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Food Waste Friday | Ahh, that’s a little better.

Every week, I post a picture of the food that has gone bad over the last seven days. Why do I do this? Because in March of 2008, I finally got fed up with the amount of food I was wasting, and I thought that showing my waste to other people would motivate me to use up my food instead of wasting it. Because this often embarrassing practice was so helpful for me, I invited other bloggers to join me in posting their food waste photos, and Food Waste Friday was born. If you’re not a blogger but still want some food waste accountability, feel free to participate by leaving a comment.

I don’t have a picture for you this week, but I do have to confess to composting a hairy tomato earlier in the week (it was so yucky, I didn’t want to bother spending the time to take a photo before I threw it into the bucket!). For some reason, the rest of the tomatoes in that bunch were fine, but this particular one went south prematurely.

Happily, I didn’t waste anything else and I’m not very over-run with leftovers at the moment. We do need to do some serious spinach-eating this week, though, or we will end up wasting some.

Fortunately, unlike lettuce, spinach can be used in a wide variety of ways, so I think I can manage this.

Edit: I found a box of OLD Cream of Wheat in my cupboard today…I bought it back before we were doing so well at not eating cereal (if I’d bought it this past winter, we’d totally have used it up), but it smelled very stale. I’m sure it would be safe to eat, but it wouldn’t taste good at all.

So, I wasted a tomato and Cream of Wheat.

Oh, and for the record, I want to add that I am totally and entirely convinced that the best and most responsible thing (from a moral, financial, and environmental standpoint) is to eat every last bit of the food that we purchase. Wasting food is wasting resources and effort and energy, whether we’re talking about a tomato or a cut of beef (though the beef is more of a waste since it’s harder to produce than a tomato).

That said, avoiding food waste is hard work…it takes constant thought and attention to buy the right amount and use the right amount. And sometimes, even those of us who are highly inspired to avoid waste still have to throw away food that’s gone bad.

Here’s the thing, though…making an effort is what’s important. Even if all of us only managed to cut our food waste by 50%, that would still make an enormous difference. We’d be consuming 50% fewer food-related resources and throwing away 50% less food trash.

Remember my whole “It doesn’t have to be perfect to bless other people” thing? I feel the same way about food waste and perfectionism. If you wait to fight against food waste until you can be perfect and waste absolutely nothing, you’ll never get started.

So, go eat some leftovers for lunch. Throw some wilty spinach into your scrambled eggs. Make some muffins with your wrinkly sweet potatoes. Cook up a pot of soup with your chicken bones.

And if you have to compost a moldy lime or you need to throw away some slimy meat, don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s better to compost a moldy lime than it is to compost a moldy lime AND some spinach and sweet potatoes. It’s better to throw away a piece of rotten meat than it is to throw away a piece of rotten meat AND a bunch of chicken bones and leftovers.

Whatever you do, don’t let perfectionism scare you into not even making an effort. I certainly haven’t….if you browse through the Food Waste Friday archives, you’ll see that I’ve had relatively few no-waste weeks (more’s the pity!).

But what you will notice is that I don’t often have pictures like this anymore. Or like these first food waste photo posts over on my old Blogger blog.

Yes, indeed. Progress has been made. Has perfection been reached? Nope. But I’ve wasted a whole lot less food in the last two years than I would have if I didn’t even try.

Hmm. That turned out to be a lot longer than I meant it to be. I thought I was just going to add a little post-script and then I got all carried away!

In short, give food-waste-prevention a try, and when you have failures, don’t give up or be discouraged….carry on, because less waste (even a LITTLE less waste) is a good thing no matter how you look at it.


How did you do this week? If you blogged about your food waste, link us up by entering your info into the widget below. You’ll save money, reduce your trash output, and get a little publicity for your blog! And if you don’t blog, you can still share about your food waste by leaving a comment.

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Miss Anne

Friday 28th of May 2010

I think you're lucky you got to that tomato before the rest were affected - good work. You mention lettuce, and how it can be tricky - agreed, but sometimes we overlook actually cooking with lettuce. Braised lettuce hearts (butter, water/wine, a bit of salt), frozen peas and fava beans is a delicious french bistro style meal. And lettuce leaves can be used like cabbage leaves to wrap up cooked rice and spiced raw chicken mince and then steam (little Greek style dumplings). And lettuce soup with cream can be very tasty indeed (warm or chilled). Of course, it pretty hard when the lettuce is truly slimy ...


Tuesday 25th of May 2010

thanks for the encouragement. i have never gotten into cooking, but would really like to. and thanks for the suggestion about focusing on one culture. there is a lot of information so it's easy to get side-tracked and overwhelmed when starting out.

Jonathan Bloom

Monday 24th of May 2010

Kristen, kudos for a) only having one little tomato go for naught, b) writing a post that really rings true on how doing something is better than nothing and c) having a fabulous new Food Waste Friday logo! Very cool--did you make it yourself?


Monday 24th of May 2010

Nope, I didn't! I'm completely and utterly clueless when it comes to graphic design. I hired my friend Kristen of Knitting Kninja to make some graphics for me (I have one for Q&A and Wednesday Baking and Saturday Grocery/Menu as well!).


Sunday 23rd of May 2010

@LenciB - I'm a devout `inperfectionist' now, I had a lot of reforming to do myself! I had to learn to accept my imperfect attempts and just enjoy the process.

@WilliamB - thanks for the tip on the cookbook!

My waste this week: 1 cup fuzzy green whipping cream; small amount of leftover cooked blueberry sauce; the very dried out heel of wheat bread (crumbled it & threw it out for the birds). Q: Does the heel count as waste if the birds ate it?

I'm planning our menu for the week now, and am trying to maximize what's in the pantry & freezer. I stink at menu planning, I don't know how Kristin is so diligent with it! I have no imagination. I'd like to know where people get recipe ideas from besides cookbooks? I'm sick of my own cooking and I need some inspiration.


Friday 21st of May 2010

Only one bit of food waste this week. A lonely plum I bought at the farmers market. It went bad before I hada chance even to eat it. I would say thats the only issue with buying at the farmers market.Some of the sellers will only sell by the basket or box and that isn't necessarily the best thing for a family of two. By the piece or pound works better more times then not.

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