Thinking critically about food waste
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02-08-2016, 08:29 PM (This post was last modified: 02-08-2016 08:51 PM by cactus.)
Thinking critically about food waste
How bad do you feel when you let edible food go to waste? Is your reaction any different when you see other people doing it? Would you ever leave your plate half-empty at a restaurant, or do you get a to-go box and cram it full of every uneaten bread roll or tortilla chip that's left on the table?

Whenever I see food being used as a prop that ends up on the floor in a comedy routine, or chocolate syrup filled water balloon fights, etc, in the back of my mind I always feel a slight tinge of negative emotion at the sight of it. However, that emotion seems misplaced, in that it's usually just an instinctual feeling of social duty, a peer pressure that encourages us to relay the popular soundbite narrative about "those starving children in Africa" as we wallow in a unique and narrowly-focused sense of shame over the waste of this particular commodity.

I suppose it's noble and pragmatic to prioritize food above the other products of human labor that we take for granted, but the amount of reverence that we place upon the food that's already been made readily available to us by way of our complex first-world infrastructure just seems a bit misguided to me. You accidentally drop an empty wine glass on the floor; you sweep up the pieces, throw them into the trash can, and go on with your day. You drop half your bowl of spaghetti, and suddenly you feel the need to rationalize the waste by saying to your friends "Oh, it's okay, at least the dog can finish it."

Instead of saying "We should feel like we've failed when we squander the things that we have," I think it's a lot more useful to say "We should feel like we've succeeded when other people's lives are improved." Of course, there's always more room for waste optimization, too. It just sometimes gets prioritized in a way that's actually counterproductive to our goals, like when talking absentmindedly about "those poor kids in Africa... No, not any specific poor kids, just the hypothetical ones that I'm using to prop up an argument."

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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02-08-2016, 08:42 PM
RE: Thinking critically about food waste
I know this attitude has contributed to my and many others obesity.
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02-08-2016, 08:42 PM
RE: Thinking critically about food waste
Cactus I never realised you believe in Helios?

I have some cream that went off. That just upset me because I wanted to put it on peaches I bought especially for it. Sad

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02-08-2016, 08:44 PM
RE: Thinking critically about food waste
I'm like this, I hate seeing food wasted, especially something like chicken, which was a living animal. I also feel shitty when I see perfectly good products getting wasted, like when they crash a new car for an accident lawyer commercial or something. So much waste.

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02-08-2016, 08:51 PM
RE: Thinking critically about food waste
(02-08-2016 08:44 PM)WillHopp Wrote:  I'm like this, I hate seeing food wasted, especially something like chicken, which was a living animal. I also feel shitty when I see perfectly good products getting wasted, like when they crash a new car for an accident lawyer commercial or something. So much waste.

I didn't like it when The chili peppers burned a drum kit in a video.

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02-08-2016, 09:23 PM
RE: Thinking critically about food waste
I was raised to clean my plate...even having to eat things I did not like. I swallowed a lot of things my mom cooked with a big gulp of milk.

Some years ago when I started gaining some weight I had to get figure out two things and change my mindset. First, I needed to stop going back for seconds and secondly, I needed to get over the idea of having to clean my plate.

I actually eat very little which is why I am reluctant to get food from restaurants. There is always way, way too much for me. And many things that you take home don't reheat well and end up tossed anyway. My struggle since my son moved out is trying to figure out how to cook for two after years of cooking for five plus friends. It's harder than I thought it would be to go from making a pot of spaghetti sauce that would all get eaten to trying to cut down the recipe so that there isn't as much left over. For that reason there are a lot of things I just don't cook any more. My husband can only stand so many leftovers.

No longer will I eat until I feel sick so that I can say I cleaned my plate and didn't waste food. I do make an effort to not cook too much or order too much...that's not always easy to do.

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02-08-2016, 09:57 PM
RE: Thinking critically about food waste
I used to be the (self-)designated clean-up person when family went out to a restaurant, and finished or sampled things that others at the table couldn't finish. At one point I came to My senses and suggested that since the servings were so huge, we could probably order fewer dishes and just share around.

On the rare occasions that daughter and I do go out to a restaurant, we always take any viable leftovers home for snacks. I sometimes go to a fast food place but order exactly what I think I can reasonably eat without getting overfull, almost never a "combo"-type meal.

At home, I try not to cook large amounts of meat in advance because it only tastes good for about a day after the leftovers are refrigerated. I divide up any large packages of meat and freeze whatever I don't need for the current meal. At least part of every pot of leftovers goes into a container for the next day's lunch (I buy lunch at work perhaps once every 2-3 months, if that often).

Overall our main food wastage seems to be wilted lettuce and spinach that got stuck at the back of the fridge, and an occasional expired half-jar of sauce. We're pretty good about watching expiry dates and buying on an as-needed basis.
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02-08-2016, 10:12 PM
RE: Thinking critically about food waste
I usually am very careful when cooking and cook just enough. I don't like wasting food.
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02-08-2016, 10:16 PM
RE: Thinking critically about food waste
I went hungry a lot as a kid. I won't go into the details of what I did as a kid to get food. I really hate to see food wasted. I see waste everywhere. The consumption habits in the US are pretty disgusting. I try as much as I can to only purchase whatever food we can consume before it spoils, beyond things like canned food, of which we consume very little. I'm thinking that we should stock up, to some extent; in case of emergency it would be better than starving.
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02-08-2016, 10:27 PM
RE: Thinking critically about food waste
(02-08-2016 08:29 PM)cactus Wrote:  How bad do you feel when you let edible food go to waste? Is your reaction any different when you see other people doing it? Would you ever leave your plate half-empty at a restaurant, or do you get a to-go box and cram it full of every uneaten bread roll or tortilla chip that's left on the table?
I don't understand this mentality.

My inlaws are extreme when it comes to this. Perhaps their Buddhist background has something to do with it IDK. But I find it really annoying. Mother in-law expects me to eat all the left overs, being a male it seems that I am a natural garbage disposal unit.

I won't do it of course. We exchange our best evil stares over it. But I refuse to stuff myself to meet her unreasonable fear of wasting food.

She also influences her daughter, my wife, who then forces our kids to finish everything on their plate, even if it takes 1.5-2 hours to finish dinner. I'm of the opinion that we set a time limit (perhaps half an hour) after that we take the food away, chuck it and don't let them have any further snacks.

I find it ridiculous when my wife is hand feeding our 7 year old. All because of her inherited fear of wasting food. No-one wins, there is absolutely no benefit in eating too much. Just cook less next time.
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