I was fortunate to be able to host my in-laws for Thanksgiving again this year. Because it was going to be a small gathering – just 8 of us – we tried not to overplan or over-cook. We didn’t enjoy ‘the big meal’ until evening, around 5:30. We needed to work around some third shift schedules and such.
We roasted the turkey and had dressing, cranberry relish, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts for sides. My sister-in-law brought a veggie tray and salad with all kinds of fixings. My in-laws brought homemade bread, rum cake, and apple pie. I had also made a pumpkin pie and cookies.
I was quite disappointed with the meal – the parts that I was in charge of – the turkey and sides. Nothing tasted special or good enough. It was just food. Nothing special.
But, as is customary, we ate leftovers for the next couple of days. The exact same food – reheated. All of it smashed together on a plate. And other than adding some salt – which most of the dishes did need – there was nothing else done to prep the food for reheating.
And, you know what, the leftovers were great. I mean really good food! It didn’t seem like leftovers and I wasn’t disappointed that I was eating them over and over again.
At first, I couldn’t figure it out. How had this same food tasted so boring and really bad on Thanksgiving day?
My only explanation is that I was already stuffed when we sat down to eat. We had a light lunch, but had snacked around all day in anticipation for the big meal. I wasn’t a bit hungry when I sat down to eat. As a result, the food tasted bad. I didn’t need it. I’m not sure I even wanted it.
But, the next two days, when I wasn’t cooking because we were having leftovers. I was hungry. The food was great.
Here’s what I learned: food only tastes good when I’m hungry; and more importantly, it tastes bad when I’m already stuffed.