Old chestnuts contain a kernel of truth.

I know that I’m getting older because I have begun to find value in bromides. That’s why I’ve decided to highlight one every so often, starting today. After all, Ben Franklin made a decent living at it – not that my site is comparable to Poor Richard’s Almanack, for a number of reasons:

  • I don’t use a pen name.
  • I get to write what I want rather than what I think will sell.
  • I’m allowed to curse.
  • I know how to spell “almanac.”

Let me emphasize that an axiom is no substitute for independent thought. If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, pious aphorisms are a way to appear profound when what you’re actually expressing is “Because I said so.”

Why don’t we have a flat-screen TV? “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Why don’t you like my friends? “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

I’m such a nerd! No girl will ever go out with me! “He who laughs last, laughs best. Just ask Bill Gates.”

Okay, so I embroidered that last one a bit. The fact is that a lot of these old chestnuts make you groan when they’re used against you. When you apply them to your own life, they sometimes resonate.

Today’s example: “Hunger is the best sauce.”

Jaded palates

Poor planning meant no breakfast this morning. Instead, I did interviews for my day job until 11:45 a.m. A little bit shaky, I made my way downstairs for what should have been lunch. But my stomach refused to accept a meatloaf sandwich as its first meal of the day. Oatmeal and toast it was, then.

Best. Meal. Ever.

If you’re really hungry, then just about anything will taste good. Really good.

If you’re not really hungry? Then don’t eat! Wait until later, when your stomach is growling. If circumstances prevent you from waiting, then eat what you have and be glad you have it. (Not to use two bromides in one essay.)

Way too many people have jaded palates. They whine that “nothing looks good” in the cupboards or freezer. They turn up their noses at last night’s leftover baked chicken. Next thing you know they’re dialing for delivery or heading to a restaurant.

Which is fine – if you’ve budgeted for it. But to buy prefab eats that you can’t really afford when there’s already food in the house? Not smart.

Nice work, if you can afford it

Paying someone else to bring you food is a wonderful indulgence. For some people it’s the main use of entertainment dollars. If that’s you, and if you can afford it, well, bon appetit.

But if you’re up to your hairline in debt, or trying to meet financial goals? Don’t be so quick to judge leftovers as not worth eating.

No leftovers? Then cook something. Yes, I know you’re tired from working all day. I also know that sites like Cheap Healthy Good offer ultra-fast and ultra-easy ways of creating chow.

I’m not saying that you should never go out to eat. What I am saying is if you’re able to cook, or to use up leftovers, then for heaven’s sake do it. People are starving in Darfur. And in the United States.

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  1. Donna! Thank you for the mention. Incidentally, my brother eats meatloaf for every meal.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Kris: I prefer to think of meatloaf as “blue-collar paté.” 😉

  2. Oh, beloved meatloaf sandwich! The highest and best use of meatloaf.

    I had a friend who could make miracles from leftovers. Never did figure out how she did it, but she could open the fridge, pull out whatever came to hand, and create the most marvelous meals–better than the originals, by far. I think the secret ingredients were onion, garlic, and tomatoes.

    My leftovers tend to taste not like loaves from heaven but like the inside of the refrigerator.


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