I was going to attach this as an update to this post on the amount of food Britons apparently throw out, but I’m so amazed by it…
Does this scenario sound at all familiar? You go haring off to the supermarket because “there’s nothing to eat”. You pile your trolley satisfyingly high — after all, who goes to the supermarket to buy three carrots and a carton of soup?
Me, but I live within walking distance of Safeway, so that’s not the point. Skipping slightly…
Fast-forward to five days later. You’re clearing out the fridge. Out go the bargain chicken breasts because they’re past their sell-by date. Out goes the second packet of organic fabulousness because your children refused to eat the first. Out go some soggy-looking carrots — what possessed you to buy three packets? And so on.
They don’t have freezers in Briton? Who buys extra chicken breasts and doesn’t freeze them? I’m assuming the organic fabulousness is some sort of lettuce which really doesn’t keep very long, which is why you don’t buy lots of it at once, but whatever, which brings us to carrots. Carrots don’t go bad. Just like in a root cellar, you put them in a cool, dry place (refrigerator drawer) and they’ll keep all [the modern-day equivalent of] winter. They just slowly shrivel. But then when you do use them they soak up all the juices you’re cooking them in, which is fabulous (butter, anyone?). They don’t need to be thrown out.
When I was at school we had to finish everything on our plate because of the starving children in Africa. They’re still starving, but it’s not a line you hear very often any more. Nor do many families sit down together to eat — the more usual scenario is one where children of various ages graze at odd hours, often without sitting down, peering endlessly into the fridge and helping themselves to random assortments of things.
This is a really bad way to eat and it surely contributes to the amount of food we waste: we don’t shop with a week’s family menus in mind, but rather pick out stuff that is likely to appeal to a collection of individuals all eating at different times of day.
This is what got me to make the new post. I know people exist like that, but there’re can’t be that many of them, can there? I mean, why would you do that?
The Wrap report suggests we have no idea how much we waste, but it is also true that we have no idea how much we buy. We just pile our trolleys high, feel a sense of satisfaction at the idea of providing for our families and are rather surprised to discover, three or four days later, that the cupboard or rather the fridge seems to be bare again.
Some of the blame for all this can be laid at the feet of supermarkets, with their stupid excess of packaging. I know that’s a different issue, but it drives me mad. Why must my avocado, which has a protective skin, be wrapped in special avocado shaped unrecyclable plastic pod? Why?
That must be a British thing (says the Californian derisively).