So I’m giving this whole sustainable living thing a go and it’s actually going pretty well. I bought this book…..actually that’s giving myself way too much credit- my mum bought this book (got bored of it….so I hijacked it) by Australian author Sarah Wilson. It’s called “I Quit Sugar– Simplicious”, kind of a wanky title but I decided to not judge this book by it’s cover and flip it open to take a peek.
I have a quick flick through and see the recipes are accompanied by colourful images and scrawled bits of handwriting which somehow make the amazingly constructed dishes seem highly accessible for a clumsy kitchen cook like myself. Seriously. I once burned my foot making my boyfriend an omelette…not something so easy to explain when you’re only two months in but he’s still here five years later, ensuring I always have appropriate footwear at breakfast time.
I immediately relate to Sarah Wilsons food philosophy of simple, nourishing food which utilises all the scraps you find in your hand as you are heading for the compost bin. I realised you can eat all the strange dangly bits off most vegetables, make stock from old chewed up bits of corn and live pretty comfortably off seasonal vegetables, dairy and the odd grain.
Humans suck. We do. We suck up all this food from the super market and spurt most of it into our bins, which congests our dumps with things that should be in our bellies or at worst, in our compost tubs. We, as consumers, are the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions and this is primarily down to food waste. According to Wilson and her well researched book, we throw out up to 50% of our food every week….meaning half the crap we buy at the supermarket turns straight into dumpster crap and skips out the middle man.
Wilson’s motto; eat everything – core, peel, pith and all. Turn that old chicken carcass into a badass broth, turn that questionable cabbage into sauerkraut or stir fry.
I have been giving it a go for the past four or five months and I have got to be brutally honest. I f*%king love it. I feel healthier, I buy less and even more importantly I don’t reluctantly watch my hand throw out that old wet lettuce or those strange beans I swore I would eat.
It is great to see that even food chains are starting to take on this initiative. Instead of lazily tossing the unsold scraps of food into the dumpster, some forward thinking corporations are starting to realise that the food industry shouldn’t be solely about cash profit. The French just passed a law which ensures supermarkets do not dispose of food waste, instead they sign contracts with food banks and charities who will then distribute the food to those who are struggling. We are only now getting around to acknowledging that we, as a species, do not need to watch millions of our peers struggle and starve while simultaneously watching an endless waterfall of food “waste” pour into landfills. The question is, when will NZ jump on board with this completely common sense initiative? Doing a bit of digging it turns out that here in Dunedin, the ball is already rolling.
We can start by making similar common sense choices in our own consumer habits. Yeah, it’s pretty strange hearing yourself say “WAIT! Don’t throw that out” or a gleeful,”We can turn this into breakfast tomorrow!” and then watching your boyfriends face stare at you blankly while you shuffle around the kitchen with tupperware containers filled with leftovers you’ll use to make a mean burrito. I swear it doesn’t feel like a chore, more like a perpetual meal flow which comes from changing your outlook and more importantly breaking the bad ‘just chuck it in the bin’ habit.