Fending for dinner: Readers from around the world share their tips

(Illustrations by Katty Huertas/The Washington Post)
(Illustrations by Katty Huertas/The Washington Put up)


A few weeks in the past, I wrote about the concept of fending for dinner, which may vary from as low-effort as tipping the tip of a bag of chips into your mouth to as elaborate as an ample, from-the-fridge charcuterie board. There aren't any actual guidelines to a meal of snacks, besides that it might and infrequently does incorporate leftovers — waste not, need not — and is often fairly satisfying. Possibly it’s a ramification of banchan and bowl of rice, perhaps it’s antipasti, perhaps it’s leftover dal, a crunchy cucumber salad and some tortillas. No matter it's, loads of us make it.

After I wrote about fending, I requested readers what they name it and the way they do it. Tons of wrote in.

Fending for dinner is practical snacking for our times

Seems, loads of us, myself included, name it snacking, and there are a good variety of grazers and fenders. You fend for scraps, you scrounge and also you schlop. There are leftover fiestas and fiesta leftovers, social gathering boards and sloppy bowls.

In keeping with one reader, it’s known as tira within the Philippines, although others use the final time period for snack, merienda. Some Spanish-speaking readers name it pica pica; some name it tapas. Different names for the follow embody nibbling, pick-up meal, alchemy, kitchen sink, deja vu and the enjoyable portmanteau, plannedovers.

Lots of you're foragers, however I appreciated that Jeannine DeWald of Benson, Md., calls her follow “suboptimal foraging,” a nod to her background in wildlife biology.

Le grand aioli is dip for dinner, the French way

Some known as it a smorgasbord, and at the very least one in every of you refers back to the unfold as a “borgasmord,” which appears to acknowledge the combined up nature of the follow. Paula McNaughton of Mississauga, Ontario, turned it right into a verb, smorgasbording: “It’s often lunches on Friday and Saturday when the week’s groceries are dwindling however earlier than the subsequent grocery run takes place. ... This would possibly embody any weekday leftovers, the final egg within the carton, the one carrot within the crisper, the jar of beets behind the fridge, and so forth.

“Smorgasbording is an effective way to forestall meals waste, make extra room within the fridge and spend much less psychological vitality on meal preparation. One other further profit is that for some cause it at all times makes us extra grateful for the abundance that now we have in our lives. Inevitably, any individual at all times makes the remark about how fortunate we're to eat so effectively,” she wrote.

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Certainly, we're fortunate to have sufficient that there's further for scrounging on the times after we can’t be bothered to cook dinner. One other thread that ran via your feedback? How liberating this follow can really feel. It’s an effective way to interrupt out of the dinner-as-chore mentality.

Listed below are a number of extra of your phrases and suggestions for fending for dinner. (Responses are edited for size and readability.)

Pot luck leftovers: A lot of the severe cooking in our home is for Shabbat dinner (Friday evening) and lunch (Saturday midday). Through the week we repurpose what’s left. Friday’s appetizer turns into Sunday’s important course, on Monday that chilly rice from Saturday will get fried up with the lone remaining grilled rooster breast and a few frozen peas and corn. In an excellent week, we're not actually stumped till Wednesday. — Barbara Silverman, Beit Shemesh, Israel

Each man for himself: However after I was a baby my Dad used to cook dinner one dinner per week from odds and ends, with ketchup and Worcestershire sauce added, and known as it Slumgullion! We cherished it, totally different each time. — Janet Badger, Houston

Junk meals and loopy evening: On a Friday evening (at all times Friday) after mother and father have labored all week, everybody gathered within the kitchen for junk meals for dinner. The Loopy half developed, from dancing to oldies, to beginning with dessert or just consuming in entrance of the TV. No matter rocks your boat. We are actually on the second technology of this idea, and in-laws have gotten into the act. It's freedom, and the youngsters and grownups find it irresistible! — Linda Rose, Baltimore

German picnic: From the night in our Munich lodge after we have been too drained to exit to eat; we went to Lidl and acquired what we might for a bed-top picnic in our room. — Jeffrey Shaumeyer, Bowie, Md

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Expending all ammo: All the things that wants ending up comes out of the fridge and will get heated, plated, tucked right into a taco, no matter. Add the suitable condiments, perhaps a handful of nuts or a bit cheese, and it's a meal. And an excellent one. — Jane Conner, Corinth, Vt.

Just a little dab will do ya: My mother used to name it that, and that’s what we nonetheless name it. — Becky Chapman, Orlando.

Smorgasbord (with a system): About as soon as per week, I take all of the disparate leftovers out of the fridge and prepare them into three classes: protein, veggies, carbs. Youngsters can take 1 carb, 1-2 protein, and as a lot veggies as they need. My children love having company over their meal, and it’s one dinner I don’t have to consider whereas additionally emptying the fridge. — Nayela Eager, Alamo, Calif.

This and that: We known as it “this and that” when my children have been younger, as within the apparent “a bit little bit of this and a bit little bit of that.” Everybody cherished it, till the newborn grew sufficiently old to precise her opinion. It wasn’t enjoyable, she insisted, it was simply leftovers! So she acquired a model new PB&J whereas the remainder of us loved our ’90s charcuterie. — Jill Lewis, Norfolk.

