The other night, the Food Network aired a one-hour documentary/cooking competition called “The Big Waste.” It pitted two pairs of top Food Network chefs against each other to create a full meal for 100 people using only food that is typically wasted. While the competitive aspect was there, the thing that most drew me in was how much food is wasted on a daily basis. I’m not just talking about what we throw away day-to-day, but large-scale waste.
Farms, markets, restaurants, suppliers and more get rid of literally tons of food every single day. Whether because food is “imperfect” (bruised, spotted, etc.) or because it is nearing its sell-by date, enormous amounts of food are thrown away, and it’s a huge shame. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this food; it’s perfectly healthy to eat, and probably even tastes delicious, but consumers and suppliers want perfection. So, when those slightly bruised peaches go unpicked from the grocery store produce pile, or a restaurant slices a prosciutto past the perfect marbling ratio, or a chicken has torn skin and broken wings, the remains are discarded.
At one point in the program, a farmer took one of the chefs out to a compost pile, and she was moved by the fact that the compost pile was as lovely and colorful as the farm itself, and it was. It was piled high with tomatoes, melons and other bright produce. It brought such awareness to how much is truly wasted.
The program was an incredible eye-opener for me. There are thousands of poor, hungry people in this country, and this wasted food could feed so many.
Therefore, this writer is making a resolution. From now on, when I’m shopping, I won’t automatically look past the apple with a small bruise, or ignore the slightly spotted snow peas. And I’m asking you to do the same. It doesn’t seem like much, but each little step we collectively take can help to reduce the amount of food waste in the world ad hopefully feed others. (And I promise, that little brown spot won’t kill you–you can even cut it off!)
According to the Food Network Web site, “The Big Waste” will re-air on January 14 at 4 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time and on January 15 at 5 p.m.
- The Big Waste: Food Network Looks at Food Waste in America (eatdrinkbetter.com)
- More Tips for Eliminating Food Waste (simplycooking.wordpress.com)
- Simple Ways to Reduce Everyday Food Waste (Part 2) (eatdrinkbetter.com)