Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On Food, Waste and Roasting

Is it really surprising that the world wastes so much food?

I think of our own household, and how with just three mouths to feed, sometimes we get swamped with leftovers that go bad. I don't always try as hard as I ought to use all the bits and ends that our modern recipes and tastes have relegated to the waste bin. I don't like wasting food. It may be a reflection of wealth, but it's not a flattering one.

So I've started to hunt down ways to waste less. One way is by meticulously planning meals, thereby ensuring that food gets used up in time. I've been practicing more pickling, more roasting and jarring in oil of things like red peppers, more soups. This week starts our foray into the world of organic. (Yay, delivery service!) For several years now, I've tried to keep us as in-season as possible. It means cheaper vegetables, better quality and more creativity in the kitchen. Creativity always helps minimize wastefulness.

Lunch today is roasted tomatoes and onions on homemade bread, some cheese on the side. Dinner is in the oven, a whole pumpkin I'll fill with a creamy shrimp sauce. It's a Brazilian dish I've been meaning to make for years. The little man will get pumpkin, beef and watercress for HIS dinner. No shellfish for little mouths just yet!

The pumpkin seeds are being roasted, along with my lunch and a bunch of red peppers*, taking advantage of the hot oven. I'll put the seeds, if I don't eat them, into salads or granola. The red peppers will go into oil and be part of our tapas options when I don't feel like cooking. We just had a phenomenal chickpea and roasted red pepper salad that wowed the pants off my husband, and that's saying a LOT, being chickpeas and all.

I know it's *just* food, but I think how we interact with the mundane and the quotidian says a lot about our spirituality. Food shouldn't be an exception. If we care about the world and we care about people, then I believe we have a responsibility to treat food as more than just an energy source. We're no longer living in an age where food is neutral; perhaps those days never existed. The food we eat, and where we get it from, contributes to wars (bananas in Guatemala, for example), slavery (sugar in the past, chocolate, coffee and others still today), oppression (migrant workers, the poor) and diseases (diabetes, obesity, etc) among other evils. It also nourishes, sustains communities economically and is a source of joy. As a Christian, I can't help but notice how food appears in the Bible, as a sacred object, as a source of life, as a means of oppression or of celebration.

So as I wrestle with how much I ought to know about my food, and where it comes from and how it's made, I give thanks for it and for those that got it to me...trying to be celebratory and sacred with it as much as possible. I don't want to live on either end of the spectrum:

WHO CARES IF THEY USE SLAVES?-----------------------------------------------------------------------CAN'T EAT ANYTHING BUT FORAGED WEEDS I'm trying to find a healthy balance.
What about you?

*Oh my goodness, if you haven't already, PLEASE discover roasted vegetables! So so so so wonderful. Even the baby is a fan.


Ellen said...

You could give away your uneaten leftovers before they go bad to someone who needs food. Then it would go to a good cause and not be wasteful.

Were you thinking about the chocolate because of our convo in Brooks?

Krystal said...

Nice post. It is really interesting. Thanks for sharing the post!
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