Joe Pisani (opinion): My campaign for 2022 — “Eat Your Leftovers’

Leftovers

Leftovers

Albany Times Union

My wife came home from the supermarket with some alarming facts. I didn’t bother to check them, but she’s my wife so how could I think of turning her over to the fact-checkers for interrogation?

As she was unpacking the bags, she slammed a package of pork chops on the counter and grumbled, “These three pork chops used to cost $6, and I paid almost $11 for them.”

I urged her to calm down and said it isn’t worth having a stress-induced heart attack over a piece of pork. We shouldn’t be eating red meat anyway. At least that’s what Dr. Oz said before he decided to run for the Senate. If he gets elected, I hope he doesn’t try to tax pork chops.

I try to look on the bright side: Maybe these high prices are the government’s attempt to coerce Americans into a better lifestyle and protect us from the obesity pandemic the same way they’re trying to protect us from the COVID pandemic.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining because this is a good excuse to give up pork and eat more ... ahhh ... oatmeal.

My parents grew up in the Great Depression and ate nothing but fruit, vegetables and macaroni (they were poor so they couldn’t afford “pasta”). Only later did they start scarfing down steak, hot dogs, bacon and cheeseburgers.

Business writers, economists and politicians insist this inflation is a figment of our imagination and that we can afford rising costs because our wages are higher. Unfortunately, retirees have to reach into their savings to get by ... or eat less.

Though our elected officials don’t seem to be doing anything to help the situation, I have a plan. I call it the “Eat your leftovers” campaign.

Let me tell you an ugly secret: I hate leftovers. In fact, I refuse to eat them, at least until my wife threatens me with the wooden spoon, which she inherited from my mother, who used it on us kids. All she had to do was brandish that spoon, and we jumped to attention, although that sort of parenting tactic is frowned upon nowadays.

Our exchange goes like this:

“Please, put that spoon away! It brings back bad memories,” I say to my wife. “I’ll eat that leftover salmon. I promise.” It’s Pavlovian. As a kid, I was trained to fear the spoon.

The only thing worse than the wooden spoon is leftover fish. It tastes 10 times fishier than before, and it smells like red tide in Long Island Sound.

All my life I’ve resisted leftovers. As a kid, I hated liver the first time, and the second time I wrapped it in my napkin when my parents weren’t looking and put it in my pocket or slipped pieces under the table to give the dog, who wouldn’t eat it either.

The only leftovers worth eating were my mother’s veal parmigiana, which improved when the veal soaked in the gravy, and her pot roast which melted in your mouth. That’s it. Leftover pizza comes out as limp as a saturated sponge, and leftover Chinese is chewier than Bazooka bubble gum.

Even our dog won’t eat leftovers. She sniffs at dog food we try to give her again and walks away growling, “Damn, after all I do for these chiselers, they want me to eat that #*%!&*! Won’t do it. I have standards.”

However, eating leftovers is the way to beat the system. I’ve begun eating every leftover known to humankind. I’m eating the potato chip crumbs on the bottom of the bag. I’m eating that banana with a brown spot — I’ll eat the entire brown banana. URRGH YUCK.

I’m eating that can of tuna that expired three weeks ago. I’m also going through the pantry and using a Sharpie to blacken out expiration dates on every package, container and can, so my family doesn’t try to throw anything out.

Expiration dates are just a conspiracy between big government and the food industry to get us to discard perfectly good food and buy more. Big Mother is jacking up the price of groceries, but those overpriced commodities will never get into this house.

I have another idea to solve this crisis. Since the COVID vaccine is free and a lot of Americans refuse to get it, let’s take that money and give it to the rest of us so we can afford pork chops. That’s what progressives would call a redistribution of wealth … or more appropriately, a redistribution of red meat.

Former Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time Editor Joe Pisani can be reached at joefpisani@yahoo.com.