Food waste a growing sign of modern times

“Twenty-three pounds of food per person per month are wasted at home or in restaurants ... $1,500 worth food is thrown each year by the average family of four ... Getting food on the table eats up 50 percent of all our country’s land and 80 percent of our fresh water.”
I read these pretty strong conclusions this past week from a news article in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. Those conclusions got me thinking about our family’s eating habits, both past and present.
Past memories had me visualizing great mom-prepared meals accompanied by the words, “Clean up your plate, or no dessert!” The frig had several shelves of leftovers that would magically disappear at an after-school snack or re-appear at lunch the next day. And “Pickles,” my dog, would delight when outdated foods, or too old leftovers appeared in his dog dish.
As kids and grandkids came along my view point of “cleaning up your plate” changed. At a morning breakfast I told our 5-year-old grandson to eat the last bite of his waffle. He told me he couldn’t because he was full. “Eat it anyway,” I said.  He ate it and promptly threw up!
Over the years family eating habits have changed. Both parents are working outside the home. Activity schedules altered family dining. Most families now have fewer sit-down family meals with mom, dad and kids all at the table at the same time.
We have revolved into more families eating on the run with a host of fast-foods, or prepping three-minute boxed foods in the microwave. Long-range meal planning seems to have been tossed away when families grocery shop. Our full-speed ahead, activity-packed lifestyle has taken over.
I question a proposed solution to food waste that suggested combating our food waste with the following recipes: Potato peel croutons, marinated broccoli stems, buried avocado chocolate mousse and leftover spaghetti pie. I said, “Ugh” and destroyed these recipes before my Betterhalf saw them!
I’ve been very fortunate over our many years of marriage to have an excellent cook who with her farm background still believes in three meals a day and one of those three meals should consist of meat, potatoes, vegetable and dessert.
Now with national food waste concerns rising, a new problem could be surfacing in our household. Prepare for smaller meals or more dieting.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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