"Waste No Food Challenge" — An Update II

by Katy on June 9, 2008 · 6 comments

As some of my readers may recall, I issued a “Waste No Food Challenge” on May 25th. I was fed up my family’s mold factory of a refrigerator. It’s not that I don’t have the best intentions, it’s just that eating my leftovers wasn’t high up on my priority list.

We’ve been doing very well so far, with no gross wastage. Even with our best intentions though, we are still throwing away some food.

  • My 10-year-old barely ate the Cheerios set out for him before school one morning, and the soggy mess did get tossed. We need to remember to give him smaller portions.
  • Our cat, “Kit-Kat,” has an upper respiratory infection, and the veterinarian told us to give her canned food to increase her fluid intake. It seems that Kit-Kat ignored the family memo to stop wasting food. The glop sat in the bowl until it was all nasty and crusty, even though I had only served her half a can. Perhaps she’s only been skimming the blog.
  • I brewed a cup of tea and forgot about it. I tried microwaving it, but it was so bitter as to be inedible. Milk and sugar was added to try and disguise the blegh. It was a “hot mess,” and got the down-the-drain treatment.

Dinner tonight was an assortment of leftovers. The kids got home-made pizza with a side of grapes, my husband and I ate leftover chicken and rice. There wouldn’t have been enough of any one thing to serve to one and all. Perhaps Sunday will become leftover night.

I don’t need to overeat in the name of preventing food wastage. To quote a subliminal weight-loss tape my sister and I had as a joke in college. “You lose no one’s love and affection by leaving food on your plate.” Maybe it’s not just the 10-year-old that needs smaller portions.

North Carolina writer Jonathan Bloom is researching a book on food wastage in the United States. He has been publishing a blog called “Wasted Food”  since 2006. The blog includes such statistics as “Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption.” That’s a mighty large number, folks. 

How are you doing with your “Waste No Food Challenge” ?

-Katy Wolk-Stanley

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


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Whipple June 9, 2008 at 9:10 am

A joke? A JOKE!?!?!?!?!? That subliminal weight-loss tape was A JOKE to you?????

I’m hurt, Katy, I really am.


Jessica Wolk-Stanley June 9, 2008 at 5:55 pm

When I was growing up, I remember my family periodically having “Garbage Soup.” It was usually tomato-based, with lots of leftover veggies. Last night I made it and my kids loved it. I added a lot of noodles, since we had just seen Kung Fu Panda, which has a “noodle soup” theme. My son did eye the copious quantities of veggies skeptically and informed me that “There weren’t ANY vegetables in the soup in the movie.” I told him they were under all the noodles. He shrugged and ate it up with gusto.

On another note, my solution to the uneaten bits of cereal, oatmeal or the last bit of flour left over when you knead bread, is that I stash it in a container in our freezer. Later I use it when I make bread, pancakes or muffins. I know it seems sort of gross, but I just hate wasting, and it all adds up pretty quickly. Just don’t tell your family if they are squeamish. ; )


Anne Van Willigen June 10, 2008 at 6:58 am

I love your blog baby…although I try and coupon stuff for free and I love to buy crap. At least I finally figured out it was crap!

I have started buying frozen vegetables instead of fresh. They are a lot better than they used to be and they don’t rot in the back of my fridge. I especially like the frozen uncut green beans. I make it a point to use the fresh veggies in a couple of days after my grocery run. I also buy more canned fruit than I used to because…well…I like it. On Jessica’s leftover oatmeal theme, I save my leftover cooked hot cereal and mix it with a can of fruit and some sweetener and make cobbler. The best part is that no one else will eat it and I get it all. As far as the rice…I mix leftover rice with a touch of leftover meat, a bag of mixed vegetables (sauteed until well done to get some carmelization) and end with a couple of raw eggs scrambled…season with Kikkoman teriyaki…fried rice. I also try to buy romaine lettuce because it lasts for years in the fridge.


thenonconsumeradvocate June 10, 2008 at 8:06 am

Thank you for all your great ideas. I too am a fan of romaine lettuce. I clean it, cut it and then store it in the salad spinner (which at age 40 is still fun to use). A sprinkle of bleu cheese crumbles and salad is ready at a moment’s notice. I’m usually able to eat it up before it get that pink tinge.

I do have lettuce planted in my garden this year, so hopefully we’ll be having delicious salads all summer long.

Dinner last night was burritos which incorporated leftover rice. Super yummy, cheap, easy and filling. They even appeared to fill up my 12-year-old who has a bit of a hollow leg.

I am definitely lengthening the time between grocery store trips with my “Waste No Food Challenge.” Thus saving money, time and gasoline. The triple-whammy!

My refrigerator is starting to get a an echo. I plan a trip to the cheap-o grocery store today to stock up. (Winco, for all you non-Portlanders) They give a six cent discount for each bag you bring from home, but that my sweets is an entirely different blog entry.


Your Non-Consumer Advocate


Linda June 10, 2008 at 9:07 am

Hi Katy,

When my daughter was younger (10ish), she liked to play restaurant on leftover night. She’d use her chalkboard to write up the day’s specials & then she would be the waitress & take orders based on what leftovers we had in the fridge. She’d plate them up, heat & serve! This lasted a couple years but alas, she has entered “teendom” & no longer likes to play the game. Leftovers aren’t a big hit anymore either but we have 2 choices for dinner in our house: 1. Take it. 2. Leave it. lol 😉



Catherine June 25, 2008 at 7:38 am

Katy, I use leftover coffee and tea to water my plants. No guilt.

My family is not big on leftovers and I take the little bits of meat, veggies and rice, freeze them and make soup.


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