It’s been about a month and a half since I decided to give up beef, and since it feels right for many reasons, I’m sticking to it. Next up on the Abstain Project: waste. I thought about this one morning before work when I ordered an omelet from dreadful Europa Cafe. I specified no bread, but they stuck in a foil-wrapped package of white toast anyway, soggy with salty butter. Whenever I get the toast, it goes straight in the trash. It’s perfectly good food — why is it so easy for me to toss it? My parents would never have dreamed of doing such a thing.
I’ll cop to it — I am a terrible food waster. If I can’t decide between the Belgian waffles or the eggs en cocotte, I will order both and eat half of each. At my favorite Indian lunch buffet, it’s easy to load up on a second
round and wind up pushing most of it around the plate after my stomach
finally signals its fullness to the brain.
Diet culture encourages people to leave half of their food on the plate — what an insult to the world’s poor! Not only are we total fat asses, but we also force ourselves to waste our food because we can’t be trusted to measure out reasonable portions.
Buying fresh produce from the Greenmarket gives me so much joy;
throwing 80% of it out at the end of the week because I hadn’t made
time to cook was always just collateral damage before. Even worse, I’m
a food hoarder. I’m sure I picked this up from my Pau, who buys fish
sauce by the case and wouldn’t dream of buying less than a 72-pack case
of instant oatmeal at a time.
course, as a single girl with a small freezer, this means that if I
impulse buy two loaves from Our Daily Bread as I did this week (I got
my standard sunflower millet but couldn’t resist the cranberry pecan),
I will probably be eating toast with every meal. Or if I buy a package
of sausage, I will have to come up with creative ways to cook and serve
it all week. I’m also going to start to put the preserved and dried
goods in my freezer, fridge and pantry to use — the saffron rice, the
dried Chinese black mushrooms, the canned Goya chickpeas, as long as
botulism hasn’t staged a coup, I will eat it. I’ll supplement with
fresh stuff from the market, but I’m going to make every effort to buy
only what I’m willing to eat. I’m really unsure what I’m going to
uncover in my cabinet. But I like this challenge to my ingenuity. (I may have to throw out that Mott’s applesauce though. That shit has high fructose corn syrup in it. In applesauce! The gall! And parents feed it to their kids thinking it’s good for them!)
unrealistic for me to say I’m going to save sausage drippings or fennel
fronds or anything like that — I just don’t have the storage space to
save foods. And I will not surrender my house to vermin. But I will
make an effort to use as much of the food as I can.
interesting to find out how much is too much. Is a dozen eggs an
unrealistic weekly purchase for one person who only has time to cook
two dinners a week? Am I willing to buy a whole head of celery when I
only want to use two stalks for a tuna salad? Where can I make
substitutions and omissions? What kind of reaction will a request for
a smaller portion elicit in a culture where more is more?
this also allows me to keep eating pork for a while longer. Truth be
told, I’m still not ready for even a trial separation from the pig.