The term leftover takes a bad rap in our society. But that’s because we have options to disparage valuable used materials in favor of new. With fewer options, you make other choices.
While running a Folklife program for a federal agency, one of my staffers gave me a gift made by Indonesian youth. It was a sort of lobster made from egg crates and other bits and pieces. It scuttled around realistically when manipulated with a string. Next year I found some neat little autos made from cut-up bits of soda cans.
After my federal job went south, I learned first hand the need for using leftovers. As a woodcarver with a very marginal business, wood was my most considerable expense. I found a local mill that produced large amounts of cherry, oak, and maple flooring and paneling. They sold their “shorts” – pieces too short for their use but too long for scrap. They also gave the waste away as firewood. Their waste-stream fed directly into my product stream.
A favorite dish in our house is my wife’s Shepard’s Pie. It has a crusty covering of biscuit. Beneath the biscuit is the filling made from leftover dishes we’ve had that week. It’s forever variable, filling, and always a culinary opportunity to enjoy.
So the problem isn’t with the material; it’s with the mindset. The leftover is the opportunity.
7 Replies to “Opportunity”
Ooh, what’s in the biscuit topping? We Brits only ever make shepherd’s pie with a potato topping.
We’ve used the potato topping too. But my wife prefers a baking soda biscuit topping. She does not share the specifics with me, but I know that there is some sort of special add-in that gets it to the correct crustiness.
I like your thinking – leftover is an opportunity – such an easy shift in thinking!
I agree 100%, leftovers are always opportunities. I reuse materials in wood and leatherwork as much as possible, since high quality wood and leather are both relatively expensive.
I definitely agree! We have an elderly gent here who takes wood scraps and glues strips together to make cutting boards and beautiful big bowls. Thanks for sharing.
Waste not, want not! Most leftover things can have a use, it’s just a matter of realising what that might be!
Yes, reuse and repurpose!
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