I thought I’d take some time to let you know how the week went. It’s certainly a “first world problem” but it’s easy to waste food if you don’t pay attention.
The first night of the challenge (Friday) after supper we had about a half cup of chili cheese dip and some tortilla chip crumbs left over. Normally we probably would have thrown both out. My oldest daughter finished them as an after dance snack a day or two later.
The week of our challenge was a busy one so we planned in advance to use the crock pot almost every night. Our menu for the week was planned and groceries were purchased for the week on Saturday.
On Sunday our Church held it’s annual chili cook-off. I entered and had fun trying and comparing 10 different entries. That meant 10 half full Styrofoam cups of chili to eat.
About halfway through sampling them I was full and realized there was no way I could finish them all. I didn’t plan ahead and bring a container so I threw away the uneaten chili.
I had about half of the chili I brought left so I froze the leftovers as soon as we got home from Church. Chili freezes well and we’ll have two easy meals to thaw and reheat later.
My oldest loves to cook and wanted to make some chicken tortellini soup for supper Sunday night. She started making it as soon as we got home from the cook-off.
During the prep she accidentally dropped some carrots on the kitchen floor. At first she thought I was kidding when I told her to wash them off and use them. Then I reminded her about our attempt to go a week without wasting food. She reluctantly washed and used them.
The soup turned out great but there was a lot of it. More than I had planned on.
Not wanting to waste any of it we decided to eat the soup again for supper Monday night. The tortellini were mushy the second time around but still edible. After supper there was still plenty of soup left.
I boxed up the leftovers in two containers. One I made sure had no tortellini in it. That got frozen. We can add some rice or fresh noodles to it later.
The second container had all the mushy tortellini in it. It was my lunch Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s right. I had that soup four days in a row.
The first day it was awesome. The last day it was barely edible because of the totally disintegrated tortellini. It will be awhile before I’m ready to have chicken soup again.
Wednesday we made sesame ginger chicken in the crock pot. It was good. We froze the leftover chicken. It will be good to include in stir fry sometime.
Thursday brought our biggest waste of food for the week. We had planned to have meatball subs and got everything ready to go in the crock pot Thursday morning. Unfortunately, in the craziness of our morning, the crock pot got turned on to low… but it wasn’t plugged in!
I was beyond bummed when my daughter called after school to tell me what had happened. That was probably 5 dollars worth of food wasted… but I can guarantee this… I don’t think I’ll ever use the crock pot again without double checking that it’s on and plugged in.
Here are my take aways from the week:
* It is extremely easy to waste food if you’re not actively trying not to.
* When planning meals for the week I need to really consider the amount of leftovers. Had I done this we still would have made the soup but would have only made a half batch.
* When planning meals for the week I need to quick survey the leftovers we have frozen and make sure they get used before they get too old.
* It’s important to keep the refrigerator cleaned out. That way it’s easier to keep track of leftovers.
I’m glad my family tried this experiment. It’s opened my eyes to how easy it is to waste food and to the amount we were wasting. It’s a week that will stick with me.
I did a little Googling about food waste in America and found out that according to a report from the USDA, “In the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten.”
Those are some pretty big numbers! I think that if everyone paid just a little attention they could be reduced somewhat.
How about you? Could you go an entire week without wasting any food? Leave a comment. I’m really curious to hear your thoughts on food waste.