Despite working in advertising, where our job is to drive consumers to consume, I do worry about excessive consumption. Australian’s spend $10.5 billion a year on food we don’t eat, CDs we don’t listen to, clothes we don’t wear and books we don’t read. That’s $1,200 per household. Clive Hamilton dubs this ‘unethical consumption’ in his book Requiem For A Species.
We’re certainly (and sadly) no exception, but I try really, really hard not to waste food as I consider it the most unethical. An unworn dress can be donated to charity to be cherished and worn by someone else, but uneaten food – especially if it goes into landfill instead of compost, just creates, well, more landfill.
If you think of the resources used to produce food – water, agricultural equipment, processing, packaging and transport – that tub of yoghurt I just hurled into the bin represents far more waste than the plastic container and some curdled milk. Sometimes it really doesn’t bear thinking about.
According to the website Homelife, Australian’s toss out 145kg of food per year, for every man, woman and child. OMG. (Hit the link to get the shocking details of what that's made up of...)
So in an attempt to avoid such wastage I do try, although I confess not with complete success, to use what’s in the fridge; to love my left-overs.
We had a brunch one weekend that left cooked spinach, mushrooms and baked tomatoes (not surprisingly the eggs and bacon were all eaten!). I chopped them up, popped them in an oven proof dish, made a frittata base with eggs, milk, some mixed herbs, salt and pepper, topped it with cheese and baked in the dish, in a roasting pan with a couple of centimetres of water in it (it just cooks the egg mix more gently so it stays juicy and doesn’t go rubbery). I can only guess that it tasted okay as it disappeared before I got any.
Tonight I chopped up what cooked meat was in the fridge and fried it with left over veggies and rice. I added some frozen peas and made a two-egg omelette in the microwave to slice on the top. It might not have been the most amazing fried rice but it served a good purpose and was eaten.
Do you have any ways that you use up your leftovers? I’d love to hear your tips please.