Monday Giveaway — Jonathan Bloom’s “American Wasteland”

by Katy on November 1, 2010 · 102 comments

Another week has snuck up upon us, which means it’s time for another Non-Consumer Advocate Monday Giveaway. This week’s giveaway is for a hardback copy of Jonathan Bloom’s American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of its Food (And What We Can Do About It). Yes, the Jonathan Bloom from wastedfood.com. πŸ˜‰

Although I just started this book, I can tell it’s going to be great. And no, not just because yours truly is featured on pages 84, 85, 86 and 205. (Although really, including me in your book is a terrific way to get featured on The Non-Consumer Advocate.) This book’s in-depth look at the issues related to food waste from the farm to the kitchen is fascinating. And although I am the blogger behind the “Waste No Food Challenge,” I constantly feel like I’m the modern day version of Sisyphus, rolling that boulder of moldy food up the mountain only to have careen back down at me.

Avoiding wastage in the home is near to impossible, but this book will open your eyes to the bigger issues at stake when it comes to the subject of food waste.

To enter to win a hardback copy of American Wasteland, just write something in the comments section about your relationship to food waste. I will randomly choose a winner at midnight on Wednesday, November 3rd. Please enter only once, U.S. residents only.

Good luck!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy M November 1, 2010 at 5:12 am

I have been motivated by you and the Frugal Girl to curtail my food waste. I find that I am much better about only buying what I need but that on certain things I can never judge right. Salad stuff and fresh veggies come to mind. I have this book on request at the library but a copy of my own would be nice. Thank you.

Reply

Courtney November 1, 2010 at 5:17 am

I am getting better about food waste – eating up leftovers quickly and not forgetting about the veggies in the crisper!

Reply

Abby November 1, 2010 at 5:19 am

We do pretty well with food waste, but it comes at a price: I just don’t buy a ton of fresh produce, and we don’t have much variety in our diets. It makes the fresh things I buy in-season feel like real treats – strawberries, corn on the cob, apples – and they are cheerfully gobbled up. But the downside is that I worry we eat too much processed food, even if it is just frozen broccoli or canned tomatoes. I’m not sure it is the better choice for the planet, but it feels like the most possible option for us right now.

Reply

Mary Kay November 1, 2010 at 5:20 am

I often eat leftovers for lunch. My family does not dis-like leftovers, so if there are enough for a second meal that works for us too.We don’t throw out much food.

Reply

leslie November 1, 2010 at 5:21 am

I took a zero waste blog challenge this year and it has really motivated me to stop wasting so much. I do easy things like combine the last of a soup/sauce with the new makings for dish, or freeze the leftover coffee for coffee cubes. I’m not doing anything miraculous, but it makes me feel good to give a concious effort to reducing my food waste.

Reply

Kate in NY November 1, 2010 at 5:30 am

Wow – looks like a great read. I hope I win, but if I don’t I’ll have to pick up a copy . . . from the library, of course! πŸ™‚

Reply

Lucy November 1, 2010 at 5:33 am

I have always been fascinated by the topic of food waste! I know — that sounds crazy. But I love composting!!!

Reply

Annie Jones November 1, 2010 at 5:37 am

I used to stress every time I ended up throwing food out. But since we started composting our veggie scraps and feeding our non-compostables to a feral cat that has claimed our house as home, we have a lot less food waste.

Reply

Mary Ellen November 1, 2010 at 5:38 am

I do my best not to waste food… sometimes I am the master. Had a bad week this past one. Made a casserole that was inedible (over cooked). Just couldn’t be saved and had to throw it away:(. Love your blog.

Reply

Abbey November 1, 2010 at 5:46 am

I didn’t really think much about how much I threw away (especially food) until I moved away to college and had to start taking out my own trash… every bit of it. I realized how much waste I produced and then became uncomfortable scraping into the trash the little bits of leftover food that “weren’t enough to save, but I was too full to eat.” It added up to be a lot of food. Now I save everything that is still edible. And my roommate and I are starting a compost bin!

Reply

HeatherS November 1, 2010 at 5:51 am

Over a year ago we were without power for 5 days due to a storm and of course I lost alot of food in the fridge and freezer. As I was filling up garbage bag #2 with food, I realized that much of this food would have gone to waste anyway due to not keeping better track of leftovers and things getting lost in the freezer and left there till freezer burnt. When food waste happened little by little it didn’t really bother me as much, but seeing two huge garbage bags full of food being thrown out made me really ill and I swore it would never happen again.

They key for me is just not buying as much at one time of perishable foods and to be very vigilant about keeping track of and eating the leftovers and what goes into the freezer. Also most of my family is not a fan of leftovers so I have learned to match the amount I am making to the amount we truly need so that we don’t have many leftovers.

Reply

Kate November 1, 2010 at 5:53 am

I would really enjoy reading this book. We are such a wasteful society in general, I would be interested to hear what specific facts Bloom brings forward.

