Food waste is a huge issue. Research suggests that 30 to 40 percent of food is wasted in America and many millions of tonnes of food are wasted every year. Personally, I loathe wasting food. Throwing out something that could have been eaten not only reminds me of the impact on my budget and the waste stream but, more importantly, that waste is an offense in a society where millions of people are food insecure on a regular basis.
Happily, food waste is largely avoidable with some planning and resourcefulness. One advantage of living on my own now is that I don’t have to cater to anyone else’s meal preferences. This means that I can much more easily deal with anything in the fridge that’s starting to turn, thereby cutting down significantly on wasted food.
In the case of tonight’s dinner (which I completely neglected to photograph), the starting-to-turn culprit was a bag of mushrooms. They were starting to tend towards dampness which doesn’t really make for good eating. Faced with close to two pounds, I decided to make a cream of mushroom and barley soup. This choice also allowed me to use up some aging yogurt and the last bit of the milk that I bought for my parents’ visit. The recipe was really delicious, but I was almost equally pleased with the fact that I was able to not waste perfectly fine food. And, as I was cooking I also found another aging tub of yogurt in the back of the fridge. With the addition of a probably-soon-to-turn cucumber and a few other ingredients, will become tzatziki sauce for dinner tomorrow.
There’s nothing really groundbreaking here – just a bit of awareness of what’s in the fridge and a general willingness to eat meals based on what needs to be used up. It doesn’t feel like deprivation or anything close to hardship – just making wiser use of whatever resources are available.