When it comes to leftovers, Baton Rouge’s Susanne Duplantis wants you to think outside the Tupperware.
Her blog, MakeoverMyLeftover.com, “where leftovers come to renew themselves,” offers tips for reusing leftovers in new meals.
Duplantis is a self-taught chef.
“My culinary background began on a step stool in my MeMaw’s kitchen,” she said, adding she’s always enjoyed creating new recipes and menus.
She spent 22 years in the food business as a restaurant manager, and saw a lot of food waste.
“At the restaurant, I would sometimes offer people boxed food items and be told, ‘no thanks,’ ” she said.
Even some of her closest friends told her they did not eat leftovers.
At the restaurant, Duplantis worked 50- to 70- hour weeks, and her disdain for food waste was something she only had time to think about.
Until last fall. Three days before her 44th birthday, she suffered a stroke.
“It was a shock. I went from running around all day to immediately doing nothing. I had to halt, stop,” she said.
Her recovery included successful rehabilitation of her body, but her mind was restless. And she desperately missed cooking.
“I knew I couldn’t do what I used to do, but I was going stir-crazy,” she explained.
A good friend suggested she start a blog.
Armed with her degree in health education and time on her hands, Duplantis now had the opportunity to devote attention to something she’d always wanted to do something about. And she was back cooking again.
Her website contains blog tips for re-creating new recipes. No exact measurements are given or detailed directions. “Don’t waste those few remaining onion rings,” reads one tip. “Take them home! Put them in food processor to make crumbs. Crumble over fresh broccoli tossed with a little olive oil. Bake in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes or until tender.”
Food waste is also getting national attention.
“Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story” is an award-winning documentary. The story follows two filmmakers as they explored the amount of food wasted every day. For six months, the couple ate only discarded food or what friends and family served.
“The new statistic given on the documentary was that 15 to 25 percent of all food we’re buying is wasted,” Duplantis said.
“So many times, food is wasted because there isn’t enough time to prepare what we have purchased,” she said. Her blog is not quite a year old, but she already has amassed 1,155 Facebook followers and over a dozen subscribers.
“I was very new to technology, and have been learning things and making improvements as I go along,” she said. She recently purchased a new camera to help make her food photographs look better.
Duplantis said she was going to give the project a year to see if she would continue the blog but found she has enjoyed it too much to quit.
“My stroke was my greatest blessing in disguise,” she said. “Everything in my life is better since the stroke,” she said.