I was looking through some old notes I’d scribbled down several months ago, and almost laughed out loud when I read this:
“Today’s gripe is about how some take-out places add filler to your dishes in the form of peeled, chopped broccoli stems. Now I love including broccoli stems in dishes with broccoli crowns already in them; and it’s a good thing these restaurants all know that stems are only really edible once you strip off the tougher layer of skin on their outsides. What’s left inside is a firm, mild palette to soak up the flavor of the dish. But should it be served in my cashew chicken? No. Should it be served instead of actual broccoli crowns? No.”
First of all, it struck me as pathetically sad how someone could care and think so much about food to write this on a crumpled piece of paper. Then, that there were a lot more serious offenses restaurants can take on beside their stealthy use of leftover broccoli stems in dishes they don’t belong. Waste being one of them.
There’s not many things that gross me out more than the sight of food being wasted. I once saw a show on the Food Network that was looking at interesting things people do with food around the country beside eating it, and saw a bunch of people “bowling” with turkey: squatting bowlegged and thrusting a 10+ lb wrapped, raw turkey several feet along the grass toward a formation of pins. That seriously scares me. I’m not saying that restaurants in NYC sponsor turkey bowling. But as we know, this city produces fantastic amounts of waste, and it also produces much more food than all of us can possibly eat. How much more, I don’t have a study to say right now, but hopefully one day I will.
I’ve heard of freeganism and have recently become more interested in it, maybe not as a practice at this point, but as inspiration. It takes a little while for the initial idea of foraging garbage to settle in, and it would definitely mean a lifestyle change. Check out their whole deal at http://freegan.info/. There’s a pretty good NYC-based perspective on it in the October issue of Jane, though it doesn’t look available online.
One nice thing I read about recently was a restaurant in Boulder, CO called The Kitchen, which really tries, and tries hard, to be very green. And also serve simple, yet haute, cuisine. (An article in Food & Wine explores the restaurant here.) Of course this is a very utopian dream (one of the owners made millions during the dot-com boom and settled into early retirement), and it’s hard to say whether their practices are possible or practical for other restaurants to follow in their footsteps. But again, it’s good to know they do what they do.
What are some other things that we do? I’m suddenly feeling at a loss for ideas, inactive, and very compliant with the societal structures that be. Can anyone help me out?