Monday, January 09, 2012

Waste Not; Wanted

Last night, there was yet another new cooking show on television featuring the ubiquitous Bobby Flay and several other celebrity chefs. The premise for this particular program was interesting. It was to take food that would otherwise be discarded and to use it to prepare a catering job for 100 people.

The chefs were seemingly taken aback by the sheer waste of food that would otherwise be edible at restaurants, wholesalers, and supermarkets.

Did any of these chefs not realize just how much food is wasted in the course of a day as a result of various practices at their own restaurants? If they're concerned with the bottom line, they'd be doing all they could to reduce the food wasted since it means having bought too much food, allowing too much food go to waste, and then disposal costs.

In one segment, the chefs went into a supermarket where the owner told them that they've got all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables that are discarded because they don't look appealing or they dispose entire batches of items because some items within the batch are no longer good. For instance, if a batch of herbs is good on the outside, but some of the herbs in the batch are no good, the entire batch is tossed rather than trying to sort through to reduce the wastage.

At the same time, the same purveyor complained about the costs of disposal. Would it not make sense to go through the fresh items to weed out the bad items and repackage them for resale.

Then again, some of these items would find their way to soup kitchens and other charitable groups that use donated food that is past the sell-by date but otherwise remain edible (there is a difference between sell-by date and expiration date).

Still, it also suggests that I too need to do more to reduce the amount of wasted food in my own kitchen - which would save me money and time in the long run.

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