Sounds simple, right!
Not so, according to Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) – a recycling group funded by the UK government and the European Union.
WRAPs research shows that in the UK we throw away on average six meals a week; this amounts to about £60 ($97) per household per month. We mainly through away bread, milk and potatoes; there are about 86 million discarded chickens as well.
This is wrong on so many levels! It is wrong because:
- the average waste per household can keep a family of four in decent food for ten days or more;
- statistics shows that 17% of all children in the UK live in (relative) poverty; this means cold houses and not enough to eat;
- roughly 12.5% of the population of the world is under-nourished; this is a clinical way to say that people don’t have enough to eat to be healthy and lead active lives.
I am telling you this not to spoil your weekend; I am saying it to remind you to:
- think about how much you buy when you go shopping tomorrow;
- shop for what you are going to cook;
- cook all that you buy;
- serve less on the plates so that there are no leftovers to throw away;
- freeze what is left for another meal.
When you do all this for several weeks, look at your food budget. How much lower is it? When John and I started doing this four years ago, our food budget more than halved.
I know we can all do with some extra money; but if you don’t need it urgently, please, give some of it away: donate it to a charity supporting people down on their luck, buy food and take it to the nearest food bank or buy some food and give it to the people begging in the cold. Our politicians claim people use food banks because they like free stuff or because they are there. To this I say BULLSH*T!
People use food banks because they are hungry and because there is no other option for survival left.
My call tonight is simple:
Stop wasting food and what you save, please give to the ones who need it more than you do!
Throwing away food can have different guises. One, we practices for about ten years (yep, I do feel ashamed but it helps no one; sharing my experience, on the other hand, might) is not to use ingredients fully.
For ten years we threw away the egg whites of six eggs when making spaghetti carbonara.
You know, the ultimate spaghetti carbonara is not made by boiling some pasta (or even over boiling it) and throwing in some ready-made sauce of dubious content; I do suspect, though, the sauces one buys in supermarkets is mostly cream. No!
Great spaghetti carbonara is made by:
- boiling the pasta (just right);
- frying pancetta till slightly over done;
- (optionally) adding couple of garlic gloves with the pancetta (do it later so the garlic doesn’t burn); and
- mixing egg yolks in a large bowl.
When all is done, you pour the ready pasta in the egg yolk and stir it around; then pour the pasta and egg yolk in the pen with the pancetta; give it a stir for several seconds and pour back in the large bowl (the one where you mixed the egg yolks).
Serve with grated parmesan (and beer). Wonderful! (If you find this a bit dry, you could add a little bit of milk when in the pen.)
Now, our big question was always what to do with the egg whites?
And for ten years we poured them down the sink!
Until four years ago, we decided that this is enough wasting and learned to make meringue. Incidentally, we used to buy this ready so we double wasted!
Making meringue is a bit like making macaroons: it seems harder than it is if you know couple of tricks.
And since I am sharing, I’ll tell you what the three tricks of making perfect meringue are.
- You need exactly 60g of caster sugar per egg white;
- Beat the egg whites without the sugar till the mixture will stay in the bowl if you turn the bowl over (watch for over-beating); only when the consistency has been achieved start adding the sugar spoonful by spoonful;
- Put in the oven at 150C; immediately put the temperature down to 130C. Keep this for one hour. Switch off the oven and leave the meringues in till the oven is cold.
This is also the base for Pavlova which we all like. Pavlova, seems to be the dessert many people prefer to buy when it is so easy to make. And in this case, it uses the left over egg whites from the spaghetti carbonara. May be another way to entertain for less!
Is there a ‘left-over’ ingredient that you have found a way to use? Please share.