(Don’t worry – more pics of the boys coming in a day or two!)
I’ve been doing the Four Pounds of Cheese project (#FourPounds) started by the lovely Jenni Field and it has gone much better than I expected. The goal was to document all wasted food in the household for a week. Truly, I’m shocked at how little I’ve wasted. Maybe this just happened to be a slow week for dumping moldy shit from the back of the fridge. In fact, I think I’d done a frenzied emptying project a week or so before.
I don’t compost. I know, it’s shameful, but I’ve never really understood how to do it right and don’t know where I would put it. Besides, I have infant twins and don’t have the time (This is my stock excuse for everything). Apparently though, composting food doesn’t count as food not wasted. If it’s food that could have been consumed by a human and wasn’t, it’s wasted.
Enjoy my leftovers!
Monday lunch: This was the remnants of a meal I’d made three or four days before. I ate all of it except for a bit of the squash/zucchini and one floret from the cauliflower. I try not to have clean-your-plate syndrome because it’s bad for my butt. But could I have saved this? It was already going on four days old. How would I have used it? Suggestions?
Monday dinner: I just got full before I finished. I do have eyes much bigger than my stomach but I will say in my defense that this is a salad plate, not a dinner plate, so there wasn’t a lot to begin with and, thus, not much wasted. Veggies from a steam-and-microwave bag (bleh), cubed steak and barley. We had a salad too and I ate all of that. Again, what would I do with the leftovers of this?
Tuesday: No food items tossed!
Wednesday: Onion peelings, a cherry tomato gone off, and half a can of garbanzo beans on which my yogurt sauce curdled. I wasn’t sure whether to include the onion peelings. Do those count? I was making a garbanzo bean thing with garam masala and a lovely coating of yogurt. The yogurt curdled or cooked or something and made a disgusting mess. I tried rinsing it off in the strainer but the curds were all stuck to the beans and wouldn’t fit through the strainer anyway. It was gross. I suppose I could have rinsed off each bean individually so as not to waste it, but fuck it. Both babies were crying and I just needed to get dinner done!
Thursday: Ok, this was a bad, bad day. I ruined all of dinner and threw most of it away. I cooked a london broil in the slow cooker. I use my slow cooker a LOT, and I know how to use it. The vast majority of the time the results are really good. But something went wrong and I pulled a dried out piece of crap from the cooker.
I was going to throw it away but decided to try to revive it in something saucy next week. I also tried to make squash pancakes. Another fail. I’ve never been very good at making pancakes in general. All of them came away burnt AND soggy. I think part of the problem was that I had too much batter and not enough squash. The taste wasn’t horrible but the consistency was all wrong and the babies were so miserable that I was carrying them both around while I cried and tried to figure out an alternative dinner plan. Oh, it was bad.
So I ended up throwing away a large zucchini, two small squash, a cup of flour and a couple of cups of milk.
Friday: No food wasted!
Saturday: Hubs went to Hardees to get us each a sausage biscuit for breakfast. I only ate half of the biscuit but didn’t even think to photograph what I tossed because I never eat all of it. This is a perfect example of how casually we tend to waste food.
For dinner We used the london broil I destroyed on Thursday to make burritos. I chopped up the meat into little pieces and then simmered them a while in some tomato soup concentrate, beef broth, and taco seasoning. I don’t think this was authentic or ideal but it used stuff I happened to have around, LOL! We didn’t finish all of it so I put the rest into a container, labeled it, and put it into the freezer. A lot of my waste comes from having leftovers in the fridge that I never get to, or putting stuff in the freezer thinking I’ll remember what it is. I don’t, and then it sits in the freezer until I’m sure it’s frostbitten and no good.
Sunday: Today was clean out the fridge day. I saved some stuff I might have otherwise dumped. I still threw away about 1/3 of a cup of spaghetti sauce. I’m not fond of tomato-based sauces. I used some of it for my dinner but there wasn’t enough left to make another meal. I couldn’t think of what to do with it and I was tired of looking at it so out it went.
The other stuff that got tossed was cheese. Now, I love cheese. Love, love, love. I love cheese so much that I sometimes can’t bear to part with it even when I should. The endy parts are Parmesan rinds. I only buy aged, D.O.P Parmigiano-Reggiano and can’t stand to waste a shred of it. I keep reading that I can save the rinds to use in soups or something but I almost never make soup. I decided it was time to let these moldy bits go.
There is a bit of feta in there that I was sure I would use and didn’t. Then I forgot about it. ugh.
The last item of shame is an unopened slice of Uniekaas Reserve Gouda. I used to be addicted to this stuff. I’d just cut off hunks and snack on it. As you can see from the close-up picture, it had a sell-by date of October 2010. um, yeh. My excuse is that I bought it at the beginning of my pregnancy and didn’t realize that I would develop a strong aversion to almost every type of cheese during my period of gestation (before this I seriously had a $15-20 per week cheese habit – I like expensive cheese). I kept it around thinking I’d feel up to eating it soon…soon…soon. I didn’t. I’m sure I’d love it again now, but this one had to go.
All in all I’m pleased with my low level of waste this week.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been weeks when it’s been really, really bad. I’ve thrown out pounds of spoiled meat, drawerfuls of rotten vegetables, and shelves full of moldy leftovers. Since I’ve been home full time that has decreased significantly. Now that I have the twins I don’t have time to shop much (do you have ANY idea what an ordeal it is to leave the house with two babies?), so I avoid the “ooooh wouldn’t that be good in a [fictitious] recipe!”
Plus, being at home gives me more of an opportunity to cook real meals. Instead of coming home at 5:30 or 6:00 pm and looking through the fridge in a panic, I can check the freezer and cupboards in the morning and do little bits of prep work and cooking during the day. Who knew I’d cook MORE with infant twins than I did before!
Thanks for encouraging us in this project Jenni!