Friday, April 13, 2012

What are you throwing out?

I was talking with Sunflower Sue the other day about what to do with leftover baked sweet potatoes.  We would always throw a couple of extra potatoes in the oven in case someone dropped by for dinner or in case one of us was 'extra' hungry.  If the potato went uneaten, Mom would use it for breakfast the next morning.  She would slice it in thick slices, skin and all, and then fry it in a little butter.  As it browned, she would sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar.  Now that was some good eating!  If we had leftover regular potatoes, like Russets, they would be fried up with butter and green onions.  They were good either for breakfast or as a side dish for the next night's supper.
It's the sort of thing you don't have a recipe for.  It's just something that you cook without thinking much about it.  I worry that, as a society, we are moving too far away from those traditions.  All you have to do is look around to realize we are living in a disposable society and it carries over into our food consumption.  When you pick up a fast-food meal or take-out from a restaurant, do you ever think about the waste involved?  All that packaging just so you can transport your dinner home?  I'm as guilty as the next person because sometimes I just don't want to cook.  Or, worse yet, I can't think of anything to cook.  It's easy to get stuck in a food 'rut'. 
I was taught to cook by women that lived through the Great Depression.  And, let me tell you, nothing went to waste.  At the end of the meal, if there was a tablespoon of this or that, it dared not go into the garbage.  It was saved for someones lunch the next day.  Even if you only have a few tablespoons of beans or corn leftover, you can put them in the freezer for the next time you make soup.  The key is planning.  I cringe every time I find something at the back of the refrigerator that was forgotten.  And, I can see my Grandma shaking her head at me as if saying 'look at all that wasted food'. 
I do see the wasted food, but I also think about the wasted money.  Groceries seem to be climbing higher every time I go to the store!  So, I don't just see beans and corn going in to the garbage; I see dollars too.  Every time I clean out the fridge, I vow to do better.  What have you thrown out lately?


What's Baking?? said...

Great post, Marge. Nowadays, most people take food for granted and they will just throw any leftovers without a second thought. I do agree the we should plan and if there's any leftovers, we should put on our creative hat and not waste food.

Coleens Recipes said...

What a GREAT idea for leftover sweet potatoes!!!

Sunflower Sue said...

A year since this post and still a great post.. It is very challenging to cook when the nest is empty.... but I am learning.... and I have to say not much is thrown out......