No food waste? I don’t believe you!

19 Sep

There is so much talk in the media at the moment about food waste, that I am now going to add my opinion to the many already aired out there. I have always been concerned about food waste, and, like most people I am sure, I do my best to minimise it. I first aired my views publicly some months ago when a new food waste bin system was due to start in the Windsor and Maidenhead borough. This seemed to me to be a fantastic idea; I already compost raw waste such as vegetable peelings, and at the time we also had a rabbit who was very keen on any fruit and vegetable waste. Sadly, Parsley is no longer with us. One day she just disappeared, so we assume she either set up home elsewhere or was taken by a fox.

Anyway, I digress. There was a letter in the Maidenhead Advertiser from some whinging, negative local resident who wanted to blame all food waste on the supermarkets for giving us so many offers and opportunities to buy extra food. He also could not cope with the 2, extremely small extra bins that this system would impose on residents. So I put my oar in and sent a letter in reply to his the following week, speculating in particular what he does with his fish skin and meat bones. Maybe he is a vegan with a compost heap, but not everyone is!

I have spoken to local friends who say that they cannot find a use for the food bin, as apparently they never have any waste! I keep forgetting to ask them what they do with their chicken bones for instance! (mental note to bring this up at the next social engagement!) As for my mother, she finds it too much effort to put waste in the food bin rather than the dustbin, and we almost came to blows over this discussion.

Quite apart from bones and skin, I do have other waste. And who has not found a piece of dubious-looking cheese lurking at the back of the fridge? Who has not discovered a squished chilli in the salad drawer? And as for bags of rocket and watercress – very difficult to use them up before they have turned to mush! I have been watching Jamie Oliver recently, and applaud his enthusiasm and great tips on cheap cuts of meat, and how to make the most of a roast. And yes I do all those things with left-over bread, and more! I make croutons, breadcrumbs, bread and butter pudding etc. But what would Jamie say if confronted by a bread bin containing a collection of mouldy ends of bread? Yes they could possibly go to the birds, but would feeding the birds make a good end to his programme? I do make most of my own bread, so the cost of letting bread go mouldy is pretty low.

I shall end this piece by telling you quite honestly what I found in my fridge when I tidied it out today in preparation for the weekly shop tomorrow: lots of jars of home-made jam (they are all fine if kept in the fridge); left-over squash and lentil bake, left-over macaroni cheese, left-over meat loaf (Jamie Oliver recipe), small piece of slow-roast pork (from a catering do last Saturday) – these will all comprise tonight’s dinner; small amount of mince and most of a pack of chipolatas, which both need using up (I made these into a mince mixture which will become lasagne for Jess’ dinner on Saturday); croissants and pains au chocolat (all fine for Paul’s breakfasts); frankfurters and bacon, all in date; the remaining quarter of a plum and apple crumble pie from Sunday’s dinner (fine to finish up soon); lots of cheese, and some really whiffy bits of blue cheese had to go in the food bin; lots of vegetables and salad (I had to throw away some salad leaves) – I made some soup for lunch with the vegetables which really needed using up. There were also some squashed items such as celery, which had to go. Shamefully, there was also a pack of blackcurrants which I had failed to use.

This sounds quite good really as food waste goes. However, in the shed fridge there were 3 bowls of salad left-over from Saturday’s catering do. Usually when I cater, the people are keen to take the left-overs home, but these people did not want to, and when there are big bowls of salad left, it really is difficult not to have waste.

Am I the only one who ends up with this kind of waste? I don’t think so. I wonder what I’d really see if I examined other peoples’ fridges and bins….





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