Overwhelmed with Food [Waste]

At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing…

I’m sure you know how that statement is going to end. Often in life we endeavor to do something we think is good or right, only to have it end up backfiring on us. That’s what happened to me this week with food.

My uncle and his kids are in town. Still bored, in case you were wondering – even though they went to the Grand Ole Opry and the Wilson County Fair. But before I fall down that rabbit hole, let me get back to the subject at hand – food.

As my relatives were coming into town on Thursday, they stopped at a BBQ restaurant to pick up a family meal to bring over for lunch. The meal consisted of a whole chicken, several sides, and bread. When I arrived that afternoon, my mom had packed up the remnants of the meal for me to take home. She knows how I feel about food waste and had at some point told my uncle if there was anything they weren’t going to eat, save it for me.

Now, as a general rule, we don’t eat meat. On occasion, we make an exception, when not doing so would hurt someone’s feelings (particularly my mom, who has a very hard time standing at the stove and every effort she makes to cook, is done with love) or when the meat is raised by someone we know. However, I thought – no harm in taking this leftover chicken. I can make a pot pie and freeze it for the next time our niece comes over. So, I put the chicken in the fridge to deal with later.

The next day, I came home with half of a leftover pizza – with meat and enough cheese to cover 10 of our homemade pizzas!

The following day, a handful of pizza rolls and chicken tenders, a spoonful of mac ‘n cheese, 2 sausage patties, 3 stale donuts, a cup of fresh corn and ¾ of a canary melon.

And yesterday, a seriously half-eaten ham sandwich, slathering in mayo. What on Earth am I supposed to do with that?

For a while, our refrigerator looked like a dumpster. I wish I’d had the forethought to take a picture, but I was too busy agonizing over what to do with all the food.

One the one hand – I didn’t want to waste it. There’s already enough food in our landfills creating ozone-depleting gases and I certainly don’t want to add to it. On the other hand, if I were to eat this stuff, I’d be sick – physically sick and sick with myself for putting things into my body that aren’t good for me. It took nearly 3 years to embrace a mostly plant-based diet and frankly, I don’t want to go back. Call me crazy – most of my family does – but I don’t want to eat processed foods or fast foods that sap me of my energy, clog my arteries, and fill my body with chemicals.

I even tried to find a happy medium. I pulled the meat off the pizza and heated some of it in the oven for lunch one day. The grease bubbled up like lava and yet I tried to choke back a few bites, but I just couldn’t do it. You may think this is silly, but I literally felt my heart sink as I tossed the pizza in the trash – along with its Styrofoam container (which could be a whole other blog post in itself).

In the end, I decided that this was not my waste. I did not buy it. I did not create it. I cannot feel responsible for it. It doesn’t matter that these folks are my family, it’s no different than a stranger handing me half of a Big Mac. I wouldn’t even hesitate before throwing that away. It’s ridiculous to think that the solution to ending food waste is to simply have someone else eat all the things that other people don’t want. Yet, that’s kind of what I was doing…

I ate the corn and since I’m not a fan of canary melons, I made a video on what I did with it (which will be posted to our YouTube channel later today). I threw away the rest of the food – even the chicken. And I have no regrets.

The way to end food waste is to take responsibility for our own actions – to not buy things that we aren’t going to eat, to practice portion control, and plan meals. We can educate others, but we can’t take responsibility for their choices.

7 thoughts on “Overwhelmed with Food [Waste]

    1. Right! I believe they think not eating meat is a phase and by putting it in front of me, I’ll change my mind. We have indulged my mom on occasion with something she cooks – because it’s such an effort for her – but we don’t generally eat meat, especially meat that we have no idea where it came from. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a perfect way of putting it. Congratulations on your ethical eating! While I eat wild fish and seafood, I rarely eat any meat. When I cook it for the family, it is local and I know the farmer personally, something fairly easy to do here in New England. People have become so disconnected from understanding how their food is produced, but I could go on and on…..

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You can only control your waste and educate others on theirs. Since we have been on the road and have more time at home we take better care of ourselves and what we put into our bodies. We buy less and less processed foods and eat what is in our cabinets and frig. Keep treating yourself right and thanks for the read! 👍🏼❤️🙏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unfortunately I can relate to this. However the issue happens where I work. Junk food is eaten here and a big portion is thrown away. Along with the necessary (to them) items it takes to eat and hold said junk food, plastic utensils, paper plates, Styrofoam cups (I’m talking 30-40 daily by just a few people) this drives me nuts. The majority of employees are male and don’t understand the way they choose to eat is killing them. None of them eat healthy not one of them. And they make fun of me because I eat healthy and I do not share in their horrible heart choking artery clogging foods. Nor do I contribute to the throw away products they use that end up in the landfill. I have normal fork, spoon and knife and two reusable plates in my desk and or back pack to use as needed. It’s not that hard. Ugh. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you! You are absolutely right, it’s not that hard. But folks want convenience and they don’t want to hear that it’s costing them their health or the health of the planet on which they live. Speaking of – I am now the “proud” owner of about 20 unused plastic forks and sporks that our guests thought they needed when grabbing takeout. Not sure what I’ll do with them but tossing them is not an option.

      Keep on keeping on! Thanks for the comment 🙂


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