That’s the number of mostly used bottles of barbecue sauce I found in the fridge yesterday when I was looking for a half-used carton of sour cream.
That’s how bags of vegetable bits flirting with freezer burn that I discovered waiting to be made into split pea soup.
95 kg – 115 kg.
That’s the amount of food waste that the average person in North America produces each year. (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security)
It happens easily enough. Lettuce bought and put in the fridge with good intentions – only to be rediscovered when it is beyond culinary redemption. Leftovers pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten – out of sight and therefore out of mind.
It’s easy to dismiss a half jar of this or a few tablespoons of that as negligible, but when added up the totals are significant. When the resources required to produce the wasted food are added into the equation, the total is even more so.
With the sheer volume of food that surrounds us, it’s easy to forget sometimes that it is precious. It’s easy to forget, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, that “there are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread”.
So what’s a well meaning person to do?
This month, I’m challenging myself (and anyone interested) to reduce waste in the kitchen by:
- Going through the cupboards, freezer, fridge and pantry to discover those items that have been pushed out of sight and forgotten. ( Perhaps those extra cans of something on sale for that recipe that just never got made.) If they are still usable, finding a recipe that will make good use of them.
- Creating a ‘leftovers inventory’ list for the kitchen to keep track of what bits and remainders have been stored in the fridge and need to be used – and then using them.
- Taking a brief moment, in the midst of the often frenzied swirl that is meal preparation for many of us, to be thankful for the food I have to prepare and serve – however humble it may be.
Happy New Year.