Fancy tarts undressed: 7th-13th Jan

posted Jan 17, 2012, 3:58 AM by Dinner Lady   [ updated May 10, 2012, 1:28 AM ]
At the weekend I had the rare excitement of going out to the pub with my sister who was on a brief trip back from her new home in Malawi.  As I had suspected, I gained an interesting insight into the whole topic of our family's food challenge, my sister having worked on food systems in a previous job.  I realised how many assumptions I have made when making my "ethical" choices. By choosing "local and seasonal", what about the ethics of supporting developing countries?  Does shunning the "bad boy" corporations really make a difference: could we instead acknowledge them and work to make them slightly less bad?  It is so easy to follow the latest "fad" or band wagon, sometimes at the expense of what the (hopefully) more objective scientists might tell us. Because even if we Dinner Ladies have the time to read the science in detail, we may not know where to find it.  Complex issues, and the list of further reading my sister offered me was even more complex.   

Since sharing this site with friends and family I have been so inspired by the lovely comments and feedback I have received. Thank you. Most of all, I realise how many fellow Dinner Ladies grapple at the micro level with these same issues on a daily basis.  How do we each define "ethical"?  How do we balance the needs of the world with the need to look after our local environment and with the demands of our respective families?  How do we make sure that what we buy is ethical, good value, appealing and healthy? There certainly seems to be no clear right or wrong. 
However, the ethics of the situation I found myself in on Tuesday late afternoon must be wrong. I have always fantasised about cakes and pastries.  As a child I could never make up my mind which one to choose when my mother took us, as a rare treat, to the baker.  This week I treated myself to a trip to our local French patisserie.  I was hosting a birthday lunch party and thought a beautiful selection of little tarts and cakes would be a luxurious finishing touch.  I made my order, and was reassured that if I came back the next day they would be fresher. I innocently asked what happened to the (over 50) ones still on the counter at the end of the day.  My heart started pounding when they told me it all got thrown out.  

I felt sick from guilt, gluttony and worry, rather than the rather large cherry franzipan I had just stuffed.  Every night.  Literally hundreds of perfectly good fresh cakes and tarts tossed out to rot.  Every night.  Elsewhere, millions of families going to bed hungry.  Every night.  And then I got thinking that this is one shop, in one city, in one country, on one night. 

rotten or gone off - third of cucumber which froze in fridge; 1 green pepper - UK grown - how precious!; several slices of bread

left on our plates - 4 tbsp mushrooms - tasted foul

left overs I have forgotten to use up - 5 tbsp onion sauce, 5 tbsp pasta and bacon, 10 tablespoon brown rice

Oh dear.  Like the French patisserie, I have not done very well this week. Need to look in the fridge more often and peer to the back of each shelf.


Carry forward              £129.00

Supermarket                £3
Local food market          £30.00
Vegetable box              £25.90

Total January so far       £187.90