So one thing you may have picked up from this blog, in between the ‘woe is me’ posts, that I am passionate about reducing food waste.
It wasn’t always like this.
I used to…waste food.
I wouldn’t say I was as bad as waiting till midnight on the day of a Best Before Date to throw it away, but I wasn’t far off.
You name it and I threw it away. I used to throw away whole pots and tins of things.
I feel ashamed when I think of it now.
Why did I do it? The food was probably fine…
Well I guess it comes down to this.
We used to have so little food when I was younger, during the hardship years, that my Dad would make meals out of the most random things, and something like a best before date meant very little to him.
So when I grew up, moved out, and bought food for myself, I took it as a sign of ‘wealth’ that I could casually disregard food, that I didn’t need to survive on a 6 week out of date creamy salad dressing, that I could easily replace the food, that I didn’t need to eat ‘crap’.
So yes, it was a rebellion. It was a stupid, spiteful rebellion.
You all know what happened next. I had a poor employment history, there was a recession, I got into debt. Suddenly we were struggling to feed ourselves, the boy and I. His parents bought a lot of our food. They were effectively our food bank.
The flip side of this is that I have come to value food as a resource.
The author J. G. Ballard in his memoirs talks about how as a child in a Prison camp in the 1940s in Shanghai, his father instructed the family to eat the ‘weevils’ (his mother’s euphemism for slugs and maggots) in their rations, for the protein. J. G. Ballard also talks about how he finds it difficult to leave food, even if he dislikes the taste.
And I had this quality as well. If I buy a dish in a Restaurant I will eat every bite even if it makes me sick. Because I can’t bare to waste the money.
I guess I know why I’m overweight.
For me now, with money to buy food, with no risk of starvation just yet, I still am passionate about food waste and am very gung ho with best before dates.
It is not just because I don’t want to waste the money, I don’t want to waste the resource, the energy it took to produce the food, I don’t want to be senseless and destructive.
I have learnt my lesson.