May 14, 2006

Throwing food away...

This week I heard on the evening news that Swedes every year throw away 900 000 tons of food. For various reasons, of course, sometimes you just fail cooking something, but the main problem is that people has stopped sniffing and tasting food before they bin it. They look at the expiry date and if it has passed - off it goes!
The same thing happens in food stores where the staff every day has to throw away perfectly good meat, milk and vegetables just because the date is "wrong". The reporter said to compare that everything grown in a country big as Belgium correspond to the amount of veggies that are just thrown away every year.

This report really made me think about my own habits. We try not to throw away food in this house, and we try to use our groceries before they are too old (and I mean really too old, I taste and sniff!) but compared to older generations we are real wasters! I have an old cookbook from 1925, the year my maternal grandmother was born. In that book is a whole chapter on what to do with leftovers! Has anyone seen such a thing in a modern cookbook? No. I think not. So from now on I will try even harder to really treat food with the respect it deserves. Use leftovers, not buy more than I need, look in the fridge before I go to the shop so I don´t buy something we already have... And this is easier said than done, everyone knows how easy it is to just drop in the shop on the way home and buy something new instead of going home and be creative with all the random strange things you have lying around...

It would be really interesting to write a cookbook where the starting point is different leftovers and not the usual: meat, poultry, fish, vegetables... It would be good both to wallets and environment!

And now I am curious:
  • Which leftovers are most common at your place? (Ours: cooked rice and potatoes and bread)
  • What is your most common leftover dish? (Mine (at the moment): Japanese trick with old rice)

11 comments:

Steve said...

We don't have leftovers for long. We often cook every other day, as many recipes are for four or more people and there are only two of us. When things are left over, they enevitably get stir fried with whatever else is handy. My universal stir fry sauce is 2T Chili sauce, 1 T Soy sauce and 1 T rice vinegar added to a quarter cup of white grape juice.

Paul said...

We have a dog and he eats all our food that would be headed for the garbage.

ilva said...

Clivia-start a meme!

Zoubida said...

Ditto Ilva, you should start a meme Clivia.
We rarely have leftovers. Mostly it's soup which makes it to the day after. In this case, I freeze it in individual containers and anybody can help himself when hungry at late evening or when I'm not home to cook up something.
We have a dog too, and a huge one. But as huge as he is (120 pounds) he has a small appetite and a delicate stomach, so he doesn't really help.
Before I go to the grocery store or the market, I have a rule to empty and clean-up the fridge. It allows me to get those older items back in front and in a very visible spot so I use them first.
We like our vegies very fresh. So when they are really, really wilted or too obviously old, I throw them in the compost and I don't feel as bad as if it was in the garbage.

Steve said...

OK, I'll plead stuidity. What is a "MEME"?

Kinna said...

Loved this, pls tell us more about what to do with leftovers. I do as you do, sniff and taste before throwing out. Many things are fresh longer than we think they are.

Clivia said...

Hmm, maybe I should start one - just have to figure out some good questions... (Steve, a meme is some questions that goes around between bloggers. You answer it and then forward the meme to someone else)

maiko said...

Hi Kristina, how's everything going? I'm now (obviously) escaping from all the assignments I got... they're all due in a few weeks! 12,000 words! (sigh...)
Anyways, for cooked rice, what i usually do is just pack them in a tupperware or wrap them with plastic wrap and put them in a freezer. Once in a freezer, it will last for quite a long time. As I don't have time to cook everyday, I always cook a lot of rice at once in a weekend and put them in the freezer. You may already have done this way..., if you still have leftover, hmm..., I don't know, i would do some porridge or fried rice. ;-)

Tanna said...

Clivia, What a great post! You've already got some great questions. Which leftovers are most common at your place? What is your most common leftover dish? Then: How often do you throw out food? What's the most creative and tasty dish you've created from a leftover? What goes through your mind when you throw out food? When we eat Chinese out, I actually plan to take home fried rice so I can use it in scrambled eggs the next morning. I'm curious as to where did meme get it's name. So glad I came across you.
Really enjoy your blog, looks lovely.

Clivia said...

thanks Tanna for great ideas. I will try to start the meme this week! Sorry, have no idea why it is called a meme...

Maiko - so glad to hear from you! I thought about you when I visited a Japanese shop (not JFK this time) last week. Stockholm is green and warm(er) now.

gemma said...

Hello Clivia,
I love reading your blog but never wrote a comment before :-)

We usually don't have leftovers as I cook small recipes (we are 2) but however, I try to put in the freezer before it becomes a leftover.

When I clean or reorganize the fridge always appear some forgotten cheese, expired yogourts and some other things...
Sometimes I also have to throw away vegetables that had better moments :-)