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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not, Aw, heck, just Waste Not


I'm currently watching the Food Network (yeah, OK, sure, I'm getting hooked on the Food Network). I'm watching a show called "The Big Waste" in which four famous Food Network chefs (one I know from "The Chew", two I know from "Chopped" -- one is a judge and the other was a celebrity contestant, and the fourth I know from watching a Thanksgiving special of his) are given the challenge to create a meal for 100 guests only using food that was destined to be discarded -- in other words, it was heading for the trash heap.

While I've been watching this, besides being overwhelmed by how much perfectly good, edible, sometimes even healthy, food is ending up in the trash or in the compost heap. While the food that they are collecting includes meat (like beef tongues, hearts and kidneys), poultry (like Halal chickens with wings that are broken in their machines) and seafood (like oysters returned by a good customer and a huge fish that was bruised on the inside), it reminds me of why I became a vegan.

I have been raised as an Orthodox Jew. I was always taught that we shouldn't waste food. We were also taught that we need to care about everyone, not just ourselves or our family. So when I read that it takes way more land to grow food for vegetarians (and even more for omnivores) than it does for vegans, I decided that I didn't want to eat selfishly.

At the end of the show (which I'm sure will be re-aired) they showed a web site to go to ( and I found this article called 10 Tips to Waste Less Food. After watching this, I realize I've been on the right track, but I still need to do more.

I think we all need to do whatever we can to help cut down on the waste. I think from now on, I will try to look past "looks" -- bruises can be cut off, not all fruits or veggies are perfectly shaped. This doesn't mean they won't taste good or be nutritious.

We in the US have become spoiled. We want everyone we interact with to be thin, gorgeous and perfect; we want the same for our food. I think we need to realize that, for food as well as people, perfection is not necessary, in fact, it's not even possible. Would you reject your friends or pets because they weren't perfect? Don't reject your apples or tomatoes just because they aren't perfect. The food we waste could help feed people who are less fortunate. Think globally and act locally shouldn't be just a cliche.

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