We have a leftover rule in our house. It came about early on in our relationship when Jordan ate leftovers I had from a Thai dinner the night before. By the time I was ready for lunch at noon, they were gone. His credo was that anything I don’t eat by 11:30, a valid lunchtime in his mind, was fair game. We bartered back and forth on the time. I thought mid-afternoon was more appropriate since I sometimes eat late lunches. He was not willing to wait past noon.
I don’t usually put a time limit on leftovers. The sight of them comforts me and it’s almost more satisfying to know they’re there waiting for me to consume them at just the moment I crave them.
Jordan, on the other hand, sees all food in the fridge as fair game. In fact, I might even say that most men see all food as fair game.
My brother, for example, spent several weeks eyeing a Reece’s Easter treat that his wife had set aside in the fridge. Dave had already eaten his, on Easter, when it first appeared in the house. Karla was saving hers for a later day—for just the right moment. Perhaps it would be a reward for a long night of studying or just the treat she’d need after a long day at law school. She knew it was there but after several weeks of neglect, Dave was sure she’d forgotten about it. Every time he opened the fridge, it mocked him. Every day she didn’t eat it was an invitation for him to partake. He decided to take action. He carefully hid the Reece’s treat in the back of the fridge, behind milk containers and lunchmeat. He thought that if it were out of sight, it would be out of Karla’s mind. If she didn’t ask about it, he figured that she would not realize it was gone. She didn’t ask about it, so after seven days of waiting, wondering, checking up on his hidden treat, he took his reward. And it was glorious.
That night, when Karla got home, she asked him where her Reece’s peanut butter egg had gone.
Jordan isn’t apologetic when it comes to leftovers. After the first incident he made it clear that he views leftovers as fair game. If I want to stake claim to something, I need to state my case. And even then, if I don’t eat it in what Jordan deems an appropriate amount of time he will polish it off for me.
Cold pizza is one of those things that I stake claim to. I declared this the first time we had leftover pizza and told Jordan that it holds true for all the times we eat pizza. Still, when I am the sole owner of a leftover piece of pizza, I know it calls to him. It’s the first thing he sees before he even opens the refrigerator door. He looks for it, to see if it’s still there. So when I wrapped up my last slice of pizza in tinfoil and put it in the fridge recently, I knew I had to be quick about eating it the next day or I’d miss out. But at noon, the slice was still there. It was still there at one, and it was still there for the rest of the afternoon. I was surprised, but happy that Jordan seemed to be honoring the fact that the slice was legitimately mine. If he hadn’t eaten it by now, he must really be OK with saving it for me. I took comfort in knowing I could eat it in a leisurely manner—come back to it when it would most satisfy me.
The next morning, that time had still not come. I figured I’d start with something healthy and reward myself with a mid-morning cold pizza snack. I reached for the eggs, which were right next to the slice of pizza. That’s when I accidentally bumped the piece of tinfoil. It moved easily; it was not dense like a piece of tinfoil would be that housed a slice of pizza. I picked it up only to find there was nothing inside. Jordan had not respectfully left my pizza for me like I had thought. He had eaten the piece of pizza and then carefully folded the tinfoil back into the shape of a triangle and put it back in the fridge.
His defense: “I wanted to give you hope … and comfort in the fact that it was still there for you.”