Reply

Janna November 1, 2010 at 5:54 am

In some ways I feel like I’ve made so much progress with food waste over the last year, but then some weeks I just blow it. It seems like every time I open the fridge something I thought I’d be able to use has gone bad. But I keep plugging away because I think it’s a crying shame to waste ANY food when people are hungry in my own city. Would love a copy of this book if I’m lucky enough to win.

Reply

April November 1, 2010 at 5:58 am

I always overbuy containers of sour cream and cottage cheese. I also buy vegetables with good intentions of eating them but they usually go bad. I find that making a menu plan before grocery shopping helps cut down the food waste.

Reply

kayduh November 1, 2010 at 6:10 am

I try to avoid wasting food, but I always seem to end up with something random left in my fridge. Right now it is buttermilk and evaporated milk. So frustrating!

Reply

Rebecca November 1, 2010 at 6:12 am

We have become much better about not letting things go bad, but I need to remind my family what they need to eat first. I have also just cut back on how many meals I need to plan. 4 nights of dinners is enough to feed us with leftovers for 7 nights. I actually like the zen-ish feeling of looking at my bare fridge on friday night. I shop on Saturday, and I can really tell what is left because there is so little. If anything remains from the past week, it becomes Saturday night dinner.

Plus its easy to wipe out the fridge before the new groceries go in, and everything stays organized.

I actually feel a bit panicky when my fridge gets over full, I worry I might waste something. But then we have leftover night, and send my hubby to work with leftover lunches, and all is well.

Reply

Jennifer November 1, 2010 at 6:23 am

I try to freeze things if I see they will not be eaten soon enough. I also compost everthing possible and give some food that is not going to be eaten (mostly by the kids) to the dog. Also will take extras into my husbands work, which gets scarfed right down!!

Reply

Laura l November 1, 2010 at 6:49 am

I have just recently started to pay more attention to my family’s food waste. I am trying my hardest to get everything used up before it goes bad. We are by no means perfect yet, but we’re on our way!

Reply

Jenny November 1, 2010 at 6:49 am

I’ve joined up on Food Waste Friday and it’s been interesting how a little mindfulness can make a huge difference! And be really good for the grocery budget! I’m interested to see the info in this book on large-scale waste–restaurants, grocery stores, factories, etc.

Reply

JD Jackson November 1, 2010 at 7:00 am

The best way I’ve found to reduce waste is to shop more often. If I go to the store every few days I’m only getting enough food for the next few days instead of buying everything in sight which looks good and eventually having to throw some of it out. It’s a problem if you live far from a store though, if you’re driving more often the gas you’re using might outweigh the food you’re saving.

Reply

Courtney F. November 1, 2010 at 7:04 am

My biggest food wasting habit is lettuce. I always buy lettuce with the intention of having salad for lunch…but it never happens. Normally with my veggies, when they’re getting ready to “turn,” I’ll chop them up and throw them in the freezer for later inclusion in a stew or something. But lettuce doesn’t lend itself to that. πŸ™

Reply

Julie November 1, 2010 at 7:09 am

I would love this book. i am truly trying to cut down our food waste. thanks for the inspiration!

Reply

Nancy from Mass November 1, 2010 at 7:11 am

I do my best weith food waste. I compost what I can, and I try, I really try, to make sure there isn’t much waste at all. That is difficult because I am a vegetarian and my men are not. I could eat the same thing 3 days in a row so it isn’t wasted…I have a hard time getting them to eat it twice. I try to not make as much meat, but I never know if they’re going to be ravenous that day or not. I would love that book and do read Jonathans’ webblog often.

Reply

Jess Barnett November 1, 2010 at 8:00 am

I moved into my own apartment in September (yay, no more roommates — except for my cat!) and am still dealing with figuring out just how much food one person needs for 2 weeks (I order Peapod delivery biweekly because I live in a city and thus don’t own/need a car). I have been motivated by you and The Frugal Girl to curtail my food waste.

Reply

Elly Hoehnle November 1, 2010 at 8:23 am

We do pretty well with very little food waste. We have also gotten better about composting scraps.

Reply

Elizabeth L. November 1, 2010 at 8:38 am

I am a recent convert to wasting less food. I started doing Food Waste Fridays at The Frugal Girl when I started my blog in February and have seen my family’s food waste decrease.

I’m looking to move out of my parent’s house (finally!) within the next few months, so I’ll be interested to see how I adjust to shopping and cooking for one and if it will impact my food waste.

Reply

Faith S. November 1, 2010 at 8:41 am

I semi plan meals dinners and lunches and we eat a lot of leftovers. I am usually really good with food waste. The problem I have sometimes is with buying too much produce (for just the two of us), but I have learned how to freeze produce and use it is soups and meals later on. πŸ™‚

Reply

Laura November 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

This book sounds super interesting, I might have to get it anyway (argh!) When I first got married, it wasn’t really a big deal, we had money that we didn’t know what to do with so we spent it. We wasted a lot of food. Now I am working from home and with a one year old in the mix it means we need to be a lot wiser about our money and our food. Running a day care for me also means a lot more food, and a lot more uncertainty when it comes to how much someone is going to eat, I guess that’s what I’m struggling with now.

