One of my husband’s greatest pet peeves is wasting food, and he feels that we do it a lot.
The honest truth is we do waste some, but I have been trying to do better.
I’m not a big fan of leftovers so I procrastinate about using them and then they get too old and you really can’t use them. Also I like to have different meals each night so then the leftovers don’t get used up quickly. I did try a method during last school year, where I cooked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then we had leftovers on Thursday (church night) and Friday night (mom’s just tired.) I thought that method worked pretty well.
One of my foodie friends from high school posted this list from Slate.com on tips to not waste food.
Here’s my boiled down version for discussion. I have divided Slate’s list into three categories:
Things I already do, Things I should do, and Things I don’t think will actually work:
Things I already do
That same section on Slate.com had great tips about how to use up those leftovers.
“To do this, bone up on a handful of what reader Venkatesh Rao calls “meta recipes”—flexible dishes like quiches, stir-fries, stews, and dals that can easily accommodate a wide variety of ingredients. The Lantern loves using Mark Bittman’s Food Matters cookbook for just this purpose. Several of you also recommended allrecipes.com, where you can search for dishes that incorporate up to four different ingredients.”
Things I don’t think actually work or are worth the effort
Things I should do
I will add to the tips shopping at the farmer’s market or a more health-focused grocery store cuts my bills because I’m not buying a bunch of processed stuff. I’m buying fresh. I’m buying less, and we have to use it immediately.
Michael wanted to weigh in on this topic. He says these are his two golden rules for not wasting food:
No 1. Especially if you have kids, stick to the basics – things you know they will eat. Michael thinks we end up with too much leftover food that goes to waste when I experiment with new recipes or cuisines. I would argue if you never expose them to new things they won’t expand their palettes. Maybe the compromise rule there is make less of a new food until you know if they like it.
No. 2 – While you have leftovers in the refrigerator don’t make a new meal. Michael says I don’t care what they want. Here’s what I’ve got. When you’ve got a lot of leftovers, the priority should be eating them, not variation in meals.
As stated earlier, I like to have meal variation. I would rather eat Monday’s leftover later in the week than again on Tuesday.
So lots of food for thought here! (Heehe) What do you think: Does your family waste a lot of food? Are you good about serving leftovers? What do you think of Slate.com’s list of tips? Which tips are you already doing? Which ones would you like to try? Which ones do you not think are practical or would make an impact?
Give me your freezer tips and vegetable prep tips. Which veggies prep best ahead of time and how do you store them?