I’ve been going around different websites to discover other methods of reducing food waste. Many of the ideas are good, but quite often I run into things I doubt the writer has actually tried. Every time I see a recipe for potato peels and apple cores, I shake my head because that isn’t food; that’s garbage.
It occurred to me that I should be specific on this blog about what I feel comfortable throwing away versus what I do not. Here’s the standard that I follow, and it goes back to when I was inspired to start this blog:
Studies show that the average American family wastes enough food to feed an additional family member. As soon as I heard that, I unintentionally imagined the fifth member of my family who could have survived on the food I was throwing away.
In my mind, he is a small child from Africa – I call him my African Ghost Baby. Every time I chucked rotting food in the garbage, my Ghost Baby would be there, frowning at me.
After years of feeling guilty and ashamed while my African Ghost Baby watched me, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I would no longer throw away things that my imaginary family member would have eaten.
So that’s my standard: if a hungry child would eat it, I don’t throw it away. I feel fine taking the onions and pickles off my hamburger, but I do not feel fine wasting a quarter of the hamburger. If I let food go bad that a hungry child would have eaten, I have been irresponsible with my resources.
What inspires you not to waste food?
One day, I was inspired to make chicken stock out of the carcass of a rotisserie chicken and wilting vegetables (more on that plus the recipe later). I was amazed at what I could do with food that I usually throw away.
It made me wonder; could I come up with creative ways to use all the food I usually throw away?
This discovery came at an interesting time in my life, and it probably wasn’t a coincidence. I’ve recently been somewhat consumed by the stories of famine victims in Africa. It’s always bothered me that people are going hungry, but when I became a mom, feeding my family became not only a responsibility, but a biological urge. I can’t fathom hearing my child cry for food and not having anything to give.