by Emily Lee in Community, April 21st, 2017
by Emily Lee in Recipes, January 13th, 2017
Is it just me, or does Earth Day have a way of making people feel fundamentally bad about themselves? It’s like January 1st all over again, except this time it’s not my holiday belly I’m scrutinizing — it’s my plastic consumption, or my less-than-conscientious water usage. (I’m not one for long showers, but I am guilty of sometimes letting the faucet run while I brush my teeth.) Just like with New Year’s resolutions, I set myself up for failure by raising the bar for improvement too impossibly high. This will be the year I start walking to work every day! This will be the year I always remember my reusable bags at the grocery store! But alas, walking isn’t possible in all weather, and trips to the grocery store are often spontaneous — and I don’t always have a trio of large canvas totes on hand. The real irony is that I probably laid out one of my elaborate energy-saving schemes while munching on a lightly bruised apple, destined for the trash after just six or seven bites.
We all want an A for effort, but reducing one’s carbon footprint goes well beyond tossing plastic to-go cups in the correct bin. I know that now, after reading how 40 percent of all food in America goes to waste — and specifically, to our landfills. It seems unreal; you wouldn’t slave over a gorgeous meal only to dump 40 percent of it into the trash. (You wouldn’t dream of running your shower for two hours either, but that’s how much water goes into making a pound of cheese.) What’s more is that this waste adds up to $162 billion in unnecessary water, energy and production costs each year. Much as I would love to blame it all on restaurants and large corporations, the hard truth is that it’s individual consumers like you and me who throw out 20 percent of the food we buy, which translates to nearly 300 pounds of food per year! Don’t believe it? Just ask Anthony Bourdain, the most-influential voice of the current food waste conversation.
by Emily Lee in How-to, April 22nd, 2016
Purging your kitchen of leftover holiday ingredients can feel both necessary and overwhelming, especially when you’re working with limited storage space like I am. (Curse you, tiny New York City apartment.) In other words, yes, I understand how tempting it can be to throw out a half-empty carton of heavy cream or a mound of frozen pie dough scraps — in fact, I’ve succumbed to that temptation more times than I would like to admit. This year, in an effort to save money and reduce food waste, I’m hoping to use up as many leftovers from my holiday cooking arsenal as possible. Because who doesn’t want to start the new year with a fresh, tidy kitchen? I’ve found that it’s all about locating the right recipes to take care of your specific leftover needs — and recruiting enough friends to come over and help polish off the fruits of your labor. Here are the eight ingredients that I happen to have in surplus this month — and maybe you do too — plus, a few ideas on how to get rid of them as deliciously as possible.
by Alex Guarnaschelli in How-to, Shows, January 19th, 2012
This Earth Day, food recovery is the hot topic on everyone’s docket — and for good reason. Recent research from the USDA revealed that over one-third (30 to 40 percent) of our food supply goes to waste each year, while studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that we could feed over 25 million Americans living in food-insecure homes if we were to reduce food waste by just 15 percent.
In light of these figures, there are now a number of programs dedicated to food recovery. Just last September, the USDA and the EPA teamed up to tackle the nation’s food waste epidemic and announced the first-ever national food waste reduction goal: To cut food waste in half by 2030. It may sound lofty, but the organizations have already seen great success with their joint U.S. Food Waste Challenge, which provides a platform “to assess and disseminate information about the best practices to reduce, recover, and recycle food loss and waste.” By the end of 2014, the challenge had over 4,000 participants, well surpassing its goal of 1,000 participants by 2020 — and also proving that you don’t need to be a political ecologist or a policymaker to affect positive change.
Participating in The Big Waste on Food Network was as eye opening for me as it was to watch it. I consider myself fairly well-informed in matters of buying, selling or, most simply, eating what I buy for my restaurants and home. In short, I didn’t think there would be much to learn doing this show. Or at least that there wouldn’t be much I hadn’t already seen. I was wrong. There were small amounts of precious, expensive things wasted, like chocolate, espresso and prosciutto. There were the stunning amounts of vegetables like corn, in bulk quantity, that I was surprised to learn would never “make the cut” and have a chance to even be bought.
Here are a few things we can all think about when shopping and cooking that can help reduce the amount of food waste:
1. Don’t pick through an entire pile of tomatoes to find the biggest, most perfect one. Settle for a few of the nice, small ones on top. Moving the pile around and shifting the fruit can bruise them and increase the likelihood than people will leave those other bruised fruits behind. Same goes for peaches.
Five more tips to reduce the amount of food waste »