Many times, eating leftovers is an exercise in not wasting food, or a means to a quick meal on a busy day. But many foods are more delicious when eaten at a later date rather than when freshly made, say Chowhounds. Braised meats, stews, and other long-cooked dishes almost always benefit from overnight refrigeration and reheating, which gives their flavors time to marry and deepen.

“Leftover meatloaf and brisket make for sandwiches that are oftentimes more enjoyable” than the original dish, says monavano. “Pretty much everything made with the remnants of the Thanksgiving turkey [is] better than the original roasted turkey was,” says twyst, and other hounds agree, whether they use it in sandwiches, soups, or casseroles such as turkey Tetrazzini. “I’ve been known to make a roast solely as an excuse to make hash,” says oldunc. “Leftovers rock.”

It’s not just meaty dishes that benefit from storage though. “My favorite cakes are not the delicate ones, but such brutes as fruitcake, gingerbread, and persimmon pudding, all of which will continue improving to a great age indeed as long as they’re kept tightly contained and chilled,” says Will Owen. Notes CanadaGirl, “I actually make a fabulous gingerbread cake that calls for letting it sit for two days before serving.”

Discuss: Leftovers better than the original?

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