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Throwing food away


Wilfrid
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Picking up from comments made on the free rice thread, do you consider throwing away food to be a terrible thing to do. I guess everyone does it sometimes, most obviously when the food has started to rot, but how resistant to the idea are you?

I regret that I throw away quite a lot of food. I am adept at recycling leftovers, but there comes a point at which you say, no I do not want to eat that week old broccoli prepared in yet another style. Also, I often throw away quite a lot of (especially Chinese) take-out food because the portions are far too large, there are extra orders of rice even if rice is included in the dish, there are often unsolicited salads and old oranges, and maybe you count the two hundred sachets of "duck sauce" as food too.

Not to mention impulse buying of "healthy" items which are then never eaten because not really liked. Apples, for example.

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The extra orders of rice are perfect for making a nice lunch of fried rice with whatever extra veggies and peices of meat lying around. Toss in some thai fish sauce, some soy, some chiles, and you got one heck of a meal.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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what's the option? if someone came to my door after dinner and took my leftovers, i'd gladly hand them over (and take the tax-deduction).

99% of the time, my refrigerator is simply a staging area for the garbage. terribly inefficient if you ask me, so i try to throw the leftovers out straight away.

would i like lower prices and smaller portions? sure. is there much i can do about that? no. do i feel some sort of guilt or have any moral dilemma with throwing away food becaus someone somewhere is hungry? no. that would be a terrible waste of emotion.

edit: "what's the option" addresses the question of "after you decide that you don't want that broccoli done another way." although, i am pretty much opposed to eating leftovers, unless it's pizza or something to snack on. after a long hard day on egullet, i usually want to get a nice, fresh meal. one with different flavors than the one i had the night before. ok, ok, so i'm a bad person. shoot me.

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Leftovers go to my refrigerator to die.

I prefer to be, tactically, more parsimonious in my purchasing so as to mitigate the problem of throwing away "food". But I throw away what needs to be disposed of and that's the way it is in my house.

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This is definitely an American problem. Portion sizes in many restaurants seem to be deliberately made too large to eat so that the diner can be given a doggy bag. It seems to be a given, and some restaurants don't even ask before they pack up the leftovers.

In Britain, hardly any restaurants have containers to put food in, and if you asked to take home the leftovers, multiple eyebrows would shatter the ceiling.

It is said that America is a society of inbuilt obsolescence and deliberate wastefulness. Maybe there is truth in that.

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My husband absolutely refuses to eat leftovers of any kind. I think it has something to do with growing up poor. So I throw most leftovers out. There are some exceptions which I will eat, like leftover roast pork, beef, and chicken, or a beef stroganoff, but mostly they go into the garbage.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Consume or Perish!

I think you mean consomme or piroshke, surely. Surely !

god, that's hilarious.

I can identify with Wilfrid's post about buying something healthy only to have it sit around and go bad. I'm guilty of that one. For the most part though, I seem to be better about this.

I do have multiple jars of jam in my fridge that probably should be carefully examined. And of course there's always leftovers from making recipes that call for a tablespoon of THAT and you have to buy a whole jar of THAT to get that tablespoon. Those can last up to a year or so in my kitchen. I might even have some items that have had birthdays. maybe even more than one.

The S.O. is even worse about this. we'll buy fabulous things over the weekend, eat part of it and by the time I come back the following weekend, its still there starting to turn green. I often wonder what the hell he eats all week that those things get ignored. He is the poster child for leaving food out overnight too. "Oh whoops, forgot about that"

Born Free, Now Expensive

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I am almost completely incapable of throwing out food that is still edible. Come to think of it, I even have trouble throwing out inedible food. (One of my favorite dishes when I was little was "Stinky-Cheese Eggs" -- scrambled eggs with barely-starting-to-go cottage cheese whisked in during the cooking. I still love it.) :blink:

What a relief to see Dana's posts about gumbo! Little dribs and drabs of veg, gravies, sauces -- they disappear into the pot and are transformed. How could I make Thai beef salad without leftover London Broil? Or a Spanish tortilla without cold boiled potatoes? :huh:

Whatever little bits that aren't used soon go into the freezer for incorporation into something else later. I consider it a challenge to my creativity: making a complicated dish, fresh, is not that difficult; but making something new and appetizing out of leftovers -- now THAT's exciting! :raz:

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Because I am on a pretty strict budget, I try to avoid having any food go to waste. I try to plan my meals a couple days to a week in advance so I buy exactly the vegetables I need and none go to waste. Leftovers usually go into husband's lunch or are eaten for my lunch the next day, sometimes as is and sometimes made into something else. If it wasn't very good the first time though, I will trash it and I always feel slightly guilty. Good leftovers not needed immediately will usually be frozen, rice freezes really well and can be brought back to life in a microwave.

Occasionally I do over buy or food goes bad and then I through it away but yeah I guess that guilt is always there.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Suzanne, I admire your philosophy and approach. But we hardly ever have any leftovers.

The SO views shopping and cooking an intellectual as well as sensuous experience. He shops brilliantly, planning for no leftovers unless we want them, and he has it squared away in advance.

But the real reason we have no leftovers is portion control. Awhile ago, almost by accident, we both lost a ton of weight without going on a diet. We ate everything...and I mean everything..we wanted, but ate about half the amounts we had become accustomed to. Too many leftovers? We just prepare less now.

And of course, there are the stockpot and the garbage heap

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I am almost completely incapable of throwing out food that is still edible.  Come to think of it, I even have trouble throwing out inedible food.  (One of my favorite dishes when I was little was "Stinky-Cheese Eggs" -- scrambled eggs with barely-starting-to-go cottage cheese whisked in during the cooking.  I still love it.)  :blink:

Remind me where you work again so I can avoid it.

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Nothing goes to waste in our fridge, either. This is as deeply etched in stone as the rule about no food packages on the table.

We often plan meals with leftovers in mind. Meat loaf and fried spaghetti (gateau de viande and frittatta, if it helps) are a couple of favorites among many. We both look forward to Thanksgiving dinner for at least a week after the event. Mazal buys a 15-20 lb turkey, no matter how many are coming. (It's always at our house, because we want the leftovers.)

Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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Not to mention impulse buying of "healthy" items which are then never eaten because not really liked.  Apples, for example.

The story of my life... I feel so good when buying healthul foods, thinking I'll eat a peach and start doing yoga or go to the gym or something, but in the end we all (at least Wilfrid, Malarkey, and I) know what happens... :sad:

Anne E. McBride

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I am almost completely incapable of throwing out food that is still edible.  Come to think of it, I even have trouble throwing out inedible food.  (One of my favorite dishes when I was little was "Stinky-Cheese Eggs" -- scrambled eggs with barely-starting-to-go cottage cheese whisked in during the cooking.  I still love it.)  :blink:

Remind me where you work again so I can avoid it.

Oh, no no no -- only at home, and only for myself. Please, I'm not THAT crazy. :blink: And anyway, right now I'm consulting to a "gourmet pet food" company, so if anyone might eat what I make, it would be Momo. :biggrin:

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Leftovers do not last long in my house at all--gone in a week, max. In fact, I encourage having leftovers around, whether by cooking several portions' worth of food or deliberately leaving food on my plate to take home (helps keep the weight down too by not eating everything that's put in front of me). I'm usually way too busy to cook, so I appreciate having something in my fridge to pop in the microwave.

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