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Leftovers That Refuse to Die

My secretary and I are compiling a list of leftovers that not only refuse to die, they reproduce. Heading the list is her pasta salad. Out of a pound of macaroni, she fed a family of six for two meals, ate it for lunch every day for three weeks, and at that point still had more pasta salad than she originally made. She eventually buried it in the backyard.

Split-pea soup has a reproduction cycle. So does beef stew.

And I defy you to scoop out the last spoonful of fruit cocktail from a bowl. Every refrigerator in America has two tablespoons of fruit cocktail on a shelf somewhere, and the peach slices and brown bananas keep giving birth to more peach slices and more brown bananas.

Well, I've got a new immortal to add to the list. It's rice soup. It was a package deal, complete with spices and slivered almonds to give it a "nutty" taste.

All I had to do was saute onions in butter and add them to the rice, along with 2 1/2 cups of water. That was a Tuesday night, November 5, of this year.

Well, the water disappeared at the end of an hour and the rice seemed thick, so I added another couple of cups and continued cooking it.

Just before dinner, when I dipped in to serve it, it still seemed thick, so I added some more water.

We had a lot left over.

At lunch the next day, I added some more water to a bowl of it and nuked it in the microwave. Two nights later, I put some of it in the wok with some leftover pork.

When the weekend rolled around, I asked my husband if he wanted a rice sandwich. He said no.

I sent some of it home with the kids and put some in the bird feeders.

Every time I took the lid off the pot, there was still enough left to celebrate a Chinese New Year in Shanghai.

I patched plaster with it, mixed it with mulch and fertilized my roses, and gave myself a facial with it.

I was ready to freeze it last week and perhaps retard this senseless breeding, when it hit me.

I had stumbled upon the answer to one of the greatest dilemmas facing the planet today. I could feed the world on a pound of rice, an onion, a packet of spices and slivered almonds.

People have gotten the Nobel Prize for less.

Think about it. Rice exists in many climates, needs no refrigeration and has no natural enemies. All you do is add water - and water - and - water - and water....

Forever, Erma (December 17, 1991 Column)