Friday, 3 February 2012

Waste not want not...or "Why I love leftovers"

For a lot of people living and working in cities like London the day starts with a takeaway "designer" coffee and lunch could be sushi in a pretty plastic box with all the trimmings. My day often looked like that and more often than not I felt guilty for creating so much rubbish and not using up the perfectly good food we had in our fridge at home. Commuting almost 3 hours per day was my excuse but maybe I was just lazy. Fact is that life was not only an environmental nightmare, it was also costing me a fortune. Fastforward a couple of months and I am sitting here in Wales. Things have changed! These days, tea and coffee is drunk out of proper mugs at home and lunch is more often than not made out of leftovers. It is absolutely amazing what you can create out of those things lurking in the fridge or cupboard. Take today, for example... on the lunch menu is a Kirsten version of frittata... a sort of omelette or tortilla. There were some eggs that needed using up, an open packet of ham, a few mushrooms, half an onion... ta-da! Lunch is sorted! Yes, I have more time now but I wish I had had the inspiration then to make the (little) effort it takes to make my own lunches etc. Better late than never, I suppose.

Behind all this is more than just my "old" wastefulness. A report published last year by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) called "Global Food Losses and Food Waste" makes shocking reading. It found that "roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted", fruit and vegetables being amongst those food items most wasted. Now, if like me, you are trying to grow your own veg and fruit (I have only just started doing this last year), you know how much love and effort goes into growing food. Can you imagine then just taking all of it and throwing it away? No, thought not! So why do we do it with supermarket food? I guess somewhere along the line the relationship with that food has broken down and those packets of tomatoes or tubs of yoghurt are no longer close to our hearts. A lot of the waste appears to happen at source or in the supermarkets themselves but surely, we as individuals can play our role in reducing the waste - for the good of the planet and our wallets. So, let's get creative and see what "meals for free" we can create from the foods that would have ended up in the bin!

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