Comment: Needless food waste

Chucking food away costs the average family with children �60 a month.

Chucking food away costs the average family with children �60 a month.

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“IT’S either feast or famine in this house,” grunted The Husband after much banging around in the empty cupboards.

He’s right. But, in mitigation, there is some method behind the state of our provisions.

Whatever happened to the old notion of eating up leftovers? A big shop gets done for this hungry household about once every three weeks; with extras like meat, veg and the odd easy tea such as pizzas bought as-and-when needed.

The theory is that after a couple of weeks we start to make inroads into the freezer. Or eat the biscuits that have been at the back of the cupboard since last Christmas.

The whole idea of having a bit of a “plain do” for a week seems completely sensible; but the badly-done-to looks this chief cook-cum-bottle-washer gets make it hard not to crack and dash off to the supermarket.

Food. It has been on this correspondent’s mind since a trip to a smart new shop’s delicatessen counter.

Having grabbed some sell-by-date reduced bargains in the bakery department a friend cheekily asked if the meat, quiches and so-on were going to be knocked-down the same way.

“No, it’s a terrible shame,” said the girl behind the counter. “We are not allowed to reduce meat products because of health and safety so it all gets thrown away…”

How disgusting. All of it looked too bright red anyway - as if it could do to be stood around for at least another week before being eaten - but because it had gone past a specific pre-determined date it was going to waste. If some stupid legislation meant they couldn’t sell it, surely it could be given to a homeless charity?

Of course, the war baby generation understands how horrible waste is so much more than the younger shoppers. But still, it doesn’t take much to work out that the modern obsession with “fresh” food can be unnecessary and wasteful.

Almost 50 per cent - seven million tonnes - of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. More than half of this is food and drink that is perfectly safe to eat. Chucking food away costs the average family with children £60 a month, a figure that is high enough to make even you-know-who not look quite so grumpy on my self-imposed “eating up” days.

We have an old - sorry, “veteran” - pony and the foodstuffs available for the senior four-legged friend are amazing. My father got a nasty shock when we covertly booked a specially formulated (for the ageing equine) joint supplement onto his farm bill.

One of the children has been off school poorly this week. All the patient has wanted to eat is tinned soup. Nothing fancy. Just tomato. No basil, or added mascarpone or Wensleydale. No chunks of chorizo or bits of bacon. Just what it says on the tin.

Like the lovely Guy Martin. He seems so straightforward and, before there are complaints, it has to be at least a month since he was last mentioned.

Actually looking forward to this lorry mechanic/motorbike racer’s new programme Speed (Sunday 8pm Channel 4) more than Downton Abbey.

Not sure about the sideburns, but wouldn’t say no to rustling him a few leftovers up...

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