Reply

Lisa S. November 1, 2010 at 9:18 am

Ugh. I threw away so much food this weekend. It just made me ill that we planned so poorly this past week. I find the best way to combat waste is to plan out the weeks’ meals and then *ahem* stick to the plan instead of being lazy. *cough*

Reply

Lisa November 1, 2010 at 9:28 am

We rarely have food waste. I cook most everything from scratch and sneak leftovers into new creations…such as leftover meats in soups and stews and casseroles. If something won’t get used before it goes bad, I freeze it for later. I try to shop consciously and not overbuy. It’s easier to prevent waste by not having too much excess in the house to begin with.

Reply

Kristi November 1, 2010 at 9:36 am

One downside to renting at our location is we aren’t permitted to create a compost area (even if we were on the first floor) so I find we get the stinky-trash blues more often than we should!

Our other main trouble is the ‘IS IT SAFE?!’ game…paranoia keep us from eating many leftovers, and we can’t seem to get past the idea that after a few days that container is teeming with icky things, even when we know we properly prepared and packaged the food into said container.

Reply

Judy November 1, 2010 at 10:04 am

Sounds like a great read! Food waste seems to be about the same as clutter issues. As soon as I think I have a handle on it, it gets out of control again. I used to have problems with cottage cheese, now it seems to be salad makings especially cucumbers. Guess we don’t want to eat as many salads as I think we should.

Reply

TraciFree November 1, 2010 at 10:08 am

To control food waste we eat a lot of leftovers. Correction: I eat a lot of leftovers. We’re a small family of two adults and a five year old who must be part camel because she can go for days and days without needing to eat or drink. The majority of recipes simply make way too much food. My goal for next year is to increase my Pyrex dish inventory so I can make the entire recipe, then freeze half for later. Brilliant!!

Reply

Heidi November 1, 2010 at 10:22 am

Food waste is a constant concern for me. Some weeks are better than others. It always makes me feel good and think of you, Katy, when I can “use it up” before I compost it.

Reply

Anne Marie @ Married to the Empire November 1, 2010 at 10:31 am

I battle this constantly. It’s just my husband, me, and our 2 cats. We do our best to eat up our leftovers, but we often throw too much away. I often will freeze part of our meals to pull out at a later date for an easy dinner. That certainly helps. And my husband does bring leftovers to work with him for lunch.

Reply

Melissa November 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

I think the people who use their leftovers within one day have the best solution. Anything that sits too long is just going to gel and then get thrown out in our house (usually in one big mass that makes a very loud thud in the bottom of the garbage can). As picky as my boys can be at times, I figure why not just serve the food they rejected the night before instead of laboring over new food for them to reject tonight?

Reply

Jeanine November 1, 2010 at 10:49 am

I have subtly started to decrease the amount of food I purchase, and it shows in the amount of food I don’t have to throw out each Thursday evening. (Friday is my gargage day)

I also speak with love to my husband who is the main cook and accustomed to cooking for 14 people as opposed to 4.

For instance, we started making chilli last night, and he started to use an entire 2 pound bag of kidney beans. I ask him did him mind half-ing that because I wanted to use some for later, and he did. When we finish it this evening, I will pull half of the finished to the side and let him see how much is actually left to eat. I know he will be amazed. Now we’ll have some to share with my mom and sister, and a whole nother pound of red beans for second dish!

Reply

Reese November 1, 2010 at 10:58 am

I do well with food waste in theory. I know all about it, keep an eye out for it, talk about it with friends, post pictures of it on my blog… but no matter what I do.. SOMETHING gets wasted each week. WTH?

Last week it was a jar of jam that had, I kid you not, 1 tbsp of jam left at the bottom of it. 1 TBSP! WHO DOES THAT? It’s like putting a half cup of milk back in a milk carton and throwing it in the fridge. GRAH.

I feel absolutely horrible when I throw out a loaf of bread, or veggie trimmings, or stale (but still edible for animals!) leftovers. I live in a huge apartment complex and don’t have a yard to feel aforesaid animals and don’t have a compost bin!

To reduce waste though, I’m putting myself on a waiting list for a public garden plot. I’m becoming a better, more green American by the day!

Reply

Jessica November 1, 2010 at 11:10 am

Food waste is pretty bad at our house. There are just two of us and a lot of nights we are away so don’t get to left overs until they are not so good. I have been trying more to think ahead and put things in containers that can easily go to work for lunch with me.

