GratiTuesday: Leftovers Friends

It was my turn to host my book club last week and, as the host, it was up to me to provide the dinner and drinks. Since it’s hard to estimate how many will ultimately attend (most members still work and, unfortunately, things come up), I like to plan a main dish that can feed from 8 – 12. Casseroles fill the bill nicely, so I made baked ziti – and since I was making one, why not make two and freeze the second one?

After all the planning, shopping and meal prep, it turned out that there were only five of us that evening… and one was on a diet. As a result, not only did I have a planned-for second casserole, half of the first casserole was also uneaten. Fortunately, leftovers are welcomed in our house. Unfortunately, our freezer isn’t overly large, and it was already close to full.

It may not have been pretty… but it was yummy!

Like most people, my husband and I have a variety of types of friends. Some friendships go back a long time, others are relatively new. Some we see regularly, others are mainly Facebook or Christmas card friends. Some are occasion-specific friends, other are willing and able to participate in spontaneous adventures.

Some are friends with whom plans are made in advance, while others are happy to join us when invited over for leftovers.

These are my Leftovers Friends.

This doesn’t mean that Leftovers Friends aren’t also Facebook or Christmas card friends. They could be theater friends as well. They could be friendships from way back, or friendships made recently. What makes Leftovers Friends special is the easy comfort and acceptance they bring to the relationship.

To be sure, Leftovers Friends get invited to pre-planned get-togethers too. But, there is something about them – and the friendship – that looks beyond a less-than-pristine house, doesn’t notice a make-up free face, and doesn’t care that they are eating a meal originally meant for another occasion. The important thing is that they enjoy your company and you enjoy theirs. Throw in a decent meal and a bottle of wine (also left over from the book club meeting) and it’s even better.

I am grateful for all of my friends, but Leftovers Friends are the first I think of when I want company with whom I can relax and be myself completely. They are the ones that don’t always require advanced plans and don’t feel any less loved when invited over to enjoy a reheated meal.

I am grateful when others consider me a Leftovers Friend too.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

61 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Leftovers Friends”

  1. This is a delightful glimpse into your life. We used to live in a smaller town where Leftover Friends were a given, but once we moved here to the big conservative city, those days were gone. I’m happy to know that you’ve got friends like that. How fun.

  2. Oh, yes! Leftovers friends are the best kind of friends. Friends for whom we don’t clean the house (much), and never notice if they’ve cleaned theirs.

  3. We have leftover friends. Often it’s more like “we’re going to our local bistro for a burger in an hour. Wanna join us?” Most times, the answer is yes. Our neighbor (who sadly moved) used to have us over after she had her extended family in for their yearly visit. Good lasagna and fresh garlic bread. The best!

      1. We have one couple I feel comfortable calling on the spur of the moment. No feelings get hurt and sometimes impromptu is best. There are times when I wish someone would call me at 4 to suggest dinner out!

  4. I would be honoured to be considered your “leftover friend” (now that I know the definition).
    Leftovers are always my favourite meal (something about the ingredients having had extra time to get to know each other). And I love casual, no-fuss, no muss. Perhaps I will serve leftovers on November 10 and see how it goes? 🙂

    1. “Extra time to get to know each other” – I like that! Great as far as friends and leftovers are concerned. You could probably consider all of us “Leftovers Friends” at our meet up and serve whatever you want (including beets 🙂 ).

  5. Love your term ‘Leftovers Friends’…excellent choice in words along with your choice in actual friends! HA!
    Along the same lines, when I was baking regularly, I’d often have what I called ‘rejects’. You know, those choco chip cookies that fell apart during transfer from cookie sheet to cooling counter; that 3rd loaf of sourdough bread that browned just a tad too much; etc. Usually rejects were the ones we would eat after we gave the ‘good’ ones away to others – but sometimes, there’d be more rejects than we could manage and I’d pass them on to certain friends who knew they’d taste great no matter their appearance. Translating your term to my realm, I guess they’d be called ‘reject friends’ HA! Too funny, eh?

    1. That’s a great point… “Reject Friends” as well, I imagine, “Leftovers Friends” understand that things aren’t always perfect and there’s no point (not to mention it’s exhausting) to pretend they are. They love us despite – or because of – our flaws.

  6. Whenever I throw a party, I always feel like I need to have another party the next day to eat and drink all the leftovers. I love the idea of leftover friends. May have to try that.

  7. What a great post! I love spontaneity. Unfortunately, most of my spontaneous friends live far away. I need to work on developing MORE “leftover” friends nearby. Great term!

