WASTE - The Demon of Despair

Monday, February 23, 2009

Posted by Deeba PAB

When the economy is galloping full throttle, & life is hunky dory, a lot of things fade into oblivion. But in times like these, where recession is looming large, & it becomes prudent to tighten purse strings wherever possible, issues like food waste leave the back burner.

The US, which in my view poses the biggest example of ‘large king-size portions’ of food in every form, leads by far. A niggling question always … if you don’t serve such large portions of food, will there be such a huge percentage of waste? Also, would you agree or disagree that the body gets used to eating what it expects to be served up on the platter? Over the years, consumers have become conditioned to eat ‘larger’ than required portions. Visiting my sister in the US, I have seen more being trashed in a frenzy to clear the counters or fridge, than was required. Breaks my heart to see kids at fast food joints trying to wolf down more than necessary…& then the rest reaches the bin. It was heartening to read a report the other day about a restaurant in the UK where you can order according to the amount you wish to spend. That kills 2 birds with one stone, well make that 3 … fills the tummy satisfactorily, gives you the option of saving money, & most importantly, actively reduces waste!

What can we do to reduce food waste in our own little ways?
  • Left-overs are left-overs. Store them, labeled with a date, & creatively re-use them as soon as possible. Small portions make nice after school nibbles when the hungry ones head home. Make a kaleidoscope topping on a pizza base, veggies & all. Grill that left-over chicken or veggies into a sandwich with the left over pizza sauce, & watch them enjoy!!
  • Treat perishables with a vengeance. Have a plan. They say ripe bananas keep well as is in the freezer, just the skin gets black, but they remain fine within for the banana bread you were planning, but never happened.
  • Freeze a portion if you judge that it’s too much to consume at a go. It always comes in handy on a rainy day. In addition, clear the freezer regularly, & do a stock check every month.
  • Mark a day to clear the fridge. When we were young, Fridays were 'left over days'. Mom would clear out the fridge & we would finish all the little bits & bobs crowding the fridge, no matter how disjointed the combination was. It was a standing joke amongst friends & relatives not to visit us on Fridays …they would only get left-overs. I try & carry out the left-over tradition to date!
  • When eating out, see if you want to share large portions. Check if the restaurant is willing to make a 1 X 2 serving. We used to do that in college to save money, & more often than not, the restaurant would oblige. No harm in asking!
  • Gradually encourage kids to order small servings. The mind, body & heart adjust really fast. It’s a matter of conditioning. A scoop of ice-cream or cheesecake can fill in the gaps!!
  • Sharing is caring. I love to share with my Mom, neighbours, friends & household help. If I get large portions of veggies or fruits from the farm, which I know will spoil before I get to the bottom of the basket, I share them out immediately. If I make 4 jars of jam, we keep one, & the rest are sent out to my friends. It works vice versa as well!!

I just googled to see what the world thinks about food waste. A few points highlighted on a news report on CNN:

  • 5 percent of American's leftovers could feed 4 million people for 1 day
  • Disposing of food waste costs the U.S. $1 billion a year
  • Rotting food releases methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2
  • Methane can be harnessed to create clean energy for heat, light and fuel

Got any 'wasted' ideas? Let's hear them. Together we can reduce our carbon footprint & fight the demon of waste!

This post was written by Deeba

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Great suggestions, Deeba!

February 26, 2009 at 11:19:00 PM GMT+1  

Nice article, Deeba. I freeze vegetable scraps in a freezer safe bag that I collect over a month, then make vegetable stock with it. Its as good, if not tasty, as the store bought kind.

Suganya said...
March 3, 2009 at 6:10:00 AM GMT+1  

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