Reply

Leslie November 1, 2010 at 11:17 am

Why was it ever cool to say, “I don’t eat leftovers.”? My husband eats dinner leftovers every day for lunch. He eats great! Now that our freezer isn’t filled with meat, it makes it a lot easier to see what’s inside. And to use those things! I have several containers of homemade soup, pumpkin, pestos, cranberries, veggie bouillon cubes, corn from the summer, cubes of juiced lemon, lime, orange, and coconut milk, and whole wheat sourdough pizza crusts. My favorite day at the store is when limes are $20 for a buck. I juice them and freeze them.

Reply

Amy November 1, 2010 at 11:53 am

I blog about our food waste every Friday, and although my family has gotten better about it, we still aren’t as close to “waste free” as we’d like to be. I’d love to own this book!

Reply

Lindsey November 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Instituting a leftover shelf in the fridge and a leftovers night for dinner once a week has eliminated about 70% of our former food waste. Not perfect, but better.

Reply

Laura November 1, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Potatoes are tough – I have to keep my eye on them so that they don’t rot before I use them all!

Reply

Beth D. November 1, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Because of your link to his site a while back, I’ve been reading his blog every day. It has really made me think about every scrap of food I have to throw away and I’ve been composting a lot more! (and also taking less food at meals has helped me waste less and lose a little weight.) If I don’t win, I am definitely checking this out at the library.

Reply

Lisa November 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm

We waste a lot of food, but I am trying to get better at it. I used to make a whole batch of waffles. Now I make all we need for one breakfast, leave the batter in the fridge and make them the next morning.

Reply

Practical Parsimony November 1, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Sisyphus and a moldy boulder…lol…such a good image. NOT! Even though I like the think of myself as the queen of nonwasted food, I, too, find things spoiled. This rarely ever happens. But, any food beyond edible (think vegetables that are really limp or dried up) goes straight to my three hens and right back to me in the form of eggs.

Reply

Katy November 1, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Thank you. I was kind of proud of that “boulder of moldy food” imagery. Glad to know it was appreciated. πŸ˜‰

-Katy

Reply

Trish November 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I deplore food waste, and do my level best to avoid it, by freezing leftovers, or just consuming things in a timely manner. I compost any veg or fruit that does go to waste. Makes me feel somewhat better

Reply

Jenny, Plain and Simple Me November 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm

My husband is teaching me to buy less at the grocery store, so we can use up what’s in the fridge in a more timely manner. I’m also getting better at planning for leftovers, and freezing family serving size portions in the freezer so we only cook up what we can eat in one meal.

Reply

Issa November 1, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I don’t really make any food waste. My partner and I are good at cooking just what we will eat, and if there DO happen to be leftovers, we save them and eat them up the next day. Non-edible food waste – like egg shells, banana peels, coffee grounds, etc – go in the compost or to the pigs.

Reply

Tara Morrison November 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I have not met a leftover I didn’t like…well maybe leftover salad with dressing already on it, but that doesn’t happen very oftern in our house. I love making new things with leftovers. I feel like it is some sort of cooking show challenge; half a chicken breast, three table spoons of hummus, cucumber salad and a day old loaf of french bread????What can I make? The only time we ever throw leftovers away is if the get lost in the fridge or the were terrible to begin with( which is rare at our house). When I have to throw a lost item away I feel like I might as well be throwing money away. Food scraps go into either stock or compost depending on there variety.

Reply

Jackie November 1, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Growing up, my mom bought mostly packaged, processed foods, and was therefore able to buy large quantities of food during infrequent trips to the store. Well, I seem to have inherited the propensity to prefer buying large quantities of food during infrequent trips, but I try to buy fresh, whole foods. You see where this is going? I am just one person, and so I end up throwing out so much food because it goes bad before I can eat it all. I’ve been composting now for about 2 years, and have recently begun freezing stuff whenever it gets on the verge of going bad, so the amount of food going into the trash is shrinking, but there is still more waste than I can comfortably live with. I’m working on curing myself of the need to over buy and to instead go to the store more often. It’s definitely a process.

Reply

Martha November 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Our kids take leftovers to school for lunch so I always make more food for dinner than we can eat in one sitting, however I have to be careful if it is something I think the boys will not want to eat again, as I end up eating it for lunch for days…but that way we don’t throw much away and what we do throw away does get composted. Your column has raised my awareness of food waste and I would like to read this book.

Reply

judyyy November 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I hate wasting food. I always just see money thrown away plus I know there are people out there who really need food and are hungry. Shame on me!

Reply

Angela@beggingtheanswer November 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I try to avoid leftovers, I really do, but it’s not always easy. Leftover roasts turn into casseroles & sandwiches. Husband usually takes leftovers to work for lunch. I’m ok with produce, but lettuce always seems to go bad before I can use it all. What really does me in is dairy products – I always end up losing or throwing away half-used tubs of sour cream, cottage cheese and blocks of cheese that go bad before I finish them up.