  8. Those are the best friends.. the ones that you can share left overs with, OR just look in the fridge and throw something together at the last minute. No preparation, no stress, no planning ahead. Totally agree. Also, friends are more likely to enjoy the leftovers than I might be.. after all, the second time around its definitely not as interesting as the first taste.


    1. If it’s good, I could probably eat the same thing several nights in a row (I guess that wouldn’t put me in the “foodie” category 🙂 ). Some dishes – maybe especially casseroles – seem to get better over time. I also like the idea of looking in the fridge and putting something together… my husband is really good at that.

  9. Oh, I like the sound of your book group – dinner and wine! Mine is in the local library so a cup of tea and a biscuit / cookie is as good as it gets.

    In our house we rarely have leftovers. It could explain why neither of us is as slim as we would like to be.

    1. Ha! I started to attend a book club at our local library but soon realized it wasn’t for me. I’ve also attended a few book clubs that were all social with hardly any discussion of the book. The one I’m in now seems to be a good mix of social and book-focused.

  10. This is such a “feel good” post. We love planning and preparing a fancy meal for friends, but casual, impromptu gatherings are always the best. We have friends like that, but they are seasonal (snowbirds), so it does not happen as often as we would like.

    1. I think I like the idea of a fancy meal more than I like actually pulling one off… too stressful. My preference is also casual and comfortable. It’s nice that your snowbird friends give you something to look forward to every winter.

  11. That special handful of friends is the best! … and I love your expression ‘leftover friends’. They fall into that class I call ‘Chosen Family’.

  12. Three things, Janis: Wow, you do have a lot of friends! I love the term “Leftovers friends”. And, I totally understand how leftover friends are the best ones, spontaneous and down-to-earth.

    Being in good company and feeling comfortable with each other is the most important thing during a get-together. I am happy for your leftover friends and wouldn’t mind being one or making you one! 🙂

    1. I have not strayed too far from my original home and have lived in my current home for many years, so friends sort of pile up :). I look forward to having you staying close enough over the next few months that we can become Leftovers Friends too!

  13. True story: Back when I was in my twenties and living in DC, I went to a pre-planned get-together at some bar to meet a friend who had out-of-towners visiting. What I didn’t know beforehand was that he was taking them to a show afterwards, but three local friends he also asked to drinks (myself included) were not included. None of us three knew each other. When the big group all got up to leave for their show, us locals stayed at the table and got to know one another. We immediately called each other the “leftovers” and that name stuck for several years. But your version of “leftovers” is nicer. 🙂 – Marty

  14. Janis, what a neat idea. We will eat on baked ziti all week – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now the second one needs your group. Keith

  15. Couldn’t agree more! Left over friends are the best. Almost all my shelter friends are “leftover friends” because we have truly seen each other at our worst…crying over a dog that was euthanized, worried about a dog with special needs, or just frustrated over a situation we couldn’t seem to solve….and we love each other anyway. That is priceless.

    1. I think there a lot of them out there, it just takes a little courage to seek them out (I mean, how comfortable are you asking someone over for leftovers?). If you hear a moment of shocked silence, check them off the list 🙂 If they give you a delighted “YES!” then they are gold!

  16. Love that expression “leftover friends”. Those whom we find we can truly be ourselves around are the very best friends.

  17. We have friends like that…They are the ones who we call with the suggestion of pooling our resources! Your leftover chicken added to the salad I’ll fix. I have Ice Cream if you bring the fruit. And we can top it with a little Grand Marnier. Oh, and always the wine!!!

  18. Hi Janis! This is a wonderful post that points out something really important. Surely we all have plenty of friendly acquaintances, but it is those special (leftovers-type) friends that really, really make life sweet. Thanks for the reminder. ~Kathy

    1. I even have a few friends that I consider good friends but not Leftovers Friends. There’s something special about certain friends that – just by being themselves – allow us to relax completely. They do make life sweet.

  19. Like the best leftovers, your post has been chillin’ in my reader for about a week waiting to be devoured. It was delicious, and so timely with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

  20. Janis, what a great observation. I have moved a lot, and have leftovers friends in almost every place I’ve lived. When I lived in that place, they are the same ones whom I could drop in to see without advance notice if I happened to be in the neighbourhood, the ones where I could knock and walk right in without waiting for someone to come to the door, and the ones whose pans and pans I washed, up to my elbows in greasy dishwater (or vice versa). They are the same ones who always offer a bed or a place to park the camper when we are passing through. Even if I haven’t spoken to one of these friends for months, when we get together, we pick up our conversation just like we had never been apart.


    1. It sounds like you have a lot of great friends… lucky you! I’m going to take a guess that you are exactly that type of friend to them also. I know that you’ve recently moved… you are probably gathering leftovers friends in your new area too.

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