Loaves, Fishes, and Ten Ways with Leftovers
In the Christian gospel account of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes we can learn something of the value of frugality. Jesus, the incarnate God become man, Creator of the Universe in Christian theology, recognizes the hunger of a massive crowd of people who have followed him out of town to hear Him speak. Moved with compassion, he tells his disciples to feed the people. They can only come up with five loaves of barley bread (food of the poorest of the poor) and two small fish. In the gospel account we read that Jesus took them, prayed over them, and the apostles began to pass them out to the crowd, and here is the first of two miracle of the loaves and the fishes. The Creator become man created abundance where there was none, where there had been only five small loaves of barley bread and two small fishes.
Here is an interesting thing. This is the creator. He could make five loaves of bread feed thousands. Presumably there was plenty more where that came from. And yet, when it was all over, he had his disciples gather the fragments and report to him how much was left. We are not told what he did with those 'fragments (there were bushels full), but I doubt he just threw them all away. Perhaps He gave them to the boy who donated the original five loaves and pair of fish. Some historians I have read suggest that linguistically, the implication is the boy was a poor boy who sold those loaves and fishes for a living. Perhaps He donated them to the crowd. We only know that He gathered the fragments, though they cost Him nothing.
Frugal householders also learn how to 'gather the fragments,' re-purpose, reuse, and redesign what they have. They are not profligate with the small things because they know bad habits over small things lead to larger worries, because they wish to be good stewards of what they have, not wastrels, careless of their blessings. With that in mind, here are ten items from the kitchen and several ways to reuse them, the gather the fragments and distribute them again in new settings:
- The last bit of jam or preserves in the jar: Add milk, put the lid back on the jar, and shake firmly, loosening up the jam. Let one of the children drink this, or use it as the liquid for muffins or quickbread. To get even more of the jam loose, either warm up the milk, or use hot water instead. Drink it, use it as liquid in muffins or quickbread, use as liquid for oatmeal or cream of wheat, or for gelatin.
- Leftover Oatmeal: Make these oatmeal muffins, a vintage recipe from my great-grandmother's collection. Substitute water for the milk, or use some jam/water from the ab
- Leftover Rice: make this rice salad using leftover cooked rice, or make a maindish turkey (or any other poultry) and rice salad.
- Leftovers in general: Make a Wise Woman Pot Pie
- Leftover spaghetti or other long, thin noodles:Noodle fritters. We have made these with ramen noodles, with leftover cooked spaghetti, vermicelli, and even fettuccine noodles. Adjust the seasonings to your family's preferences. Mmmm, delicious.
- The pickle juice left in the jar after you've eaten all the pickles: Slice carrots into sticks and put them in the jar, returning it to the fridge. Give them a day or two to absorb the flavor, and then you have a crisp, piquant, side vegetable for your lunches. Leave the carrots in the jar until you've used them all. You can also use the juice in place of the vinegar in home-made mayonnaise or turnip slaw.
- Stale bread? Half a dozen uses for it here.
- Mashed Potatoes: the topping on Shepherd's Pie, or use in Refrigerator Bread
- Leftover Corned Beef- because after all, St. Patrick's Day is coming up, and you will be having corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, yes? I have several suggestions for using leftovers from the traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner here.
- Tortillas: This 'Mexican stir-fry' is a fantastic and delicious way to use up the last couple of tortillas in the bag, even the ones with the dried or crumbling edges because somebody didn't seal the bag before returning the tortillas to the refrigerator. It's also a good way to make two tortillas serve four or five people. It's really yummy.
What are some of the unique ways you 'gather the fragments?'