Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Food: The Other Side (PART 2)

I had written this post on the 16th, but didnt have the heart to publish it, given that it was the festive season last week. There is a picture here that is disturbing, do exercise due caution if you are reading this with your kids.


Today is World Food Day. Observed in around 150 countries, its aim is to raise awareness about poverty and hunger.

Lets look at some statistics, shall we?

The population of the world today stands at over 6 billion. Of which, about 1 billion don't get a square meal every day. That translates to a whopping 1/6th of the world population!

Articles abound about poverty, hunger and malnutrition. But none can depict the horror of hunger quite like this picture.




Taken in 1994 during the Sudan famine, this Pulitzer prize winning picture by Kevin Carter shook the world. A vulture waiting for a child to die so that it can eat it.

There are numerous schemes and many agencies that have programmes to feed the hungry. Programmes that rely on donations, sponsorships and volunteers. And these obviously go a long way in alleviating the suffering of people.

But the bitter truth about hunger is that many people go hungry because of escalting food prices and an appalling amount of food that goes wasted - wasted by the farmers, by supermarkets, in the food distribution chain and yes, in our kitchens.

Not surprisingly, every small morsel of food that we waste in our kitchens has a huge collective impact.

"I follow these items with a moldy loaf of bread, expired eggs and five bags of shredded cheese that practically walked itself to the trash can. This carried on for another hour. Needless to say, when I was done, more food was in my garbage than in my fridge."

Ever happened to you? Much as I hate to admit it, something similar - though not on a similar scale - has happened to me. Those were the days when I was just getting enamoured by cooking and would buy a lot of things from the supermarket, hoping to cook it up soon. But it was never soon enough! And one day, when I had to clear out the fridge before going on a holiday, I woke up to the error of my ways. In this article, Chef Dayo Jones shares some very simple tips and tricks on avoiding food wastage in our kitchens.

But we all know this, don't we? I am sure you all have different ways in which you have successfully cut wastage in your kitchens.

My way? Have a smaller refrigerator. Now that really limits the amount of food that can be hoarded! Jokes apart, the one way that has really worked for me is to clear my fridge every week. Yes, every week. That has really worked wonders as I no longer have stuff that is lurking in some corner gathering mold. The other thing I do is shop for fruits and veggies and other perishables as and how I need them - even if that means making trips to the supermarket a couple of times a week. Sometimes, I even buy it from a smaller grocery store closer to my house that sells stuff at a slightly higher cost. In the end, it all evens out - buying too much at a cheaper price only to throw it off, or spending a bit more to buy what I need.

And no, I don't mean to imply that I run a super efficient kitchen where no wastages happen. But I am far more conscious today than I ever was on how not to waste food.

So what are the ways in which you have countered food wastage? Do share them with me, I am sure there is a lot more to learn on how to use food more effectively.

But the last word in avoiding food wastage? Well, that truly rests with the tight fist!



All this collection of articles making its way to Sra's The Write Taste.

I do realise that this is quite a long list of articles, take your time and read these when you can.
For these are truly eye opening.

12 comments:

  1. I've bookmarked this page. Wasting food is a v real problem I've faced and I've gotten better with it but nowhere near enough. I'm also one of those foodies who can't resist buying new kinds of food (and throwing them out years later) - but I really controlled myself in recent months. Thanks for the entry, Aqua!

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  2. Aqua ur article really made me think...

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  3. This one is excellent post! Food wastage everyone does with or without knowledge! If i found myself that I cannot use the veggie I usually cut and throw in the freezer!

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  4. I remember the Pulitzer Prize winning photo only too well, when for the first time my mom's cautionary words on leaving food in my plate turned to reality.

    I too had fallen in the rut of throwing away food, especially veggies, after they rotted. Thanks to T's nagging I too clean my fridge every weekend and try to use everything I have in the fridge or the pantry.

    I still sometimes have to throw away food, either because it languished in a corner I didn't check or I did not get the time to look in. But the incidents are fewer and I feel less guilty.

    Thank you for all the informative articles.

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  5. I have to mention on my last trip to India, we went for a wedding reception at a swanky hotel, and they had about 100 types of food (chats, appetizers, entrees, soups, dessert). People were pigging out on all the food and a few miles away there were children begging on the streets. I asked my BIL what the hotels did with the left over food and he said by the time they close it is too late to give the food to shelters. And by next day the food goes bad so they just throw all that food! I was beyond speechless.

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  6. thanks Sailaja and Bindiya

    Sra, I know exactly what you mean re buying new kinds of food. Sometimes, it is too diificult to resist the temptation to buy different things.

    Cham, freezing veggies is the best way to preserve it.

    Jaya, I worked for a hotel years ago. Though we were in sales, we had to spend sometime in the kitchens and the first thing that struck us was the amount of food that goes waste. Upon asking why it was not given away to those who needed it more, we were told that many a times, the hotels are worried about food going bad AFTER it is given away, thereby putting the hotel at risk of bad publicity or even litigation. If only there was some system of giving away food like the one in Singapore. Called Food from the heart, they distribute unsold bread etc from bakeries and hotels to set beneficiaries.

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  7. Nice artice, and thanks for the link!

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  8. There is a well known food chain in Hyderabad, that closes at around 10 each night. All the food - it is known for the biryani and the accompanying curries - that are left over are taken to the nearest mosque and served to the poor there.
    In Mumbai too, I have read there is a group that goes around collecting food that is served to the poor.
    It is a good gesture, but I always wonder how the homeless and poor can digest rich foods. It may satiate their hunger for a while, but is that the food they should be eating. I know, for them any food is better than going hungry.... yet, if they could have had healthy food it would serve them better.

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  9. worklessness http://gotuc.net/members/Electric-Blankets/default.aspx http://www.kindel.com/members/Furnace-Filters.aspx http://www.kindel.com/members/Vending-Machines.aspx http://www.kindel.com/members/Kitchen-Cabinets.aspx http://www.kindel.com/members/Slipcovers.aspx

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It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!

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