Monday, February 23, 2009

Confessions of Wasting Food

A few weeks ago, I made a pot of arroz con pollo with the intent of eating it at lunch during the work week. While I was cooking, the heat on the pot was too strong, burning the rice and I over compensated by putting in too much chicken stock. As a result, I created a messy sludge that yielded much more than what would normally be expected from 2 cups of dry rice. I ended up creating what can only be called, “mushy-gruel con pollo”.

That week, I took the rice and chicken for lunch. Unfortunately, even after 5 days of eating the rice, I still had ¾ pot of the rice sludge left. Not wanting to be wasteful, I froze the rice, hoping that frying the rice after defrosting would burn off some of the excess moisture. It did, but the rice was still a mushy mess.

Last Monday and Tuesday, I ate the rice with some broiled chicken, salsa and pita for lunch. By the time I finished half the rice I brought on Tuesday, I made up mind - - I’m throwing away the remaining rice. It’s texturally too disgusting to eat.

As I tossed the rice away, I was relieved of not having to eat the sludge anymore. But at the same time, I felt guilty.

I remembered the following passage from a recent MSN Money-Smart Spending article:

"The most vivid memory I have of food is that there was never enough. ... I remember one dinner where my mother, myself and my brothers and sister sat down to a meal. The meal consisted of three boiled potatoes and one slice of white bread which we divided up amongst us. I noticed my mother was not eating and I asked her why she was not eating. She answered that she was on a diet." -- Laura C. Rinfret

Another post by Trent Hamm from the Simple Dollar described how he witnessed a 6-year old boy eating rotten french fries out of a dumpster.

After whining in my last post about how I want to spend discretionary money from my now-extinguished car payments, I'm kind of ashamed and embarrassed about my petulance. (But this doesn't mean that I still won't whine!)

The fact that I have the ability to throw away food that is still edible (if not enjoyable), is truly a luxury. As bad as things may seem right now, I always need to remember that I’m truly fortunate that I don’t know what true hunger is. Hopefully, I never will.


444 said...

Who among us has not done that? I can recall various cauldrons of "sludge" that we enthusiastically said we would eat, but alas...

One of them in the last year we nicknamed "vomit in a pot." One son really liked it and has asked me to make vomit in a pot again.

I have no desire to re-create that accidental experimental recipe that was edible, but memorable only for its name.

Tfb said...

My grandmother died this last fall, but on one of my visits to her over the last few years, I noticed her throwing out leftovers. Yes, a grandmother, my grandmother, a WWII, holocaust, concentration camp survivor, throwing out leftovers. I wish I'd asked her more about it at the time. Anyway it was massively inspiring in many ways.

Miss M said...

Guilty too, I've often had dishes go wrong. Sometimes they never even make it in the fridge, I'll be too disappointed to even put it away. It is a luxury, but a pretty pervasive one in our country. Much of our food goes to waste, not just on the consumer level. Most goes to waste either in the fields or at the grocery store. All you can do is be more aware and try to make tasty dishes from the start.

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-I can only congratulate you for eating the rice for as many days as you did!! We've all done this at one time or other, it is wasteful to throw food, but at least you made the best of a tricky situation, so well done my dear!

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm thankful. Nice post.

Ms. MoneyChat said...

shtinky, great post. what an awesome perspective, "The fact that I have the ability to throw away food that is still edible (if not enjoyable), is truly a luxury."
i'll remember to ponder this point when i begin to complain about nothing;-)