Rage, not waste: 14th-20th April

posted Apr 25, 2012, 5:41 AM by Dinner Lady   [ updated May 10, 2012, 1:45 AM ]
Sometimes I think our Four and a half bellies challenge is great and I am proud of all that we are achieving and of what the children are learning.  After my mother's birthday party last month, Maths Geek looked at all the left overs on the side board and sighed, shaking his head.  "Will all this food just be wasted?" And he and my mother discussed how we could use it as left overs, freeze some and offer it to friends.  Other times I am slightly embarrassed by our challenge. Like the time when he ordered the plumber, who was fixing our leaking tap, "Please don't keep the water on, Mum doesn't like waste".  And sometimes I don't know what to think.  A few weeks ago, I came home from picking up The Naughty Knight from nursery. I was muttering that the staff had thrown out the yoghurt and stewed apple I had sent in for his supper because they had forgotten to put it in the fridge. Maths Geek burst into uncontrollable sobs.  "But that is ...is...is...just terrible" he cried, "How dare they waste the food?" And on he ranted.  I wondered whether I had taken the challenge too far.  

Much as I mutter about others, I still continue to throw out too much food, such as the taramasalata and hummus I bought, caving in to Maths Geek's plea for it during the Easter holiday.  But I have definitely improved my habits and throw out much less than I used to, for many reasons.   Partly because my writing down all that I throw out has helped me become more aware of whether it is buying too much, portion control or managing left overs that is my waste problem. Partly because I buy less in the first place, steering clear of large plastic bags of cheap fruit and veg which leave me with too much produce and too much guilt when it eventually moulds. I am also being more vigilant about what food we have in the fridge and the larder and using stuff up before it crawls to the bin.  I have also learned that it is trapping food in plastic bags that produces all the dangerous methane and carbon dioxide gases. And so every time I spoon left overs into the black plastic bag in the kitchen bin I cannot but visualise these gases strangling and slowly killing us.  Motivating much of this behaviour, besides an intrinsic desire to do good, is a terror that you, my fellow Dinner Ladies, will tick me off when you read the weekly waste log. I am naming and shaming myself.  
We are regularly cautioned with horrifying statistics about the vast amount of food waste, most of which can be avoided, we householders produce. And according to Love Food Hate Waste we householders produce about half of the nation's total food waste.  Frightening in some aspects, but heartening, in that we can actually do something about this.  Many websites which aim to help us to reduce our food waste advise us that we should plan our weekly meals, look to see what we already have in the larder, write a shopping list accordingly and never deviate from it.  We should shop when our bellies are full and without pesky children who nag us to buy their favourite food.  Or if we have to take our children, we should also bring along nerves of steel.  How right the websites are.  The taramasalata that I buy under pressure from Maths Geek always gets thrown out, despite my vows never to buy it again, and when I do, despite my promises that we will eat it all up.  

rotten or gone off - 1 tbsp taramasalata; half tub hummus

left on our plates - 3 tbsp PB's supper; skin of half jacket potato

left overs I have forgotten to use up - 4 tbsp rice - had reused it so many times, I did not think I should use it again; 1 tbsp mashed potato and swede 


Carry forward          £ 0
Local supermarket      £ 8
Butcher                £ 19.65
Fish monger            £ 16.72
Total this week     £ 44.37

I have decided to log our spending by week this month, as I had a holiday from logging costs for the first two weeks.