Love Food, Hate Waste


Love Food

By Jon Noble

27th March 2021

Don't Feed the Food Bin

green food bin with waste in it

Looking after the planet has never been more important than it is today, we all have a responsibility to do our part in protecting the environment. One way we can do this is through recycling. We recycle everything from cardboard to food. But do we recycle too much food ? Are we throwing away food that we could use to feed the family ?

If you are like many families you probably feed your food bin as well as you feed your self ? It may surprise you to know that the problem of food waste has been around as long as you care to remember, and that many cultures throughout time have developed ingenious recipes to not only stretch the food budget but to reduce waste all together.

We are going to take a look at some of the recipes that have been developed through history all over the world in order to stretch a tight food budget and use up leftovers.

food plates and drinks on a table

But first I would like to pay tribute to what I believe is the best ever idea created to use up leftover food. There was a program on the television some time back where people used to phone in and get a celebrity chef of the day to come up with a recipe from what they had in their refrigerator. ( If anybody can remember the name of this T.V. show please let me know). The upshot of this is that no matter what was in the refrigerator as long as they had two or three eggs in there the best option for me was always An Omelette.

The humble omelette in my opinion is the godfather of all leftover recipes, and the varieties are pretty much endless. The earliest omelettes are believed to have originated in ancient Persia, but the humble omelette was in fact so versatile that most countries in the world now have their own versions.

Here is a list of some of the versions available: • China
• France
• India
• Indonesia
• Iran
• Italy
• Japan
• Korea
• Spain
• Thailand
• United States

Although Spanish Omelettes are often called Tortillas , the term itself actually means Flatbread in Mesoamerica. From such diversity comes an endless repertoire of possible toppings and fillings for the humble omelette, which is why it has to be the stand alone king for using up leftovers, and as such we will take a look at a few recipes a little later.

So let us take a look at some other great ideas that were created specifically to either stretch the food budget or use up leftover ingredients.

During the great depression, Meatloaf was often made in the United States as a way of stretching the food budget, but the origins of this dish date back to 5th century Germany. Meatloaf is minced beef combined with other seasoning and formed into a loaf then topped with a tomato sauce.

Italians use a lot of Pasta and Vegetables in their cuisine, so it is hardly surprising to learn that Minestrone soup was created by the Italians as a way of using that leftover pasta and vegetables in a tomato based soup. They used a lot of Tomatoes as well.

Some of you may know that I am a good Welsh boy, so how could I leave out the traditional Welsh recipe, Cawl. Cawl is basically a thin Lamb broth or stew made with Lamb and some local vegetables such as leeks, potatoes, swedes and carrots. Cawl dates back to 14th century Wales where it was created to stretch the food budget of poor Welsh families and use up any leftovers so that nothing got wasted.

There are many other recipes from around the world that have been created specifically to avoid food waste such as Hungarian Goulash and French onion Soup. In fact if history has taught us anything about food and cooking it has taught us how not to waste food.

Sadly in these modern times many of these recipes have either been forgotten or considered far too time consuming to bother with. Recipes such as Meatloaf, Cawl, Minestrone and of course the humble omelette have become less of a necessity and more of an effort, but it is our responsibility to keep these great recipes alive for future generations to enjoy, and to save the planet.

It is only right that I end this post with a list of some of the leftover saving recipes that we have not covered in this blog. Give them a try and you just might find that you are not only eating tastier food but that you are feeding the food bin a lot less than you used to.

· Cawl
· Minestrone Soup
· French Onion Soup
· Meatloaf
· Shepherd’s Pie
· Cottage Pie
· Ratatouille
· Hungarian Goulash
· Omelette
· Spanish Omelette