How Ina Garten Keeps Leftovers Exciting

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Ina Garten loves a good dinner party. She also loves a good cocktail. But do you know what Garten doesn't love? Leftovers.

New York Times reporter Julia Moskin interviewed Garten about her new cookbook, "Go-To Dinners: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook," at the New York Times Food Festival and during the conversation, Garten shared with Moskin that she isn't a fan of leftover food, saying, "It's never as good. It's never as well seasoned; And I'm bored with it by then."

Garten is likely noticing the "warmed over flavor" phenomenon, which often happens with leftover meats, where the taste suffers from oxygen exposure, per The Spruce Eats. To help curb the bad taste, it's recommended to pop the meats in airtight containers immediately. Warmed over or not, this is not the first time Garten's maligned left overs. She told Al Roker on his podcast, "Cooking Up a Storm," that she is so averse to them, she and her husband Jeffrey don't even bother putting them in the fridge.

Ina Garten's leftover trick

While Garten might not be a fan of leftovers, she's certainly not about to let food go to waste. Instead, she likes to repurpose the remnants of the first meal to make an entirely different meal the following day, which she calls a "two-fer." On Instagram, Garten posted an example of a two-fer, illustrating it with a pic of her Tomato and Eggplant Soup. In the text she explains she planned to repurpose the leftovers for a baked pasta dish with tomatoes and eggplant.

She's also repurposed Thanksgiving leftovers, telling Food & Wine that leftover turkey makes a splendid pot pie. She famously admitted to Bon Appétit that sometimes she and Jeffrey eat Thanksgiving dinner the day before so they can have Thanksgiving sandwiches on Turkey Day, which they pile high with bits of the remaining bird, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

Garten's two-fers are not only tasty, they're also safer. The risk food poisoning increases each time leftovers go in the microwave. Building a second meal is a great way to use up excess food without risking a trip to the ER.