Reply

Leanne November 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I get so frustrated that, before I can put the groceries away, I have to clean out all the dead produce from my fridge. I just keep buying more, and no one eats it! I need to get into some serious habits, namely meal planning and scheduled shopping trips. I know that this is costing my family a lot every month, and we simply can’t afford it. Besides that, it makes me feel ill to throw away what was once good, nutritious food.

Reply

Kate November 1, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I’m realizing more and more just how much I throw away. I’m still working to stop throwing away (what was) good food!

Reply

Rena November 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm

I grew up with “waste not, want not” values. My parents were very good at buying and preparing food that was not excessive. Leftovers were eaten in the same or different form. We hardly ate out only on special occasions. I now have three school-aged children. I work from home full-time, along with assist my husband and his businesses. Time to shop and cook is hard to do. If we eat out we spend too much and end up bringing food home that doesn’t get eaten. If I shop, I think big with good intentions to create a wonderful dinner. Fresh food spoils fast, frozen food gets lost and forgotten. I am consciously working on changing the way we live so my kids will learn how to value and appreciate money and food.

Reply

Charlotte November 1, 2010 at 11:08 pm

I hate food waste, and on the whole I’ve been pretty successful at avoiding it. It helps that I don’t mind eating leftovers at all…. I’ve had the weirdest lunches, composed of, say, half a cup of chicken soup followed by half a bowl of oatmeal. Anything that does get wasted becomes dog food (if at all palatable), or worm food (i.e., composted.)

But one thing I hugely struggle with is the kid’s lunches at school. They have to bring lunch from home. If they don’t finish them, the leftovers come back home, having been outside a fridge for 8 hours. At this point, they are just *not* edible. Does anyone have suggestions for substantial, healthy, lunches that can be without refrigeration for 8 hours? [Yes, I do pack them small amounts of food. But my oldest is quite picky, and would rather go hungry than eat a lunch she isn’t in the mood for.]

PS: I’m not a US resident, but could get mail via my US relatives. Hope that allows me to qualify?

Reply

Barb November 2, 2010 at 1:40 am

I try to only cook what we will eat for that meal. My husband however, cant seem to remember that there are only two of us now. So when he cooks, we have way too much food. He always thinks we’ll eat the leftovers for lunch, but he’s never “in the mood for it”. We also have a problem with our weight so I try not to “push” food we don’t want to eat. It’s getting better, but is still a struggle. I have started composting, so produce that gets forgotten about at least gets composted.

Reply

Jennifer November 2, 2010 at 3:00 am

Even though we don’t take pictures every week now, I do clean out the fridge and lay everything out so we can see how we did that week. Some weeks are definitely better than others, usually depending on my schedule that week. We are always striving to do better, and my girls are getting better at using lefterovers for snacks rather than always making something new. Middle one has even perfected the 1/2 box of KD cooking to help with us with our food waste! As with everything else, it’s always a work in progress.

Reply

Jill November 2, 2010 at 3:07 am

My parents warned that we would have to send our food to India if we didn’t eat it. This made ‘good’ plate lickers in all of us, and created several weight issues to boot.

Thanks for the opportunity, Katy!

Reply

Lynn November 2, 2010 at 5:00 am

I really miss my dog. I have a compost heap and a couple of guinea pigs for veggie scraps, but when little bits of whatever else need to go, I find myself throwing it out, which I never had to do before. Ouch.

Reply

glenn November 2, 2010 at 5:02 am

Composting and saving scraps for my chickens makes me feel less guilty, but there is still an embarrassingly large amount of room for improvement.

Reply

Jennifer Lorenzetti November 2, 2010 at 5:04 am

It is harder than one might think. I’m constantly challenging myself to use up leftovers rather than cooking new or to scrape the last bits from a container. It is an interesting problem that we living in a society with such riches that we think we can waste food, which would be unthinkable for the rest of human history.

Reply

Tammy S November 2, 2010 at 5:10 am

While I feel I am making great progress with regard to not wasting food, there is still quite a ways to go! But I guess some progress is better than not trying at all.

Reply

Robin B. November 2, 2010 at 5:32 am

Food waste is definitely something I struggle with. I have gotten better at freezing things before they go bad, but I know I could do even better. I’ve love more tips (like your shredded zucchini) and would love to know more about the impact of food waste.

Reply

Mrs. B November 2, 2010 at 5:56 am

We eat a lot of fresh food these days. That being said I also throw away alot of that fresh food. I hate being wasteful but I live in an apartment and we are not able to compost. I tried making a worm compost system..didn’t work. I would love to win this book to help me be less of a waster.
Thanks for all you do.

Reply

Dmarie November 2, 2010 at 6:17 am

Thanks for the opportunity to win what looks like a great book. I think I’ll also put in a “request for purchase” at my local library, so more will have access to it. A couple of years back, I made a New Year’s Resolution to waste less food, and blogs like this help to remind me of my goal. I have switched from plastic storage containers to clear glass partly because plastics are bad for us and the planet but also because clear glass lets me SEE everything in the fridge. I don’t forget what’s in there…how great is that! Now, if I could just “see” the whole contents of the produce bins; they’re my final frontiers.

