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Food rant : the one thing we can and should do to 'save the world'

Sorry, had to be done

1w ago

I'm what they call "a millennial", which means that I was born without the internet but I grew up with it and the change in sentiment about the environment because of the internet was evident and exponential. Awareness became concern and concern turned into obsession. Today, climate change is not a rational priority, it's not "important": it's an obsession, there's no two ways about it.

I have an opinion on this partly because when predictions are based on a sequence of worst-case scenarios, the prediction itself becomes an impossibility but chiefly because the solutions that are being proposed are often just dumb. I'm sorry, they are. The transition towards sustainability has to be sustainable, you can't turn the world upside down overnight. Not because it's wrong or because it's evil or whatever, you can't simply because it's impossible.

But (I know you shouldn't start a sentence with a preposition but whatever, all bets are off) like I said, that's just my opinion, and opinions don't matter. So what I thought I'd do is contribute to the debate by talking about a problem that's not being addressed as it should. Because we really gotta stop wasting food.

I was born and raised in a country where food waste is not, historically, a major concern because it's frowned upon and because the vast majority of traditional dishes in Italy were designed specifically to avoid throwing food away. You've probably heard this before but there's no such thing as "Italian" food because traditional dishes in Italy are always local. There are twenty regions in Italy and local cuisine in Naples, for example, has very little (if at all) in common with traditional cuisine in, say, Turin, which is near the Alps. Having said that, if you look at iconic dishes from each of these regions, I can absolutely guarantee that you'll find a festival of recipes for things like Panzanella, which is made with 2-day old bread, or Caciucco, which became popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s because it allowed fishermen to utilise unsold fish and, again, two or three-day old bread.

Food waste is something I hate with a passion because it's very easy to avoid. The fast food culture is certainly to blame but I think that there's another, much bigger problem and that's gluttony. I'm not a religious person but I think there's a reason why gluttony is actually one of the seven deadly sins.

It really, really gets my goat when people get more food than they realistically need or want "just in case". The "just in case" culture is abysmal. Just in case of what? Is the supermarket not gonna be there when you go back?

Here's the thing. Most people on Earth (statistically) have access to food but unfortunately there's still a huge portion of the global population that doesn't. If you're reading this, you're probably in the former category. It's a great thing. Being born in a country where things are civilized (sort of), the supermarket shelves are packed and there's enough cash lying around to cover basic necessities is something that we shouldn't take for granted. We, as individuals, don't have to get out of our own way and apologize for it, but we are morally obliged to at least respect it. So, next time we want to put two burgers on our plate even though we're only kinda peckish, well, let's not do that. If we want one more, we can always get one more. Unless we're talking about coffee of course. Because there's no such thing as too much coffee.

Sorry about the rant. Normal services with banter and hip hop references and quotes will be resumed shortly.

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Comments (3)

  • I don't approve of food waste. Anything that can't be eaten by humans in our house goes to the chickens; anything THEY can't eat goes into the compost. This usually involves things like peelings and apple cores.

    I was born on 1960, raised by parents who'd grown up in the States during WWII. That generation was very much against food waste (prompted by memories of rationing), and my siblings and I were expected to eat everything on our plates; if we did not, my mother would try guilting us into finishing because of the starving children in ______ (The blank was filled in by "China" in my days)... if that didn't work, we'd be forced to sit at the table until the food was consumed. That didn't happen often, my mother is a very good cook and we were very active (and therefore hungry) kids!

    When my own children were young, a new theory had become popular because of the increasing obesity epidemic: Membership in the "Clean Plate Club" was frowned upon. Parents were told that we should NOT force children to finish everything on their plates and in fact that anyone who wished to lose weight should always leave something behind . My husband and I thought that this was nonsense and taught our kids that it was okay to serve themselves only what they wanted, but that they would be expected to eat whatever they'd taken (if they bogged down, we didn't force them finish it then, but the food would be put away and warmed up for the next day's lunch).

    I DO stock up on shelf-stable goods, regularly rotating them out and using the older stuff so it doesn't go bad - around here, "just on case" does actually occur once in a while, usually involving lots of snow.

    I have no problem with the rant... words of wisdom!

      13 days ago
  • Puttanesca is another brilliant example of Italian cuisine’s refusal to waste ingredients

      13 days ago
  • I absolutely, 100% agree with your rant!

      11 days ago