Please bear with me folks. I have food on the brain. Might be something to do with struggling with our grocery bill. Again. Still. Does anyone know of a SINGLE food item that has actually gone DOWN in price over the past year?!?! I don't. Up, up, up. That's all they seems to do. It's like they are in a competition, seeing which food can reach the highest price in the shortest space of time!
I was reading in the Transition Town Tauranga newsletter about food wastage recently. Everybody does it, don't we? Throw out food, I mean. It's just a fact of life.
But is it a healthy fact of life? Apparently the Australian Institute recently did some research into the impact of food wastage in New Zealand. $458 worth of food is thrown out, per household, per year here. Doesn't sound too bad. I mean, it is sad to waste it, but under $500 somehow doesn't seem terribly wasteful. But then I read the nation-wide total: $751million worth of food is thrown out in New Zealand every year!!!! That's an awful lot of money being chucked away. Imagine what we could do in our communities with money like that. Imagine if every family in NZ were given a cheque for $458 just before Christmas this year. ***Later edited to add: In talking over these figures with Boyo I just feel so sure that they are too low! I've read so many times that estimates indicate we (in the western, developed world) throw out way more food than that - possibly as much as 30 or 40%!!!! So for us, spending around $500 a month on food, that would be more like a whopping $1,800NZ a year (at 30%)!!! But either way, we waste a whole lot of perfectly usable food.
I guess what saddens me most about statistics like this is the knowledge that in a world of great abundance, with a species so intelligent, resourceful, and ingenious (that's us: humans), there are as many as 1billion people starving. One in six people on planet earth don't have enough of the basics of food, water and hygiene. While here we are in the developed, western world mostly eating ourselves to death (heart disease, diabetes, obesity: so many link to overeating and poor diet choices). There's actually enough food in the world to feed us ALL not just once, but one and a half times over. I think my dad even read recently that someone reckons that if everyone in suburban USA started growing food in their backyards, they could feed the whole world! Just the USA.
Back to food wastage. I am trying to waste less. To use more. To be grateful that we have food to eat, rather than mumbling and complaining about what we don't have. This requires greater creativity from me. I can't just decide I 'don't feel like' using something. It means greater organisation too (I wonder if this is a large part of how much food we waste as a culture - we are too busy doing other things to check what's going on in our fridges?!). I used some apple in a soup recently. Felt good about that. Threw out some casserole and other stuff yesterday. Did not feel good about that lot at all. But I'm trying.
So, in the generosity of sharing, what's the weirdest leftover you have ever used (or the strangest way you have ever used it?)?