Food Waste — It's Time to Come Clean

by Katy on August 12, 2009 · 15 comments


The last couple of weeks have been fairly hectic at casa Wolk-Stanley. House guests, staycation, a debilitating heat wave and work have meant that I haven’t been as focused as normal. (And keep in mind that I’m a bit spacey to begin with!)

A direct result of all this was a fair amount of food waste. I’ve been selectively ignoring and reaching around the mystery containers until today, when I worked up my nerve and pulled out the moldy containers.

Refried beans, potato salad, cream cheese, dried out mini carrots and taco meat made their way into the garbage and compost.

An eighteen pack of eggs unearthed themselves from from the crisper, and were still a week from their expiration date, (which I know to take with a big ol’ grain of salt.)

The Waste No Food Challenge has never been so unsuccessful.

I decided tonight’s dinner needed to be of the dirt and buttons variety.

Dinner was:

  • Scrambled eggs with a small amount ofย needs to get eaten up deli ham. Chopped up zucchini from the garden of divine Nadine made their way into the adult portions.
  • Hash browns made from a slightly sprouting bag of red potatoes.
  • Homemade biscuits, which were quickly assembled with the help of my ever present sidekick, the Joy of Cooking.

Any lessons learned here?

Food waste is an issue that has to be constantly monitored. A couple weeks of slacking meant that a fair amount of food went uneaten.

However . . . I still have my crazy mad skillz to pull together a meal out of dirt and buttons, which will get me through most any meal crisis.

How are your efforts at decreasing food waste going? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@The Frugal Girl August 13, 2009 at 3:41 am

I totally understand….avoiding food waste takes constant awareness. It’s sort of exhausting sometimes!


Andrea August 13, 2009 at 4:43 am

There is an awesome site out of England called Love Food, Hate Waste that I think you would enjoy. It has some horrifying statistics, but great meal ideas and recipes! There’s one spot where you can plug in whatever leftovers you have, and it will pop up meal ideas. So cool!


BarbS August 13, 2009 at 7:07 am

I’m excellent at re-using leftovers in all different ways. But I still end up with more food waste than I would like… veggies that don’t last as long as I think they will, beans that get moldy faster than I can eat them, etc. It’s an ongoing challenge.


GLM August 13, 2009 at 7:09 am

Food waste is a nightmare for me. Partly because I haven’t been cooking lately, and eating take out. Partly because my kitchen is a mess.

Since I’m cooking for one, I do have some limitations, but honestly – it’s not that hard to get a package of chicken tenders, cook, chop and toss with brown rice and beans. Yet I keep putting that off. Ugh.


fern August 13, 2009 at 9:59 am

i do a fairly decent job and will shave off mold off cheese and that kind of thing. refrie beans go bad quickly, i’ve noticed.


jj August 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm


(also known as eggs and whatever you need to use up thrown in…everything is good if you melt a little cheese on top)


Angela August 13, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Andrea- thanks so much for the tip, I’ve been checking out that site and it’s great. I’m going to post it on my blog tomorrow when I reveal my “food waste for the week.”

I can’t wait to use the feature where you enter an ingredient and it gives you a recipe!


Heidi August 13, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Yesterday my husband came home in a grouchy mood and complained about several containers of leftovers which were close to turning bad. I was plenty annoyed, because I have saved us lots of money in different ways, and if I forgot about a few containers of leftovers, it’s probably because I’ve been working more hours.

You’re right, it takes constant vigilance to keep on top of food waste.


Karen August 13, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Yeah, the forgotten leftovers weren’t pretty this week at all, but I did manage to combine several dabs of this and that, things that still had some life in them of course, add some broth and make soup. I even put in the last of some very spicy salad dressing I had made the week before, which nobody seemed to be wild about on salads. So what was too spicy on greens added just the right spice to a dull soup–you never know! The family has no clue that I often make soup out of “interesting” items, and when they get tired of the soup, or it gets down to a cup or less, I use that to make sauce for something else.


marianne August 13, 2009 at 6:53 pm

i’ve been doing a pretty good job lately but it requires planning. im moving at the end of the month so my goal is to literally eat myself out of house and home. each day i go into my pantry, pick out a box or jar and figure out what to make with it. im going to try that website with what i have left!


TryinginToronto August 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm

I was sick the week before last and there was quite a bit of food waste. Annoyed, I decided to do better when I got well by cooking from scratch and buying just a few things from the store.

We’ve been making do with what’s in the fridge and turning out some perfectly nice meals. This morning I remembered I had company coming over and just made dinner from what I had. Fried some tofu, and made another dish from broccoli and last week’s discounted portobellos. I lacked frozen mixed vegetables for a colourful fried rice, so I cut up half a large carrot (all I had), added a bit of frozen corn (all I had), and shelled some edamame for a dash of green. Pretty and yummy.

I hope to make a curry with some discounted cauliflower and rooting potatoes tomorrow…


Jacquelyn August 13, 2009 at 8:00 pm

It’s a lot of work! I really have to be on top of it this time of year; I keep finding starting-to-get-soft veggies in the drawer when I go to put this week’s CSA veg away. So many veggies, so little time!


WilliamB August 13, 2009 at 10:50 pm

It’s a work in progress. My allies are stir fry, soup and eggs. And, as you say, mad cooking skillz.

It helps not to stuff your fridge. If you don’t have too much in there, there’s less for your food to hide behind. If you tend to forget what’s in the crisper (who, me?) then maybe it’s better not to use it.


Mrs Green August 14, 2009 at 10:36 am

Oh I hear you – taking care of the ‘fridge, vegetable rack and fruit bowl is like taking care of three kids; constant attention, thinking for them and forward planning is needed.

I agree too; a week with ill health, a busy schedule or just life getting in the way always sends my food waste rocketing.

This week has been pretty good – just one mouldy pear to my name. It’s still annoying, but there you go.

I love how you turned your catastrophe into something inspiring though and started to use up all those eggs ๐Ÿ™‚


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: