Magens Bay --San Thomas

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Leftover food …

I recently read an article in The Wall Street Journal that discussed about leftover food. It had received a spot light in the UK where the government simply advised the grocery stores to display the “until” instead of “sell by” dates. Hoping to guide the consumers on what to do with the food that was still sitting in their fridges. Hoping to reduce wasting unnecessary food.
Another interesting fact worth mentioning is: According to the Wall Street Journal, “the average U.S. family of four spends from $500 to $2,000 a year on food they never eat, according to researchers' estimates.”  -- Imagine what we could do with that money. A little vacation perhaps? 
(cited from

--courtesy of

It is interesting topic to think about. I know one mom that only buys groceries when her fridge is almost empty. She plans well and is very creative in mixing what's left to provide edible and appealing foods on the table. I remember those days when I actually cooked. Yes. I did! Back in college and during my early years before my kids. I actually cooked, though I did not even enjoy it once. Cooking for survival. I never wasted any food in the fridge. Considering that point of view, I was pretty creative. I would mix and match whatever was left and make something up. Not sure how it tasted, but hey! There was food on the table and it came from me, the reluctant chef. It was pretty decent. –At least that what I thought :-)

On the serious side, there are ways to avoid wasting food in IMHO. Simply take an inventory list on what is left and write a menu on what to cook for the week. Only purchase missing items from the recipes.  I know real chefs don’t do this. But, this is what we try to do in our household. We try to minimize wasting food. Though sometimes we still do, especially that yogurt jar that I bought each month hoping to use as my face mask before I retire each nite. Well, sadly, most of the time they ended up in the waste bin.

There are a couple tips that I could take away from the article:
-          - After the date passes, if the food is kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below for the recommended storage, it is probably still edible. (Please double check though)
-          - "Give it a smell, look at it, [and] maybe even taste it" before tossing food, suggests Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, a book about food waste. "We have fairly well-developed instincts as a species for knowing if something is good or not."
      Hope you have enjoyed this part of my journey, the visit I payed to the left-over foods, as much as I am writing it. I actually can't believe that we waste so much food each year. I am hoping to raise awareness so that we only buy what we need. It would help lessen food waste and put our money in good use. Hint: Perhaps for a vacation to Venice?
      Until next stop,
Journey of Life



  1. Interesting.

    I wonder if the change of "sell by" to "use by" would have any real impact? Think of times when you set your clock ahead five or ten minutes to induce yourself to get to a place earlier. I know I tend to creep back towards the idea that, "well, the clock is fast, so I REALLY have a little extra time."

    It might work initially, but procrastination is very tough to overcome.

    As an aside, we're reaching a unique point in human history, where the rich are thin and the poor fat; where we have TOO much food, and that is actually creating wasteful and unhealthy behaviour.

    In our household, we do not waste much food, mainly because when I go to the store, I

    1) Do NOT shop at places like CostCo, where the temptation is "Wow; this massive package of meat is only $xx. I'll buy a couple." You buy more than you need because it seems to be a "bargain."

    2) When buying, I have an idea of what the menu for the week will be, and I buy what I need for that. Few or no impulse-purchases, and not "extra" food in bulk to "save" money.

    We waste because of our abundance of money and food as much as our scarcity of time.

    1. You are so right about the clock thing. I wonder the same whether changing the "sell by" to "use by" would actually solve the problem. Time will tell.

      Another thing I was thinking, do you think the fact that most women are doing the groceries and we tend to buy based on emotions. (I am sure some are not, but speaking from what I know,) we are easily influenced by the marketing. We tend to buy bulk to save money. I wonder if this is women thing and if men would do the same?