Once the guys leave Sunday night to “go to work” (a concept with which I’ve grown increasingly unfamiliar), I spend Monday through Friday eating whatever they’ve left behind.  And (hoping they don’t read this post) I have to tell you I live for the peace and quiet of the weekdays — and the amazing leftovers.

Come Sunday morning I start to think . . . will they actually leave that whole half watermelon?  All that pasta salad?  (I try not to eat pasta; but if it’s free? and would otherwise go to waste? how can I resist?)  Sometimes they’ll chow down things I’ve been quietly coveting as they’re packing and on the way out.  But, like as not — three half-eaten açaí bowls in the freezer! — I have enough to last me all week.

And now the confession.  This past Sunday, even by mid-day, I saw there were still two (entirely separate) half sandwiches from the deli on prominent top-shelf refrigerator display.  I never buy sandwiches; I try not to eat bread.

But free?  And seasoned for a couple of days, to let whatever’s inside the paper wrappers get even better, soggy in the best way?

So I began to take what some might call an unnatural interest in those two leftovers, glancing nervously each time someone approached the refrigerator . . . each time relieved to see they had extracted only beer. Beer they can have.

By mid-afternoon, my true nature came to the fore. (Are we not all a blend of good and evil? Generosity and greed?)

I pushed the two half sandwiches back a little and moved a large container of pineapple cranberry juice (seriously? cran-pineapple? who bought that?) in front of the sandwiches, blocking them from view.

It worked.  The first couple of guys left.  Sandwiches still there.

The next couple left.  Still there.

And the next.  (My house on weekends is a little like a Volkswagen filled with clowns except they work at Google.)

Success!  The two-day-old half-sandwiches were still there.

And, yes, it occurred to me in the midst of all this, I was essentially Ronald Reagan in that famous story where he was meeting with heads of state but all he could think about were the donuts at the other end of the table.  He was dying for another, but couldn’t interrupt the President of China.  (They might have been jelly beans, and I have no idea whom he was really meeting with.  A quick Google failed to come up with the actual anecdote.  But this is the gist of it.  It was in his memoir or someone else’s.)  Presidents are human. Well, so am I.  I should have been focused entirely on raising funds for a massive blue turnout next year to save democracy and perhaps humanity itself — but what was inside those beckoning crumpled sandwich wrappers?

After that huge build-up I’m happy to tell you they were tuna salad and bacon — both of them — with mayonnaise and a little lettuce and tomato.  And that even if my fundraising distraction wound up costing us a hair-thin election someplace (because our massive turnout next year, the organizing for which is already under way and needs to be funded now, fell just a few votes short — i.e., we won the White House and took back the Senate but fell just 7 votes short of winning the race for Ohio Secretary of State, say) . . . even then, I have to tell you those sandwiches were worth it.

Later in the week I finished the açaí bowls, the salad, the watermelon, and a whole lot else . . . including a green zucchini I fished out of the garbage thinking it should have gone into the compost bag, but then realizing it was perfectly fine. (Yes, this is true, but not nearly as gross as you think.)  It was firm and fine and I can’t imagine why anyone tossed it; maybe by accident?  So after washing it and contemplating it for a couple of days, I microwaved it for three minutes, applied salt, pepper, and Smart Balance, and . . . mm, mm, good.  Waste not, want not.

John Seiffer: “Thanks for yesterday, on food waste.  I just read this about food labels — How To Tell If Food Is Bad, According To The FDA. You’re on the cutting edge.”

The boys return tomorrow, to restock.



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