When we’re out at a restaurant or enjoying a home-cooked meal, we can’t always clear our plates. While there are some foods that we really should never take to go, there are some foods that actually taste better on the second day.
Over the years, restaurant portion sizes have increased dramatically. Nowadays, many dishes you’re served while out to dinner are more than double the recommended portion size. Pair those with appetizers and desserts, and it’s a recipe for disaster (or at least an increased waist size). It’s good to get into the habit of taking half of everything you’re served at a restaurant home; not only will you get a second (or third) meal out of it, you’ll save money in the process.
Foods that taste better on the second day do so for a whole host of different reasons, and some of them are fairly scientific. According to Gizmodo, as proteins in food break down over time, amino acids appear that increase its umami flavor. And as food scientist Dr. Kantha Shelke explains in Forbes, certain foods like onions, garlic, and herbs continue to release flavors long after they’re cooked. Dishes with lots of those different flavor components taste better after they’ve had a night in the fridge to mingle, and the gelatin in slow-cooked meat can soak up surrounding flavors as it cools. That gelling material also seeps out of the meat as it’s re-heated, improving the consistency of the surrounding sauce.
So read on to learn which dishes taste even better the second time around, why they do, and the best ways to reheat them. All of these dishes are best when re-heated, but as for leftover fried chicken, we suggest you eat that when it’s still cold, right out of the fridge.
Meatloaf gets the best of both worlds on the second day: the herbs and spices continue to release their flavors, the gelatin in the meat improves the texture as it melts, and all the flavors have had more time to meld. Instead of using the microwave, opt for a frying pan when it comes to reheating meatloaf; cut off individual slices and fry them up until they’re browned.
Day-old pizza is one of the most divisive foods out there, but we love the way that the cheese, sauce, and toppings re-melt into a flavorful mixture as it’s reheated, as all the flavors have had more time to mingle. You can reheat pizza in a very hot oven by placing it on a hot pizza stone, or you can even use a frying pan, making sure not to burn the bottom.