The Waste of it All

snake glasses

Here’s some stuff that makes me madder than the near-sighted snake who married a garden hose:

Shoe sales that never have any size 10’s.

Evil incarnate Carmen, who keeps calling about lowering my credit card interest rate.

Those ridiculous choreographed pantomimes that NFL players have started doing after a touchdown.

Waste; opportunities, potential, passion, and worst of all—food.You wanna hear some horrific facts?  40% of the food in the US is never eaten.  It’s thrown away.  That’s around 250 pounds per person per year.  Globally, 4 billion tons of food is wasted each year.  60% of shoppers buy more food than they need.  What’s almost criminal is that fact that they know they’re doing it at the time of purchase.

You may think that the little bit you throw away doesn’t add up to very much.  But the average family of four loses at least $1,500 a year this way.

It’s actually not that hard to reduce the amount of waste each household produces.  It took some time, but wasting food at our house is an infrequent occurrence.

Behold: an anybody else 7438.

The biggest tip I can give you is to stop making more food than you need.  When Petey and were first married, I had no idea how to cook for two.  I was used to cooking for an Italian four, which is an anyone else’s twelve.  I couldn’t understand why that five-pound meatloaf didn’t get eaten up before it got furry.  I had so much refrigerated food that had gone so very bad I’m surprised it didn’t join street gangs and have rumbles in the crisper drawer.If the food doesn’t make good leftovers, you don’t want it hanging around.  If, on the other hand it reheats well, and would make a lunch that you’d actually take to work and eat—go for it.  When you’re cleaning up after that original dinner, portion it out and wrap it for brown bagging.  If you won’t get to it for more than four days, label then freeze it.And your freezer is your best ally in the quest to quell waste.  Don’t throw out old crackers, chips, and bread.  Dump it all into a zip-top bag, throw it in the chill chest, and when you need breadcrumbs, breader or such, take it out, season it according to food and mood, grind it finely in a food processor, then toast it at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Only make as much as you need, and if it’s touched raw meat, toss it.

 

Have another bag for leftover veggies.  When you have enough, make soup or use it for stuffing peppers, or pork chops, or any other stuff-able stuff.  Freeze extra pancakes, cooked pasta, rice, or potatoes.  Once you have a nice assortment in suspended animation you could make a meal solely from the Frigidaire.If Thanksigving’s at your place, you’re going to have leftovers tomorrow.  The turkey can be used in place of chicken in any dish.  Make tacos, or pot pie, or white chili.  And don’t forget the mandatory sandwich before bed (well, mandatory for me, anyway).

So, think about how you shop, cook, how your family eats, and figure out workable methods to eliminate food waste.

Then next year, instead of losing sleep getting up before dawn and losing your mind in the Black Friday Thunderdome to score a Barbie dream house for 25% off, you’ve saved enough money to pay for all the Christmas gifts, plus shoes for yourself (you’ve earned them). And instead of retail mayhem, you get to sleep.

Thanks for your time.

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