Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

Posts tagged ‘Left overs’

Food waste

The world wastes half it’s food, said a report from The Institute of Mechanical Engineers (Who would have thought they would do this?).  4 Billion tonnes produced.  Between 1.2 and 2 billion never eaten.

The problem seems to be in two arenas.  Firstly, much of what is harvested or stored is eaten or goes off before it reaches people in the non-western world.  And if it is not cosmetically perfect or is 3 seconds past a dubious sell by date, the west (USA and Europe cited) tends to throw stuff away.  I read Agricultural Botany at Univ, and the third world stuff was well documented even then – the biggest culprits pre-harvest were Pigeons, and the biggest in storage were rats.  I am sure that has improved a little over the years, but may just be an inescapable part of life’s balances.

Not the cosmetic perfection though.  This just makes me madly angry.  It does remind me of The Jam song – Going Underground, with the scary line:

“The Public wants what the Public gets”

Have we become so controlled by the supermarkets that 30% of good produce never darkens their doors because it is misshapen or all the mushrooms aren’t the same size in that packet or that orange is not orangey enough?  They will say that we don’t  want it – but is that really true?  I tend to shop for most veg and meat in a local butchers and greengrocers.  There is more choice and it is cheaper than supermarket fare – and tastes better. Use them or lose them.

 _(A super campaign from Winchester local council.)

Sell by dates don’t make sense a lot of the time either.  I use the sniff test, and the taste test, not the sell by date namby pamby ness!

We have to start rejecting the idea that we reject any food unless it is picture perfect.

And as for left-overs – that’s what they are, the ultimate in greenness and recycling.

I read an article late last year bemoaning the fact that no one knows how to cook from scratch, and recipe books have no sections any more on how to work with leftovers.  I’m sorry, he hadn’t read my book.  The four day chicken is a wondrous thing.  We finished the soup from Sunday Roast last  night!  Check out the web site: www.canmencook.com

Pot Luck

What does Pot Luck mean? It feels like a go with the flow sort of meal. Anything goes, sort of style. I was speaking to a friend the other day who finds cooking a bit of a chore, but has to follow a recipe for everything. She cannot imagine the sort of cooking challenges they have on Masterchef, where contestants are presented with a set of ingredients and told to ‘go create’.

That is the essence of the fun for me. We had some strange bedfellows that were only just past their sell by dates (I will rant about that in another post!). Some cooked and thin cut beef, a few small potatoes, wrinkly mushrooms and a leek. Pristine food? Yes we had some fresh sping onions (should we change the name to salad onions as they are now available all year round?) and half fat creme fraiche.

I cleaned up the spuds and left their skins on. Halved them – so they cooked quickly, then boiled. The confloption ( a new word!) to fry up included the leak, and mushrooms. Discoverd a few mini tomoatoes too – so they got chucked in. I shredded up the beef, and added it when the other bits were done, and switched the heat off (after adding some mustrard and balsamic squirt). Spuds? Drained, added the chopped up spring onion, some parmesan, a nob of butter and a large spoon of creme fraiche. Served the spuds under and the confloption on top, like as if the potatoes were pasta.

The great thing with using up stuff that a lot of people throw out is the meal feels free – because you have saved the ingredients from composting!

Pot luck? Well, the plate felt like it got lucky too!

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