By Michaela Jackson
Over the last few weeks we have very much enjoyed going along to the WHO group and cooking together, as part of The Greening Gorebridge Project (A Climate Challenge Funded project)
The focus has been on looking at vegetables as more than an accompaniment to a meat dish but the star of the show. We have also discussed food waste and everyone agreed that they throw out more food than they would like to.
So I decided to have a Food Waste Ready Steady Cook. The ladies messaged me the day before the class to let me know which items that were destined for the bin they would be bringing along. There were lots of potatoes, some chicken and a mixture of fruit and veg. Chicken pie topped with mashed potato seemed like a good option.
I arrived on Wednesday equipped with some milk, cornflour, frozen sweet corn and seasoning- forgot the garlic though. The rest of the meal was created from rescued food. As you can see from the photos, what followed was a veritable feast. Two salads, chicken pie filling and mash (the oven was in use, so it was more of a deconstructed pie,) a vegan chickpea and coconut stew, a fruit salad and kiwi and pineapple smoothie for pudding.
I think we were all surprised at just how well the meal turned out. There were comments such as, ‘Wow, I won’t have to throw leftover chicken away anymore.’ ‘This would be a treat for my partner.’ ‘I just can’t believe we created a two course meal for 10 people from that!’
This really demonstrated the joy of cooking, that incredible magic that occurs when ingredients come together and become greater than the sum of their parts. It doesn’t matter if the veg is a bit old and wrinkled or if the fruit is a bit bruised, they can still produce a delicious meal.
Remember, every item of food is embedded with emissions, producing the seed, planting it, harvesting, storing, packaging and delivering it. We need to respect and value our food, in particular meat products, as they have the the highest ecological footprint.
Follow these strategies to try and minimise food waste in your home:
1. Look in your fridge before you go shopping.
2. Plan your meals, ideally a week at a time.
3. Plan your meals around what you already have, for example if you have a glut of leeks, get some potatoes to make leek and potato soup.
4. Use your freezer – freeze extra portions, or perishable food such as meat, or milk if you can’t use it before it goes off.
5. Enjoy the challenge of using everything!