Full Circle: Leftover laments

Published 10:13 am Friday, December 11, 2015

Oh, m’gosh! Just looked in my refridge. Talk about unrest! With Christmas coming, every shelf is still sagging with food from Thanksgiving dinner; food that used to look good; food I was once proud of. But, like last week’s bad blind date, it’s all gone south.

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served our family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found,” Calvin Trillin once said.

Like Calvin’s mom I, too, lament my leftovers. Thus, I’ve invented some creative ways to use them. (Note: these do not apply to folks who have already thrown their entire leftover inventory into a large pot and cooked it into something. Something snarky and mysterious. Something that has no name!)

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Alright, let’s begin. Walk to refridgerator. Open door. Stand and stare. Be honest! Do you see anything that has lost its glamour, its appeal, its zing? Do not despair. My decidedly dubious, doubtful and even debatable discoveries are here to comfort and assist you!

Cranberry sauce: Cram into doughnut shaped mold with emulsifier such as starch or cement. Bingo! A lovely Christmas wreath! May be hung with or without mold. Or use intact cranberries for pop bead necklaces or to create textured 3-D polka dot fabric.

Turkey grease: Apply to squeaky door hinges or to soften cracked boots. Warning: may attract neighborhood dogs to front door, boots … or both! For animal lovers only.

Green bean casserole: Now solidified, cut into 3” thick rectangles for garden pavers. Lumps provide anti-slip safety feature, while greens blend perfectly with nature. In 2020, expect large crop of mushrooms. Sell to Campbell Soup Company.

Crescent rolls: Spray on festive holiday paint. Glue on spangles or sesame seeds. Pair with ugly Christmas sweater. Avoid wearing near bird feeders or small rodents.

Turkey leg bones: Ideal door stops for large doors. Measure end of dry hip bones. Gouge out exact same depression in drywall. Insert. Not recommended for pet doors. Dimensions are just wrong and Fido will consume new door stop.

Pumpkin pie: Organic facial. Generously smear on face. Lie back on sofa with glass of wine and enjoy one hour of HGTV. Do not allow treatment to go longer than sixty minutes — equal to time it takes two couples to redecorate two condos. Any second over is guaranteed to permanently orange-tint cheeks, chin and forehead … and fingertips.

Turkey stuffing: Most versatile of all Thanksgiving leftovers. Caution: avoid looking closely as holds record for most unattractive food on Planet Earth. Being a myriad of beiges, stuffing blends in with every décor. Take your Allied Waste garbage can, cut in half, press dressing in tightly eliminating any air pockets. Leave overnight. Next morning — voila! A new hassock that will harmonize with virtually any colored La-Z-Boy recliner or lawn chair. May also be used as boat anchor or federal highway lamp base.

Gizzards: Lacking beauty, a transformed gizzard can be gorgeous and useful! Hand stitch rows of multi-colored lace (use JoAnn coupon to purchase) and spread open. A very, very small coin purse. Not recommended for the wealthy; best used by the penurious. If dried: an ideal hockey puck, zipper pull, pendant or fishing weight.

Livers: Potentially lovely and versatile! 1. Varnish until rigid. Install as attractive kitchen cabinet knobs. As this is a long term project, must collect livers for as many holidays as you have kitchen cupboards. 2. Liver broach. On the heavy side, best worn on sturdy winter woolens as opposed to summery chiffon blouses. Further enhancement: add photo of loved one. Varnish over with second coat. 3. Chop liver finely and mail to ex-spouse. Postal charge — $3.22. Affordable and charming way to say how you really feel.

Butter: Freeze till August. Donate to Princess Kay of the Milky Way sculpture.

Mashed potatoes: 1. Mix with leftover gravy. Roll into tube shapes. Dry for 24 hours. Lincoln Logs! (In household with dogs or cats, abandon this idea. Canaries and gold fish, however, are okay.) 2. Garden gnome. Borrow small neighbor boy. Slather him with mashed potatoes from head to toe. Leave for two hours in front of video of Sponge Bob Square Pants. (Hair dryer may expedite process if tape is under 120 minutes.) Crack dried cast in half. Remove small neighbor boy. Glue two halves together with organic-friendly Elmers. Paint. A garden gnome that looks exactly like your small neighbor boy! 4. Auction off for large sum to his mother and/or adoring grandmothers.

Black olives: Fill with peanut butter and grains. Hang from trees. If pitted, just eat.

Turkey tail: 1. Pin cushion. 2. Shoulder pads. 3. Falsies, though be aware pin feathers can cause itching. Note: for either shoulder pads or falsies, you must ask for tail donation from generous neighbor as pairs are required. 3. Covered with pink or blue flowered flannel, ideal pillow for tiny premature baby. 4. Good substitute for beanbag.

Over-salted or nutty dishes: Ice melt.

Bubbly drinks: May assist in unclogging arteries of arteriosclerosis patients. Best to consume before Thanksgiving meal as Thanksgiving meal is suspected — okay, guaranteed! — to create arteriosclerosis!

Turkey neck: Most unspeakable part of turkey anatomy! I admit to being bereft of helpful suggestions as am unable to even touch it. Would suggest donning rubber gloves and jamming it into garbage disposal, but should check first with Sears Appliance Center. Additionally, may instill a love of anatomical study in all ages. Hold contest — Who Can Find Turkey’s Adam’s Apple? (Prize: one gizzard broach with winner’s photo.)

Aluminum foil: No brainer. Cut foil into thin strips. Hang from Christmas tree or Menorah. Hint: first wash off unattractive adhered turkey skin.

Place cards: Study ferociously. Divide in two piles of “wants” and “unwants.” Toss out “unwants” as you never want to see those people around your holiday table again. Use moral fiber and clout as pile may include blood relatives … you know the ones!

Wishbone: Dip into mixture of moist potting soil, compost and LePage’s glue. Tamp on grass clippings and leftover whole cranberries. Hang from ceiling with bright red ribbon. Mistletoe! Kiss someone — but only if he or she — or it! — is in your “wants” pile.

Turkey carcass: What was God thinking? Its nakedness is such a repugnance! Against the laws of nature, a carcass leaves only one hope of salvation. Spray with green paint. Wrap extra long string of multi-colored LED lights around rib cage. Place large angel (or star) in neck cavity. Prop up on rump end atop table or fireplace mantel as bogus, but admittedly, short Christmas tree. (Keep pets in car until after holidays.) If paint fails to adhere or carcass refuses to stand, throw whole skeletal mess in remaining half of Allied Waste can. Say prayer of thanks that tradition calls for turkey, not cow!

So, have I covered everything? No, wait! There’s one more turkey part. But, if truth be told I haven’t yet completely worked out this idea. Still, if only I could somehow incorporate it into my front door bell, how festive it would be! Imagine my guests ringing the bell and instead of hearing “ding dong,“ I’d hear “gobble gobble!”

Peggy Keener of Austin is the author of “Potato In A Rice Bowl,” which outlines her experiences living in Japan in the 1960s while her husband was in the military. Peggy Keener invites readers to share their memories with her by emailing pggyknr@yahoo.com. Memories shared with Keener may be shared or referenced in subsequent editions of “Full Circle.”