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Why leftovers taste better next day

(5 Posts)
Furret Wed 23-Sep-20 08:43:11

Food scientist Charles Spence says flavours develop after a night in the fridge and many dishes benefit from reheating. Maybe not scrambled eggs, though

Name: Leftovers.

Age: One day, generally.

Appearance: A bit like they looked yesterday, although smaller, maybe mushier. They could be spread across different containers.

Taste: Better.

Than? They did yesterday.

That’s just something people say isn’t it, because they – quite rightly – don’t want to waste food or make something else? No, it’s true.

Says who? Says Charles Spence.

The former Viscount Althorp?. Not Charles Spencer, no. Charles Spence, a food scientist and experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford. He has teamed up with Asda in order to better understand the science of leftovers.

And? Spence, a fan of curries –

Currys PC World?. Shut up – and no. Spence says that, if you leave a curry in the fridge overnight, “flavours disperse more evenly. Though a curry may have as many as 20 or 30 different spices, the idea is they should meld together so that no singular element is identifiable in the mix.”

Twenty or 30 different spices?. Spence isn’t getting ready-meal curries from Asda, is he?. I don’t know. That’s not really the point. He also says that the longer meat is in a sauce, the more it will marinate and take on the flavours. “Also, when a curry, spag bol or stew has been bubbling on the stove, collagen from the meat breaks down. When left to rest in the fridge, this will set to a firm jelly … once reheated, the gelatine melts to create a silky texture in the mouth.”

Mmmm, jelly, silky texture … sounds lovely. What about the reheating process, though? Isn’t that overkill?. No, says Spence, who compares the process to triple-cooked chips. “A leftover lasagne is triple-cooked, too – first the slow cooking of the meat (once cooked), followed by a long stretch in the oven (twice cooked), before finally the reheat (triple cooked).”

Yeah, but that’s not going to be the case with, say, scrambled eggs, is it?. Ew, probably not. As part of this important research, Asda also surveyed Britons on which meals taste the best the following day.

And?. Curry, obviously. Also chilli con carne, spag bol, pizza –

Reheating pizza? Everyone knows it’s best served straight from the fridge for breakfast with a hangover. True.

So everyone just needs to cook – or order – the day before, then reheat?. Good plan. But in the meantime …

Do say: “What’s for tea? Same as yesterday. Only better. Because science.”

Don’t say: “Not again!”

Pantglas2 Wed 23-Sep-20 08:55:09

When DD left home I continued cooking dinner for three and ate the third portion for lunch the following day!

Some things (eggs) don’t lend themselves to this of course but most of my repertoire does🍲🍝🍛🥘!

trustgone4sure Wed 23-Sep-20 09:00:21

I cook currys/chilli/bolognese/stews/casseroles and leave them either in the oven or the fridge and eat the day after,and yes they do taste nicer.
The flavours are enhanced for sure.

Lucca Wed 23-Sep-20 09:38:50

They taste better because you don’t have to prepare another meal. Result.

Callistemon Wed 23-Sep-20 10:12:07

I think most home cooks knew that without Charles Spence, food scientist!

The flavours mature.
But why use three words when he can use 1,003?
grin

(Not sure about leftover omelette either)