I just threw out the last leftovers from the holidays. Turkey, salad, meatballs, roasted potatoes with truffle sauce… It’s common to buy too much, right? We all want to set a nice table with an impressive meal, but the Dutch lockdown situation meant flocking from one intimate dinner to the next.
My brother got up first on Christmas Eve. He had ordered a special four course Greek meal for all of us that was served buffet style – take what you want and as much as you want! We did it.
I had to congratulate my father (who hates meat going to waste) as he devoted himself to food as if he was playing musical chairs. He was the last to sit down. And even though we were all sipping our 100% filled teas and coffees (I’ve never eaten so much baklava in my life), there were still two plates full of lamb left, untouched. You guessed it; We all went home with doggie bags.
The next few days are a mess of takeout menus, brunch, lunch, and cleaning up the war zone that was our kitchen. It doesn’t help that the traditional Dutch New Years Eve treat of oliebollen (oil balls, I assure you they taste a lot better than they sound!) Is made with tons of flour, oil, sugar, cinnamon, raisins (soaked in rum is optional but recommended) and icing sugar. A guaranteed mess.
It’s easy to create a batch of a dozen the size of your fist. Fun fact: some say the Dutch settlers took the prescription with them to the Americas, where it later became the classic snack: the donut.
I must admit, my boyfriend and I also got the ingredients for the country’s second favorite sweet snack: apple flaps (apple pies) but we didn’t even start making them as we weren’t hungry or in the mood for more culinary shenanigans.
When the party is over …
Suffice it to say, I’m dealing with something of a food hangover. After putting the dishes back in place, I decided that enough was enough. I opened the fridge and scanned it for holiday debris, quickly scooped up the half-full containers and foil-covered oven bowls and headed for the green container. He dropped down and spilled the food. A strangely cathartic noise.
“Ah, that’s for the best,” I heard through a voice in the living room. My boyfriend, who usually eats the smallest bits of junk instead of throwing them away, was just as “done.” Eating should be fun, after all. But after having another friend for dinner (I love that Hannibal Lector line), we just wanted to kick off our shoes and exclude ourselves from social conventions for a moment.
The last two weeks of vacations, birthdays and meetings long overdue made me think about the global problem that is Food waste. An unattractive topic that often comes up at this time of year, steeped in body image issues and social injustice. The global scale of this waste stream is said to exceed 1.3 billion tons per year. To put it in perspective; that’s almost a third of total food production.
I looked up the statistics for my country. It turns out that Dutch consumers generate around 590 million kg of food waste each year. In the United States, the figure is almost double. In many developed countries, 30-40% of total food supplies end up in the garbage can. This includes perfectly good restaurant products, meats, and fish that have passed the expiration date. In fact, this sector in the US throws away food worth 162 billion dollars (143 billion euros) a year.
Can you believe it? I suppose it is an invisible problem for most of us if we judge our bad habits plate by plate. But food scraps are piling up, clearly. On the other hand, the practice of preparing meals (usually a week in advance) has taken off in recent years, and the global meal kit delivery services sector is expected to be worth US $ 8.9 million. by 2025. In addition, more and more people are using the Too Good To Go App to combat food waste and save money.
I’m not one to hang on to New Years resolutions, but maybe we could be a little more mindful of what goes into our shopping carts and into our bodies. I bet we’ve all heard this phrase: ‘You eat with your eyes.’ Consider this: if we binge less, surely the candy will taste sweeter? It’s a theory worth testing in 2022.
An interesting video on the same topic:
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