pile of turkey skin. Most food banks request items that are in some sort of packaging, but I wonder, since there was a shortage of deposits at local food banks this year, according to Maris Lagos of the San Francisco Chronicle. When you are shopping next year, buy an extra thing or two and just give it away-- nearly every grocery store has some sort of food drive happening.

I suppose we should think ahead to next year, not that one need only give on Thanksgiving. If you're saddled with cooking dinner for 20, why not push that number a little higher. Feed an extra person or two. Or twenty. If you are affiliated with a particular church or mosque or temple or glee club for all I care, find out if they are involved in any feeding programs, like Glide Memorial Church, for example.

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If there are organizations that accept cooked food from private homes, I would very much like to know. Why not bake a pie for a total stranger? It's a not-so-random act of kindness.

If you are in the restaurant industry and have a surplus of holiday fare, contact Food Runners in San Francisco, they'll know what to do with your leftovers.

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During this time of year, we're supposed to take time out of our lives to think upon what it is we are grateful for. Last night, among other things, I was grateful I wasn't that guy sitting on the sidewalk on Capp Street. I have promised myself that next year will be different. Not that I will be that guy sitting on the corner, mind you. I've just realized that I actually can do something, which is get up off my lazy, self-involved ass and give something, whether it be time, food, or money. Most likely time or food, since I don't have any money. I suppose it would be unethical to suggest that, while you are giving food and time to those in need, you make large monetary donations to me. I am thankful that I know better than to make that particular request.

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