Fend for your self: It was the answer after a busy day that didn’t go as deliberate and due to this fact no dinner prepared — or after I thought the pantry and fridge have been getting overly full. I did it simply the opposite evening with my children, who are actually adults and have been visiting. An exquisite household custom! — Nancy Dennis, Dallas

Tapas or aperitivos: My husband and I reside in Spain, so theoretically we might name our fending: having tapas, vamos de tapas. Really, we want to make use of the village time period for a weekly cultural routine: aperitivos! This refers back to the establishment of going to the bar after the Sunday Mass. Aperitivos has naturally unfold to Saturdays when, in the summertime months, the entire village is out having tapas within the afternoon. — Barb Younger y Angel Felipe, Villarejo del Valle, Ávila, Spain.

DYOFT: On nights after we pull from the freezer stock, these are “freezer amnesty” nights. On nights when our leftovers have gotten out of hand and everybody desires one thing totally different, we name that “DYOFT” evening, which suggests “do your individual funky factor” and entails grouping the leftovers into no matter regional delicacies is smart (equivalent to Mexican, Chinese language, American, and so forth). Or not. — Lisa Consani, Sonoma County, Calif.

Pig bucket: I reside in a rural group in New Zealand. There are sometimes home animals equivalent to pigs and hens to feed from the leftover vegetable and meals scraps. In our home, the scraps go right into a bucket known as the pig bucket. Each rural particular person is aware of what that is. So, after we are having leftovers involving no matter is within the fridge and pantry, we name it both “Each Man for Himself Night time” or “Pig Bucket.” — Jill Burton, Taumarunui, New Zealand.

Snack dinner: Cooking for my daughters (4 and a couple of years previous), turned exhausting as a result of a) toddlers and b) pandemic, till I launched Snack Dinner. My oldest daughter cheers when she sees Snack Dinner and requests it as soon as per week. I take a cookie sheet or two, line it with parchment paper (fewer dishes!) and fill it with all method of ins and outs from the fridge and pantry. It’s one of the simplest ways to make use of up random issues, and to current 50 % produce to my kids! Random nubs of cheese or salami, cornichon, olives, no matter backside of the bag crackers have to be cleared out, numerous crudites and berries, leftover steamed asparagus, no matter. Then all of us sit across the desk and simply decide what we wish. The ladies at all times find yourself consuming extra veggies on this format, and it’s so informal and enjoyable! — Alison Clarke-Pentz, Columbia, Md.

Pupus: Aloha! Calling them “pupus” at all times elicits a raised eyebrow or two with our guests, however that’s what it's, and mainly constitutes a full meal. Mahalo for giving us permission to eat this manner (which I do more often than not). — Lucy L. Jones, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Bonus meal, or Gracious dwelling: I'm from North Carolina and since I used to be a baby we known as it “bonus meals” and so they have been loved for the variability. My husband is from England the place the identical idea is known as “gracious dwelling,” [or] “let’s have gracious tonight.” — Debra Swinley, Vancouver Island

Pica pica: Our household used the Spanish time period for it – pica pica! Quite a lot of breads/crackers, cheese, meats, and random leftover fridge gadgets (salads, pastas, meat, no matter) — form of like a dressed down and extra eccentric interpretation of charcuterie. — Silvia Foster-Frau, Washington, D.C.

Consuming the fridge: In our home we name it “Consuming the Fridge!” It’s extra of a progressive dinner the place we put out 3 or 4 issues on small plates usually accompanied by crackers or toasted day-old bread. Once we end that, we ask one another if we're nonetheless hungry. In that case, we return to the fridge and dig out one thing else! — Lisamarie Eldredge, Petaluma, Calif.

Buffet: My mother did this when my brother and I have been children, and it was form of like a buffet. All the things got here out of the fridge and onto the desk, even (or particularly) a meals that not everybody appreciated, or one thing not plentiful sufficient to provide a full portion to every particular person. We’d make an preliminary spherical with our plates after which prime them as much as see how most of the meals gadgets we might eat up utterly. Leopold, the household canine, was typically pressed into service for the final bites. — Jennifer Applegate, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Dab social: You eat “A dab of this and a dab” of that! Sounds significantly better than ‘We've got to eat up all of the leftovers.’ — Dana Bookey, Zurich.

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Combination maxture: I've been doing this so long as I can keep in mind. Rising up with Scottish mother and father, we known as it combination maxture. Most probably it was as a result of my mother didn’t need to cook dinner. I cherished it and nonetheless do it virtually weekly. — Valerie Finlayson, Los Angeles.

Deconstructed dinner: We do that on most Friday nights. It began out as a cheerful hour cheese tray, however over the previous couple of years morphed into one thing perhaps barely extra wholesome and have become a full meal. We throw on some olives, pickles, tomatoes, a number of leftover items of protein from one other meal, a dip of some type. No matter is round and is straightforward to eat with out a fork. Good with a glass of wine, enjoyable on the patio after the week is completed. — Laurie Kline, Richardson, Texas

Hotchee potchee: When my kids have been small, I used to make them a meal of a combination of leftovers which we known as hotchee potchee. — Joan Hollander, New York Metropolis

Son of leftovers, Leftover buffet or Leftovers redux: As money strapped school college students (within the days earlier than microwave ovens), we couldn’t afford to throw something out! Generally there was only a dab, generally there was sufficient for a aspect serving for 2. I assembled a baking sheet stuffed with Pyrex custard cups of related leftovers and popped it within the oven whereas scrounging the chilly leftovers (and generally combining them into some fairly unusual salads). — Andrea Frankel, Nevada Metropolis, Calif.

The ratly feast: For those who’ve ever watched the previous children’ film “Charlotte’s Internet,” there's a rat character named Templeton who goes absolutely crazy at the fair and the smorgasbord of scraps. — Gloria Brokaw, Springfield, Va.

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