There’s an old Miller family recipe--well not that old, we did come up with it when I was a kid--called Garbage Casserole. While the name isn’t all that appealing, I gotta admit the dish is one of my favorites, and the recipe is ridiculously simple.
Take last night’s taco dinner leftovers and layer them in a gratin dish. Pile on the cheese. Heat and eat.
I can make Garbage Casseroles out of almost anything. Leftovers from roasts and poultry can become quickie pot pies. Extra hamburger can become cottage pie. And I have no idea why anyone on god’s green earth would even think of throwing away bacon. I would crumble that stuff on anything.
Maybe it was my solidly blue-collar upbringing--or, let’s be honest, present--that gave me my mind set on leftovers. Waste not, want not. Hell, it’s more than a dish, it’s a philosophy.
I’ll admit, it’s a way of thinking that can get out of hand. My grandmother was hoarder. Not as extreme as some you see on tv, but still, pretty bad. Whole rooms were filled with old clothes and drawers stocked with those little soaps you get in hotels. The shed was packed with crumbling tools that were decades past their usefulness.
I sympathized with her obsession with keeping things. She came from a poor I have a hard time understanding. A rural Upper Michigan during the depression kind of poor. Think Charles Dickens, only less populated.
It makes me sad to think that once she finally go to the point in her life where she did have stuff, she was so plagued by the fear of losing it. On the other hand, it kind of makes me sad to think of those who live in such abundance that they never know how precious those things that they thoughtlessly toss out are.
Maybe that’s why I like the idea of Garbage Casserole so much. You use it all up, but you don’t waste. Yeah, that’s a thought I like a lot.