Waste-less, Sustainable Whole meals
I used to get all worked up over having everything on a recipe list to make a meal. Do I have three different colour capsicums (bell peppers), that specific cut of meat, this brand of olive oil etc. That extra stress before even getting to the cooking part was enough to leave me disinterested in it all. And since its one of the things I love, I can understand and sympathise with people who cook just cos they need to eat. They see it as just another domestic chore, getting no enjoyment from it. I used to live with someone like that; he had 5 meals down pat. There was no variation; most of the ingredients came out of a jar, instant meal-in-a-box or the freezer. I get it though. There are heaps of things that I have NO interest in that other people love to do. Each to their own. But the point of this post is that a meal doesn’t need to be complicated. Perfection is an illusion. Truth be told, I only look at cooking mags for the pictures, I rarely cook anything from them. I hate to follow directions and I hate to measure. I follow the cook-by-feel methodology in the kitchen.
Back to the point.
There is nothing wrong with eggs for dinner. There is nothing wrong with soup for breakfast or eating lunch at 4pm if that’s how you day played out.
We have too much food wastage. There are some stats out there saying on average an Australian household with throw away more than $1000+ a year in uneaten, wasted food. In previous posts I have mentioned that when I go away for more than a few days I give away my perishable items. Food going to waste is such as shame.
So I guess the main message today is to eat what you have. Last week for lunch at work I pulled out a chunk of wood-smoked salmon (the other half had been used in a salad from the night before), 1/3 of a avocado that was on its last legs and a cucumber. Three ingredients that made for an easy and complete meal. I smashed the avocado and spread it on the bottom of a plate, broke up the salmon and placed that on top and just ate the cucumber as it was. And yes, I got some weird looks and ‘Is that what your having for lunch’ comments, however I relish the fact my meals are a bit off centre, matches my personality, ergo makes me feel normal.
However, that made me think that perhaps we are all a little too focused on what a meal is ‘supposed’ to look like due to years and years of conditioning to meal time-frames and ideals, instead of eating for hunger, sustenance and enjoyment. Don’t get me wrong I believe that we derive a huge amount of pleasure from food and meals, but I think we are trying WAY to hard. The focus should be on flavour or sharing food, not perfect plating up.
So don’t be afraid to mix it up. Have veggie muffins for dinner with hummus and lettuce if that’s what you’ve got in the fridge. Go through your condiments and pickle jars, add a few boiled eggs, some nuts, a slice of cheese and carrot sticks, serve it on a chopping board. Your kids will think you’ve lost it, but when they get to eat it with their hands you’ll be surprised how quickly the veggie sticks move. Remember, vegetables that are less than perfect can be added to soups, roasts or grated into patties, pikelets and muffins. Add a tin of tuna or crabmeat and whole-egg mayonnaise for a quick spread or dip.
Mr and Mrs Caveman never had the conversation that started with ‘Your eating WHAT for breakfast!’, they ate what they had. I’m sure sometimes it would have been boring, but never wasteful.
We are lucky to have options; supermarkets open til midnight and takeaway that gets delivered to our front door. This just pure excessiveness. It’s not helping our efforts to become more sustainable or responsible for tomorrow. If for nothing else this will help you save a few bucks. I don’t know anyone who’s not interested in at least that.
Be mindful in your purchasing. Do you need three different types of milk in your house? Really?
In the coming weeks I’ll me focusing more around motivation and psychology for eating. Why we eat what we eat, why we crave certain foods at certain times. This will hopefully help you understand that you can’t fight biology and that while you are not to blame for your less than perfect food choices, you can begin to influence your physiology as a base level Which I think is pretty amazing stuff.
Until then, look in your fridge and cupboard before you look at a takeaway menu.