Reply

Lynda November 2, 2010 at 6:59 am

I was horrified by the ammount of food waste coming from my home until we brought in the chickens, compost heap and worm bins. I now visit the local grocery store and coffee shop to pick up boxes of produce trimmings and coffee grounds to *recycle* into eggs and super soil.

Reply

Kristen Harrison November 2, 2010 at 7:04 am

My mother thinks I’m weird because I love it when my fridge is near empty, it feels so freeing to me. When my fridge is full it stresses me out a little as I hate food waste and I worry we won’t be able to use it all up in time.

Reply

psmflowerlady/Tammy November 2, 2010 at 7:24 am

Like most things in my life, I’m struggling with balance. I’m trying to eat healthy and local food in moderate portion sizes and not waste food and am not being very successful on any front. To me, it’s about regaining respect for food and myself. To understand that food should not be wasted, that I deserve fresh, healthy food and my community deserves the respect of my business over an agribusiness that doesn’t know me, nor care for my health. But integrating all these ideals into reality is stumping me. I admit, I’m a pretty good cook and I can be a very healthy cook – but how I can do that and not buy shipped in lettuce and not finish off all my yummy leftovers during the evening AND have time to prep the food AND be a single working mom? Sometimes it just seems overwhelming. Like the only thing that really can help me through it all is something from the dollar menu. So, I try to focus on progress not perfection and learning new cooking and eating and shopping skills. It’s not pretty but it’s way better than it was 5 years ago.

Reply

sandra jensen November 2, 2010 at 7:28 am

My husband has decided he likes to cook. This is great, except for the fact that we are now empty nesters – and he comes from a family that had NINE people at the table. Needless to say we have leftovers coming out of our ears. The freezer is stuffed full and yes I throw away moldy stuff that gets pushed back into the dark reaches of the fridge. If I win this it is going in his Christmas stocking! (after I read it) πŸ™‚

Reply

Raven November 2, 2010 at 7:31 am

Food waste and guilt. That’s my relationship to it. I feel tremendously guilty when I waste food. I try so hard not to, but last week I actually managed to put my avocados (sale!) under the loaf of bread and I recovered them too late. I was so sad, because an avocado and tomato sandwich sounded amazing. I lose veggies and fruits that way. I’ll just misplace or forget them and then they go bad. I’m definitely getting better. And I’m pretty good about almost always finishing my cooked leftovers before they go bad. (That’s probably why the fresh stuff gets overlooked.) There are only two of us, no kids yet, so I’m trying to get better at meal planning to prevent this waste. Would LOVE to read this book!

Reply

Bonnie November 2, 2010 at 8:12 am

I feel fortunate that my husband and 12 year old son are like garbage cans. They will eat just about anything and we are very creative in using our left overs and utilizing everything in the cupboards. Sometimes I get down to three boxes in the cupboard and a few potatoes left. This greatly reduces our food waste and we have a great satisfaction when we make something out of nothing.

Reply

Rachel November 2, 2010 at 8:26 am

we’ve been trying hard to cut back on food waste as I started noticing how much food from the fridge was skipping the step of the table and heading right to the garbage/chickens/compost.

i have cut back on purchasing…i ONLY buy what we will need and eat. yes our fridge looks bare and my 13 year old often whines about nothing to eat (you mean…nothing that he’ll eat 15 of and then still be hungry later!) not only is this saving money but waste (shocker!)

not that creative…but it seems to be helping our family quite a bit. and we are lucky that leftovers work well for lunches and any scraps can either go to our chickens or the compost. which i love =)

Reply

Melissa Wilson November 2, 2010 at 8:55 am

I make a weekly menu and shop from it as closely as possible. I try to plan my meals with the idea of reusing staples so that I limit the items I buy. And when in doubt, make a soup and chili with leftover veggies.

Reply

jen November 2, 2010 at 8:57 am

I’m the queen of freezing, because I know if I have too much of something, especially one kind of veggie, it won’t all get eaten in time. Someday I hope to get a chest freezer–then I’ll really be in business!

Reply

BethC November 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

I have trouble using up everything I purchase at our local farmers’ market. I go “oh, that looks interesting”, buy it and put it in the fridge or pantry. A few weeks later …. Out in the garbage.

Reply

krnewman November 2, 2010 at 9:56 am

We also need to look at ways of using things that are normally thrown away.

For example, the following are not only edible, they are delicious, if properly managed as part of your diet:

1. animal fat (just don’t eat meat in large quantities or very often and you can afford to consume some of your calories as animal fat, which is very flavourful. Lard, schmalz, marrow, these are all good and tasty. Just make sure to cut your consumption of meat down so that you can afford the calories)

2. Bones and gristle – soup broth. Nuff sed?

3. Vegetable tops – radish greens, beet greens, carrot tops. Yes, they are edible. Celery tops go great in broth or soups.

