Why am I not eating my leftovers? – My "Waste No Food" Challenge

by Katy on May 25, 2008 · 11 comments

Not being wasteful is very important to me. I bring my own bags to the grocery store, I bike to the library, I recently even darned a pile of socks – you get the picture. So why, why, why am I wasting so much food as leftovers?!

Maybe it’s because my containers are opaque and I appear to lack the gene that would allow me to remember the contents. Whatever the reason, the issue weighs down on me. It takes up all the usable fridge space, making it hard for the fresh food to assert its’ healthy presence.

I have the very best of intensions. We eat in almost exclusively, and we make very nice meals. I put the leftovers in containers and stack them semi-neatly in the fridge. And there they sit until I get around to doing a rotten food clean-out. I vow and re-avow to amend my wasteful ways, and yet here I am yet again with a refrigerator full of blue ribbon science fair winners.

I am going to undertake a 30 day “Waste No food” challenge. My goal is to not throw away any formerly edible food. (Shouldn’t be too hard – right?) Join me in this challenge, you food wasters of the world and let me know how it’s working for you. I’ll check in with you as well to let you know how casa Wolk-Stanley is holding up.

-Katy Wolk-Stanley

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


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie May 25, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Katy, You are amazing 🙂 Thank you for sharing your site with me, and all of the world. I love the pictures too. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. I definately have the “work less” bug. I am going to be really excited when affordable health care in not tied to employment….. That will be an amazing turn of events.


Lisa Whipple May 25, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Katy, can you teach us how to darn socks?!?!?! I even have my grandmother’s darning egg.


Jessica Wolk-Stanley May 25, 2008 at 7:41 pm

I hate wasting food! I will join your 30-day challenge. I know someone who designated a shelf in their fridge for leftovers and I think that helped. Something we used to do was pack leftovers after dinner for my husband to bring to work for his lunch. When I was a girl, my father (who happens to be your father too) used to conduct massive fridge clean-outs and feed our not-to-picky dog Zelda a revolting casserole of rotten meat loaf, iffy jello and moldy waffles. So my question is: If you can make your dog eat it, does it count as waste?


Ward May 26, 2008 at 12:50 am

Hey KWS –

Nice reconnecting w/you. I like your blog. Re leftovers, we recently started a compost pile (no meat though) for all of those refrigerator science experiments. Hopefully, if successful, we’ll have something to help us grow vegetables.

Cheers and best of luck with your non-consumer efforts!



Joy May 30, 2008 at 6:21 am

I want in! This is the challenge for me right now as food wasting is a pet peeve and I can’t seem to stop doing it. I will start my 30 days tomorrow though, as I need to clean my fridge first and start with a clean slate! 🙂


Kristen@recoveringfoodwaster June 24, 2008 at 5:48 am

I’m right there with you! I’ve been blogging about this for the past few months, and while I’m still throwing away some food each week, I’ve gotten better.


thepennypincher October 17, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Fortunately, my wife is very frugal when it comes to food. Virtually only food that we have thrown out in the past year is half of a stalk of celery that I did not manage to eat in time.


Loretta November 3, 2008 at 11:01 am

Your dad turned me on to your site and I love it. As for the food waste, I learned a trick growing up. My mom and dad (both restaurant folk and survivors of the Depression) used to keep bits of leftovers in the freezer to add to soup that my mom made on Sundays. She also kept a container of vegetable trimmings–ends of the onions and even skins, to make stock with once a week. You can freeze or can the stock to make your homemade soup even more delicious. Bits of pasta can be made into kugels or fritatta’s–both kid friendly, cheap and delicious. Hey, I love the site!


Kat November 10, 2008 at 8:12 am

We took the challenge and we discovered a wonderful trick. I am a mom of 5, two are married and I have always made ‘way’ too much when I cook.

We have adopted a menu that works every single week:
Monday : Tomato Soup and Hard boiled eggs and grill cheese sandwiches
Taco Tuesday… we use chicken / bell peppers / onions / corn
Wednesday: Macaroni – n – Cheese
Spaghetti Thursday: we use homemade marinara with onions / bell peppers / olives / mushrooms
Friday: Fish and steamed vegetables

I only have enough for 1 more serving,it goes in the opaque box until Sunday. and then SUNDAY is Magic Soup Day and I chop everything up and add a can of tomato sauce if it is a marinara week.
This week was potatoes and swiss steak, so I added milk and sour cream instead and we had a vegetable potato soup. there is still one serving left, but that can be incorporated into a creamy sauce in the blender for a topping to something else this week.


Lisa Norris January 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I hate wasting food also, but it is hard as I came from a large family in more ways than one and have a hard time down sizing portions when I cook. But I have two labs who love left overs. I eat pretty good, so don’t worry about feeding them people food. I don’t eat beef or pork. Dogs love greens, favorite is spinach for all of us.


C. Snyder July 20, 2013 at 10:05 am

I use my uneated food waste for a mulch pile. This doubles as it allows me to grow more food, which I then can eat, dontate to friends, food banks, etc.


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