Well, that's not a very pretty picture. That's this week's food waste, and this ugly photo makes me more determined than ever to have NO waste next week so I don't have to post another photo like this one.
What's in the pan, you ask? Homebaked cornbread. About half of it never got eaten. My husband is from the south, but doesn't like cornbread very much. Now I remember why I don't bake it very often. I love cornbread, but if I ate that whole pan by myself, I'd probably gain a few pounds.
This photo, ugly as it is, is typical of our food waste and raises two issues for me. The first is about eating something just because you don't want it to go to waste. But it might be fattening or unhealthy to eat too much of it. I grew up with the "clean plate club" philosophy, and that's not really the best thing for your health (or your figure). You should eat until you're full, not until your plate is clean.
The other issue is the lettuce and spinach. I like to ALWAYS have fresh greens available, so they are often wasted. If I used them up, they wouldn't be in there the next time I wanted a salad. That one is kind of a conundrum to me.
Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions for these dilemmas. I don't think I'll be making cornbread anytime soon, but when I bake something and I don't want to eat too much of it, I'll try to remember to give half of it away to a friend or a neighbor, right after I bake it. As for the greens, the only thing I can think of is to try to eat them when I know I'll be going grocery shopping within the next day or two.
I also wanted to mention an article I read this week about the truth behind "sell by" dates on foods. An editor from Prevention magazine gives the lowdown. She claims milk is good up to a week past the sell-by date, eggs are good for 3 to 4 weeks as long as they're refrigerated in their original packaging, hard cheeses will last 3 to 4 months beyond their sell-by date, and yogurt is fine 10 days to 2 week later. Read the full article to get the details.
Another thing the article mentions is that on average, a family of four throws out more than 120 POUNDS of food each month. I hoped that couldn't possibly be true, and checked the figure with Jonathan Bloom at Wasted Food. He agreed that the number seemed high, but reiterated the finding (from Garbage project founder Bill Rathje) that we don't eat 1/4 of what we bring home. So if the family of four brings home 120 pounds of food a week, then the statistic is correct.
Even if the figure is high, there's an awful lot of food going to waste! I've been inspired to do something about ours from reading Jonathan's blog and by Kristen at The Frugal Girl. I never would have imagined when I started this blog about going a year without buying anything new that I'd be taking photographs of spoiled food, but what can I say? I'm actually amazed at how easy it is once you pay attention. And if saving the environment isn't inspiration enough, so far I think I'm saving at least 25% on groceries.
So how did you do this week? Weigh in with your triumphs, confessions, ponderings, and questions in the Comments section. And please share any tips you have for my problems with wasting greens and baked goods.