4. Peels and such – the peelings of onion, carrot, potato are excellent additions to broth, as are pea pods

5 Stems, ribs and extra leaves – cauliflower ribs and leaves, kohlrabi leaves, broccoli leaves and inner pats of stems, and the inner hearts of lettuces and cabbages are all tasty.

Reply

Missy November 2, 2010 at 10:35 am

Although I try not to waste food, it feels so good to now have curbside composting available. All my food waste (yes, including meat bones, eggshells, etc) can go in this container and be turned into rich compost in a high-heat composting facility. I feel truly lucky to have lived in two cities that have offered this fabulous re-use of food. Also, I hope to get chickens soon to minimize even what goes into the compost. I’m interested to read about the issue of food waste on a larger scale, though.

Reply

Rebecca November 2, 2010 at 11:11 am

My favorite meals come from using little bits of whatever I have in the cabinets and fridge. It makes me feel like a cooking genius, and nothing is wasted πŸ™‚

Reply

Patrice Wassmann November 2, 2010 at 11:24 am

My husband and I made friends with the manager of our local grocery store. We have a trash can out back now, where they throw out all the outdated bread and “rotten” produce. It is ostensibly for our chickens, but it is amazing how much of it we can use. All the bread is fine, usually just outdated that day, or not even! Lots of veggies get thrown away because they have a soft spot. They are salvable. The end of the summer I got so many red, yellow and green peppers it was amazing. They got washed, sliced and frozen. I have also blanched and frozen broccoli, and pre-peeled cut up squash. What we can’t use goes to the chickens and our rapidly filling-up compost bins. It is tragic how much food goes to waste in this country.

Reply

Patrice Wassmann November 2, 2010 at 11:32 am

Oh, another thing, those special green plastic bags that you can buy for produce really do help keep veggies fresh longer.

Reply

Shannon November 2, 2010 at 11:54 am

Ever since my toddler has discovered he’s “not in the mood” for colorful foods, I’ve been throwing out far too much food. Hopefully this book will help me recognize what I can do to minimize the waste.

Reply

Jason November 2, 2010 at 11:59 am

From “that’s gross” to “that’s lunch”…

I am a pretty blessed guy. I’ve never really wanted for much. I came from a comfortable middle class family. Unfortunately, my not wanting for much also led to me not value much. Food that wasn’t eaten at dinner went in the garbage. Cheese with a little mold on it immediately got thrown out. What? That tomato is getting soft… pitch it! This was my usual attitute until I met an old friend’s roomate. I can’t remember his name, but his example has stuck with me. Let’s call him Barry.

At the time, Barry was doing his PHD. I don’t remember what his thesis was, but I know it had something to do with the waste our society produces. His studies had “scared” him into a new way of life.

It was a common occurance for Barry to use food his roommates had thrown away, or were about to. He’d always shop in that section of the store that had discounted their produce because it was “old”. Barry was a scavanger.

Gross, right? Actually, no. Barry was the best cook in the house and regularly whipped up culinary masterpieces. “Soft tomato? No, problem” he’d say. “Do you think you’ll notice if I make salsa or tomato sauce with it?” He’d just cut that little piece of mold off the cheese and eat the good stuff. I was a little reluctant to accept a dinner invitation from Barry one night, but I have to say that he made an amazingly tasty meal – much of it with “old” food that most of us would have thrown away.

Barry had a lasting influence on me. Am I as vigilant as Barry when it comes to reducing my waste? No. But I now make an effort. I regularly check the fridge for things that are “going bad” to see if I can add them to my scrambled eggs, pasta sauce, etc. before throwing them away. I put less on my plate so I’m not throwing away uneaten food. After all, you can always go back for seconds. These and a number of other tips I learned from Barry have helped me to reduce my footprint, save money, and feel good about myself.

Thanks, Barry… if that was your name?

Reply

Diane November 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm

New reader here and enjoying the blog very much. I would very much love to win the book. All I can say is I am working hard at the not food waste thing but failing somewhat. Yesterday I did turn 4 very over ripe bananas into banana bread and didn’t throw them out. What can I say we are a work in progress. Please enter me in the giveaway.
Blessings
Diane

Reply

Kate November 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm

If I didn’t shop with (and religiously stick to) my list, I’d have a mountain of food waste. Instead, we make meal plans based on what we need to use up, and then buy only exactly what we need. Plus the occasional chocolate, which certainly never goes to waste.

Reply

Elise November 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I hate wasting food! One day a week I have “dinner from the frig.” We whatever leftovers are in there.

