For some time now it is not uncommon to hear about “Cocina de Aprovechamiento“. If you ask someone on the street the two most expected answers about what it would be: “recipes to make better use of food” and “grandma’s kitchen”. Regardless of how redundant it sounds, the first explanation is what this is about.

At present, this concept of scarcity that was carried out because of wars or low production sounds more and more distant and strange to us in a country like Spain. And yet we are still talking about how to utilize the kitchen…


What is the ‘Leftovers’ Cuisine?


‘Leftovers’ Cuisine is the culinary trend whose technique lies in making the most of each ingredient and each dish. It is the same idea of cooking used in the past given the strong shortage of food and the need to feed on what was available. Nothing was thrown out, and wonderful recipes like chicken croquettes, empanadas or Spanish torrijas were not left out.

The result of this idea has been to take advantage of the little we have instead of wasting tons of food globally, about 1,300 million. Almost nothing is wasted, and  even croquettes and jars of marmalade can be made. Can you imagine?  Speaking of jams however, much of the data that comes from what is produced by waste is produced in the home. Yes, we use the fruit that we buy and forget in the fruit bowl until it mummifies.  It is right here where the ‘Leftovers’ cuisine plays a role: to rescue those remains and prepare the ingredients to make a broth or to revive something in a tupperware that we have perpetually abandoned in the refrigerator.

How to use the ‘Leftovers’ Cuisine for Recipes

For those of you brave ones that want to experience the ‘Leftovers’ cuisine for yourselves, the following is a compilation of practical advice on how to economize your dishes according to the ‘Leftovers’ cuisine philosophy.

Day-Old Hardened Bread: Soups, Meatballs or Spanish Torrijas

A typical conundrum is what to do with bread that turns hard as cement from one day to the next. There are many delicious recipes to take advantage of that bread, from the classic bread and garlic soup to torrijas of a lifetime. Many of these elaborations consist of soaking the bread in water or milk, since what makes it harden is the loss of water. Let’s face it, the poor bread is dehydrated.

Fruit and Vegetables: Marmalade or Freezer?

Usually the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to preserving vegetables is jams and/or jellies. But the truth is that there is life beyond jams, utilizing the freezer as a good ally.  For example, if we buy a lot of fresh seasonal fruit, we can freeze a part of it and use it to make homemade ice cream, smoothies or semi-slush shakes. If we freeze the vegetables already washed and cut, we also get a quick wild card for cooking during the week, and just in time.

Cleaning Fish and Meat: Part by Part

When cutting fillets, we lose many parts of the fish or meat. But many times those parts that we discard can be used to give a special touch to other dishes.The fish bones and the head itself can go from being something we dread to making a delicious fumet for rice or fideuá. In the same way we can take advantage of the bones of the meat and sometimes the skin of the chicken to make a broth to use as a base for other elaborations. Similarly, we can take advantage of leftovers to make delicious croquettes.

If you cook more than necessary, share what you have left over. Let’s suppose that we cannot resist not only buying enough food, but also that we cook enough food in our kitchenette to feed an army. Given this, what better way to take advantage than to invite a couple of friends or family back home to enjoy the evening? In addition, pull out the tupperware of lentils and you’ve got an amazing meal