January 5, 2010
I read in the paper this morning that Americans waste 160 billion pounds of food each year. Some comes (I imagine) from those trays of foods the cafeteria ladies dump into the trash after the kids have eaten the roll and picked the bits of meat off the faux pizza slice. I figure another pretty big amount comes from supermarkets disposing of regulated products that pass their expiration date. Close to half, however, comes from our homes. When I say "our," I'm not just talking about Walter and my home, but I will admit that we have had some trouble trimming our shopping and cooking down to accommodate two rather than four. We don't seem to get through the milk in a timely way. We end up composting more spoiled produce than we should (composting is better than landfilling, but not that much better). We seem to feel there is some virtue in storing our leftovers in little plastic tubs that clutter the refrigerator for a requisite number of days before we toss them in the garbage, rather than throwing them out immediately after they become left over. Is it delusional in addition to being excessive to imagine that someone might reheat and reuse those items?
I don't think I can eliminate food waste, but I think I can do better than I am. One solution I'm going to try:
Once a week (or every other week) take all the saggy, wilty produce from the refrigerator, put it all in a stock pot with water. Make vegetable stock. Compost what remains of the even soggier, wiltier vegetables and freeze the stock instead of buying canned stock for my cooking needs.
Any other ideas?
Walter and I are headed to Boston tomorrow for a professional meeting. What was I thinking? At least Mary Ann was sympathetic enough to lend me some snow boots. Now I have to figure out how to fit them in my suitcase (and wonder if anything in my professional wardrobe goes with orange snow boots).