consumingcostarica

Cooking and eating through a new culture

Are you going to eat that?

I am at a loss.

First, I had no idea what to write about today. And second, I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner. Hanging on the fridge door, I wondered what the hell I could do. Part of me just wanted to go to the store and buy whatever sounded good but that would blow the budget. So no, the fridge is not empty, something could be done. The merging of those dilemmas has gotten me to this topic; wasting food.

Everyone likes to think that they use what they buy. But lets face it, we don’t. Some estimates out there contend North America wastes about 6.7 millon tons of food a year. That is purchased and edible food which is discarded, and estimated to be worth about $43 billion. Crazy…but why? Some say it has been the long-established worry of becoming ill. If it’s a perfect looking apple it must be ok. That makes retailers of food not put out blemished items, culling food before we even see it. Then lets say you shop on Sunday and buy your pile of groceries for the week. Lifestyles being what they are with work, children, unexpected stress; you might not get to your produce until later in the week, sending some products beyond their prime and probably into the trash. Let’s face it, cutting around the soft spot, the mushy top, black crud, is not an option to most. Why not? Failure to wash your food (and hands!) invites more risk if illness than doing a veg-sectomy. Some tribes in arctic areas had been eating 10,000 year old mastodons and lived to tell.  So just eat it (just watch out for that funky orange juice.) And some people (gasp!) just don’t know how to cook, let alone store and save food.

I can do this. Let’s tackle whats been in the fridge the longest; celery and two carrots. Celery is sold with the green tops here and makes a great addition to soups and sauces. With a little trimming, I wash and freeze the tops for later use. What’s left I separate into two piles: pretty and no-so-pretty. The pretty celery I am going to use in soup with one of the carrots. The not-so-pretty and the remaining carrot, get tossed into the food processor with an onion to make mirepoix for tomorrow. Fresh parsley, frozen peas and pasta finish up the soup.

I have one eggplant left but froze all my homemade sauce and no bread crumbs. I crush some old crackers, bread and fry the eggplant with spinach and garlic, top with a mix of leftover cheeses, and Voilà! Dinner is served. In all honesty, it was not that hard and it took less than an hour.

                           

Don’t get me wrong, I love convenience just as much as the next person. Central America has these wonderful rotisserie chicken joints. Some are chains, some are mom and pops (the real good ones cook over mango wood giving the chicken a smokey sweet taste…drool). I will buy a whole chicken, de-bone the meat and boil down the carcass for a very flavorful stock. I can get at least three meals out of one small bird.  

I have included two websites that you should check out. Lovefoodhatewaste is an awesome site that is super easy to navigate and has a ton of surefire recipes. The second one is a list of 50 things you can do to waste less food. Tape it on your fridge. Even as I type this, a news clip came out saying world food prices are at a record high.

Rafa and I are decadent…but we are frugal hedonists. Sunday mimosas are much more of a priority than extra protein during the week.

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/ways-avoid-waste-food.html

http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

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2 thoughts on “Are you going to eat that?

  1. Alicia on said:

    Huh. Never heard of mirepoix before. Thanks for teaching me something new! Next time I have ugly old stuff hanging around, I’ll have to throw some together!

  2. This sounds just like what I did today! I got sick of the boys complaining that there was”no food in the house”. Ha! I cooked up some onions, sweet red pepper strips and breaded eggplant strips in yummy olive oil. I threw them in a tortilla w/ Franks & a little sour cream. Defrosted some lentil soup and everybody was satisfied. “No food in the house” is teenage code for “no easy-to-make junk food in the house” . Miss you Dawn. Keep up the good work!

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