Last night, I watched The Big Waste on the Food Network. If you get a chance to see it in the next week (it airs again on Jan. 14th… check listings!), take the time to stop and watch.
Sure, its another timed cooking challenge between four chefs (Bobby Flay and Michael Symon versus Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli) that Food Network seems to thrive on these days. But this special is not about the challenge itself, its a staggering look at how much food we waste in this country every day.
I watched the show with a knot in my stomach, watching perfectly good food being just thrown out because of a blemish here or there. A box full of fresh fish on its way to the dumpster because the people that ordered it no longer needed it. Sweet corn ignored because the stalks got knocked over in high winds. Perfectly good, fresh, healthy food destined to just be thrown out with the garbage.
The show has made me rethink my shopping. I am not going to buy anything that will make me sick or that will go bad before I can eat it (that’s throwing money away), but if I can curb the waste by, say, purchasing a ripe tomato to use on my salad tonight (versus letting it sit there and ultimately be thrown out) then I am going to do that. It’s at least a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, I hope perhaps some of the food that would normally go in the trash will eventually make its way to shelters. The homeless need a healthy meal, too. Why not donate the “unsellable” fruits and vegetables to a kitchen or shelter? I hope this show might start a push for that as well.
I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to watch “The Big Waste,” but I am sure glad I took the time to watch it. I learned a lot, and I felt ashamed of wasting food myself. I am going to make changes starting now.