Sunday, August 7, 2011

Four Pounds Round-Up

The week that has required me to record all of my food waste for everyone who may read this post has passed, so now it's time to 'fess up and show off how much I actually threw away.
But first, a few words.  I'd like to thank the Academy... wait - wrong speech.
Multiply by 5
This wasn't a completely unbiased experiment  In true Hawthorne Effect fashion, I made conscious efforts to NOT throw things out.  Sometimes it was because I was truly mortified and even ashamed that I would normally do so; a couple of times it was because I wasn't sure where the camera was and didn't want to hunt around, leaving said food scraps unattended, which would actually result in no food scraps, if Zooey was at this same time left to her own devices.  But I knew that I was documenting what was getting tossed, and I didn't want to look bad.  So please note that what I am posting here is most certainly not the norm in our house, although after this week it is my objective that it should be.
I did end up learning a few things in this week.  The first one is that while I have uploaded pictures detailing what was thrown in the compost bin (as opposed to being thrown in the freezer to make stock at some undetermined future date), I don't really count that as food waste, as I know that it's being used and reused.  So that's it's own "category," I think.  It is good to note how much we are composting so that we can look at ways to step that back a bit in order that we don't lug overflowing, stinky bins to my mother-in-law's house again (seriously, what was delivered this week could have knocked a buzzard off a... well, you get the idea).  When I have to toss in an entire veggie because it just went unused, that's not OK.  A rind or bit of something - I get it; that's gonna happen.  But it's sheer laziness or messiness or both to not utilize an apple or squash and then pitch it.  Not to mention it's totally like setting fire to the few dollars I happen to have in my waller on occasion.
Another thing I learned was that two-year-olds do NOT get the concept of food waste.  Try as I might, HRH refused to help me out by finishing her spaghetti or her second Nutri-grain® bar, which she insisted on having and then rejected after two bites.  I think she even may have found a little glee in having Daddy make her a serving of macaroni and cheese only to say, "All done!" the second her offered it to her.  And it was a lovely presentation, too, in her favorite Dora butterfly-shaped bowl (why the heck did I get that?  It's kind of a pain to wash).  Oh, and before you say, "You could have kept it for later," let me state on record that HRH will NOT eat leftovers of any kind, with perhaps the exception of spaghetti that isn't really "leftover" but more "Mommy made a ton to have in the fridge so there is less meltdown time when spaghetti is requested NOW."  Hopefully I can work to educate my daughter that food is something that we need to take caution with so that she can make healthy and appropriate choices in her meals once she stops requiring a bib to "slurp the spaghetti" (thank you, Olivia the Pig).
I am quite glad that I took part in the Four Pounds of Cheese Project so that I could take a good, hard look at how my family deals with food waste.  I've decided to try meal plans once again; often they are abandoned when Scott works late on an evening that I didn't think he was going to, but I'm willing to give it the ol' college try so that we can make wiser food purchases in order to reduce waste that way, too.  I actually did it today, but then panicked at the store when I realized we had nothing for tonight's supper on that plan, so I bought some salmon.  Then when I got home and Scott told me he wasn't hungry since we did, after all, eat a late lunch, I realized that I wasn't really hungry, either, so I'm off to  a rocky start, but many teams have battled back from the brink of elimination only to go all the way.  Or at least that's what ESPN will have me think.  So it can work for me, too.  And reducing food waste before it happens, well, that's the key, now, isn't it?
And now for the photos...

Inescapable Foods that I Pitched in the Trash (the reason behind the Project)

Refried beans from hubby's late-night snack

Remains of the Lunch

Quinoa and tomatoes

More quinoa - in two pans.  REALLY?  Slob.

Draining liquids can also be wasteful.  While I'm not sure what
I could do with chickpea liquid, the tomato juice should
have been a no-brainer (clearly, I was a no-brainer).
Not quite 4 pounds of cheese

Compostable Items That Were, in Fact, Composted

My first toss - I mourned the loss of these
sweet, sweet grape 'maters.

The melon went straight into HRH's mouth.

And then she ate three more pieces,
polishing off the rest of our melon.

Green onion tops that were a little questionable.

A half an Armenian cuke and an apple.
Tsk! Tsk!

Toddler Throw-Aways

Even a carb queen will toss Goldfish® and tortilla chips.

So gross when it congeals.

I could have eaten it, but I do not like Nutri-Grain® bars.

Usually eaten in its entirety - a chocolate-peanut butter sammy
(once again, thanks to Olivia the Pig)

More chips and the un-slurped spaghetti


  1. I must say, I am really impressed--and inspired--by the wee bit of waste you guys generated. Thank you so much for participating and for helping to get the word out about curbing our food waste.

  2. I agree, my week was probably less wasteful than usual, though really not by much. I keeping waste at this week's level is a good goal!

  3. Yeah a significant part of what I had to throw out that week was from my five year old, who DOES get waste and saving the planet and all that, but still wasn't going to eat the bun on a cheeseburger she got at her art camp.

    I actually tried really hard to be accurate and not avoid waste any more than usual. If anything, I over-compensated the other way and counted discarded sprinkles. :)

  4. Hey now! I did 4 pounds of cheese as well. I surprised myself with how little got booted. I didn't do a fridge/cabinet clean before I started and promised myself I wouldn't postpone something getting tossed. Most of what went was little trim bits and they got composted. I checked in with the creator of the project and agreed it is more the throw out because of poor planning that's the big eye opener. I live on a bustling Phoenix block and we are down to one kid from 5. That means popping into Sunflower market or Fresh And Easy is very practical. I don't have the logistic issues of food waste we did when there were more people in the house. Then, there's our portly labrador that happily consumes sandwich ends and last spoonfuls of casseroles. Nice blog! :)