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.
Statistics say (and who trusts statistics anymore, but this is what they say) that the average family of four throws away $2,000 worth of food every year. They say every family throws away enough food to feed one additional family member. That seemed so extreme to me when I first heard it that I scoffed out loud.
But then, every time I go on a big grocery trip, I have a stack of Tubberware containers full of decomposed food that I throw in the trash to make room in the fridge. For years every time I did this, I would picture an imaginary fifth family of my family watching me. He would be a starving child from Africa, and he would be frowning.
Of course, starving children isn’t the only reason not to throw food away. Food is expensive. We all have goals that we can’t accomplish because we don’t have the money – things we want to do for our futures and for our children’s futures or even just to get by to the next paycheck. Our problems may not be as extreme as famine victims, but they’re still legitimate.
I decided to never waste food ever again. I owe it to my family, I owe it to the environment, and yes, I even owe it to all the children who don’t have enough.
So I stood in front of my refrigerator and I made a vow to eat everything we buy from then on.
For a second I considered not throwing away food for a month to see how it went, but I decided that no, I didn’t want to throw away food ever.
To remind me of my goal, I posted the picture below on my refrigerator: “The Worth of a Soul” by Liz Lemon Swindle. It’s my favorite picture of Christ because it reminds me that Jesus loves everyone, not just people who look, think, and act like me. He’s everywhere. Now as it sits on my fridge, it also reminds me of the responsibility I have to use my abundance wisely.
In an effort to help others do the same, I made this blog of ideas on what to do with extra food. After a year, I plan on putting all my recipes and ideas together into a cookbook.
Thank you for joining me in this quest. Happy cooking, and happy eating!