Reply

Ann November 2, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Why is wasting food more “sinful” than wasting other things? We shouldn’t have to use up, or eat up extra food because other people in the world are hungry. Why don’t we feel the same way about wasting money buying clothes and shoes? Who needs over fifty blouses, or pairs of pants? Who needs over twenty pairs of shoes, or more than 100 DVDs? Why aren’t those excessive spenders made to feel guilty? Why don’t we feel the same about people who waste gas and have several cars, or have more than two houses? No one says that we should feel guilty because other people in the world don’t have enough clothes, or don’t have transportation. Also, no one complains about senseless lawn watering when other people in the world have no fresh water. Just wondering. I don’t like waste, but food waste is the least of it.

Reply

Linda November 3, 2010 at 3:31 am

I hate throwing food away. I grew up with the “There are starving kids in Africa who would love to have your food. Eat up!” Even with that, I still find myself throwing out food. It is such a waste! We could probably feed the entire world with what we throw out.

Reply

Sam Jones November 3, 2010 at 6:32 am

I’ve gone from feeding four kids and a husband to simply me and my hubby. It took awhile, but I’ve figured out four sure fire ways to avoid waste…
1. Grow a lot of our own food, harvesting it on a daily basis
2. Planning meals around the day’s harvest
3. Eating last night’s supper leftovers for lunch today. That also avoids cooking more than once a day, since we make a crockpot full of oatmeal every 5 days and eat that for breakfast each morning.
4. I keep a list on the frig of what needs to be used immediately

Reply

Nupur November 3, 2010 at 6:33 am

Food waste makes me mad and sad. I try to minimize mine by making fridge-cleaning meals a couple of times a week, because practically anything can go into a soup, burrito or fried rice to convert leftovers into fresh new meals.

Reply

Connor November 3, 2010 at 8:48 am

Oh lord, I am the queen of leftovers. Fried rice is my favorite way to use up anything my daughter and I haven’t consumed, and I keep a bag for veggie scraps in the freezer that will end up being used for stock. I use slightly stale bread for croutons, bread pudding, bread crumbs, etc. We are on a super tight budget and while we eat really well I make sure that we’re not being wasteful.

Reply

Toni's Treehouse November 3, 2010 at 8:50 am

We try very hard to not throw anything away that can be used. I make a point of putting up anything on the verge of going to be sure it can be used at a later time. Would love to read this book! Thank you for the chance to win.

Reply

Jo November 3, 2010 at 10:55 am

I rarely have food waste, as it is hard for me to keep a stocked pantry. I live alone and don’t have a car. When I shop, I buy only what I plan to use immediately. I’m limited by how much I can carry. Fresh food and veg gets eaten immediately. If I don’t make it to the grocery store more than 3 times a week, then I am rummaging in the cupboards for something to eat.

Reply

greenveggie November 3, 2010 at 11:46 am

Being vegan, we are always buying lots of beautiful produce. That’s great, as long as we get around to using it all. I really have to keep myself in check so we don’t buy too much and wind up wasting it.

Reply

jen November 3, 2010 at 11:47 am

I wish I could say I don’t have much food waste, but I can’t. I am, as they say, “a big eater”, so I usually clean my plate. It’s the ends of bread and the half jars of mystery food at the back of the fridge that get me.

On the other hand, we often gather at our local artisan bakery to take the extra (and free) loaves off their hands at the end of the day. It’s an interesting mix of people: homeless men, academics, business people, moms, students. All vying for a great deal, and doing their part to reduce food waste. I’m proud to be one of them.

Reply

hippierunner November 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Looking back, I have realized how much food waste my family produces/ed and was shocked by it. I still am and cringe whenever I’m home and notice it. Living on my own, I produce zero food waste as I eat absolutely everything and anything I buy, which (as a vegetarian/often vegan) mostly consists of fruits and veggies that I purchase on a need-be basis. I would not consider wasting food ever as I can NOT afford it (can anyone?!) and would not want to be so wasteful.

Reply

Deb November 3, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I try so hard to avoid food waste, but there are particular things that always seem to rot on me. And I KNOW, even as I am placing the item in my grocery cart, that it may very well just rot on me yet again. But deep inside, there’s a game of dare going on. So into the cart it goes.

Cucumbers. I love them, but only when I want them. And apparently, I usually don’t want them enough to eat them before they turn into slimy water ballons. But I can’t help from buying one, and as I put it in my cart I tell myself that ‘this time’, it’ll be different! It will! I’ll eat it this time! It’s never different, I never eat it.

Ditto with radishes, and sometimes even avacadoes! Yes, avacadoes!

Why, WHY do I keep doing this!?

Reply

Jennifer November 4, 2010 at 11:25 am

I hate wasting food since that wasted money could have gone somewhere else. I’m always trying to do better. I think I’m much better than average and I’m good about using leftovers and re-purposing them. I’m not so good at making sure I use everything I put in my freezer however. Baby steps.

Reply

Gray Haired Chick November 5, 2010 at 5:46 am

I hate throwing away food, and yet, I have some every week. Usually fresh produce or mystery freezer containers.

You all have motivated me to 1) create a freezer chart, and 2) *use* those perfectly good freezer labels that I have.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: