As you have just now been reminded, Elly had a bizarre habit when she was a younger mother: finishing her childrens' meals for them. Unlike other parents who did things like serving meals to younger children in portions they could eat or saving the meal until the child was hungry again or any other more sensible option, Elly believed she had to eat her kids' leftovers so the food would not go to waste. This need to keep good food from being thrown away also inspired an odd strip from the early 2000s: while clearing away room in the freezer to accommodate the remains a dead pet rabbit for later burial, John discovered that Elly had been saving food from decades ago in case a time came that they could actually eat it. It mattered little that pork gravy from 1982 might not be safe to eat despite being frozen for decades; she couldn't let it go to waste. The source of this strange fixation in real life is obvious: Lynn probably picked it up from her mother. This translates in strip into Elly misunderstanding her mother's advice. Just as she probably thought that Marian's relief that they could afford more expensive sheets they didn't have to shave after a few washings was a shortsighted refusal to see there was a way to save some cash, she probably thought that her stories about having to eat whatever she could during the Depression because she didn't know where her next meal was coming from were a command to go and do likewise. The end result of this is to teach her children that meals are not something to savor but instead an unpleasant chore to finish with as quickly as (CHOMP! CHEW! CHOMP! SLURP! GLUT! SLUPP!) possible.