Conscientious Cook: Mindfulness about Waste

Refrigerators are our tombs. I spent the past weekend at Slow Food Nation and returned home with this statement from Carlo Petrini ringing in my head.

posted originally from: AT:Kitchen

Speaking on a panel about the philosophy of Slow Food, Petrini, the movement's founder, exhorted us to "try every day to consume a little bit less." Hand in hand with over-consumption is waste, and we can start to tackle the problem by examining the contents of our own refrigerators. Dig out the "Jurassic Park rabbit" and stash of old parsley (if there's a rotten leaf, just cut that part off), Petrini urged. Cook it, and feed any leftovers to the homeless.

While I'd like to think my refrigerator has not yet reached tomb-status, I know there are ways I can be more mindful of my food consumption and waste. With so much beautiful and delicious produce at my farmers' market, I sometimes get carried away and buy more than my boyfriend and I can really eat that week. Other times, I have discarded a reasonably good piece of fruit because of a little mold, or failed to see the stock-making potential of vegetable scraps. The bunches of parsley and cilantro that I buy at the farmers' market are so generous that I always end up with more than I can use (or think I can use; perhaps I can re-examine my definition of inedible). I feel good about that fact that my food scraps go into my compost bin rather than the landfill but, the truth is, I can do more.

I'm going to start by revisiting some of the Kitchn posts on the topic of food waste and refrigerator management:

Tips and Tricks: How to Avoid Wasting Food
Good Question: Do Fridge Crisper Drawers Really Work?
How To: Use Up Overripe Fruit
Recipes Gone Wrong: What To Do with Inedible Dishes?
Weekend Projects: Seven Tips for Managing Your CSA

And if I still find myself with too many apples or leftovers on my hands, I'll share with friends and my homeless neighbors down the street. As for the excess amounts of parsley and cilantro, I'm considering growing my own or splitting the bunches I buy with friends. So many of you provided good tips in our previous post about how to avoid wasting food. Feel free to share more in the comments!

(Image: Flickr member edcrowle licensed under Creative Commons)