1,3 billion tons of food get thrown out every year.
One would say “oh but this is for the whole world”. Let’s look closer then: in European Union we throw away on average 179 kg of food per person. That adds up to 89 millions of tons per year. Even closer: In Austria we throw away 157 000 tons of originally packed food. Statistically each Viennese throws away around 40 kg of perfectly good food that still could have been eaten. This number would be bigger if there was a way to count how much we throw away on compost or to the Biotonne bins.
We buy too much, we store food in a bad way and then we rely only on the expiration day instead of common sense or simply our nose, or tongue. Because the label says “best before” one day after that day we just throw the product away like it changed from good to “will instantly kill you” overnight. Quite often we buy too big packages of food or order too much take out and then it all lands in the bin. I myself still have a long way to avoid food waste. I am trying to read and implement as much as possible in our household – multiple use backing paper, beeswax covered cloths, I collect peels from vegetables to make broth out of them, I am making sure I have my own bags when I am going shopping, I try to shop on the market rather than in supermaket… I could go on, yet this is probably still not enough and I am fully aware of it. But we will not make a change by being so hard on ourselves. So maybe not #zerowaste from the very first second, but simply #lesswaste? Maybe when you go on a walk, collect some of the trash from the grass so it looks nicer for everyone. Before we throw away this sad looking cucumber maybe it can be used in a potato soup (hint: Einbrennte Erdäpfel). Just stop for a second and think if there is anything that can be done instead of throwing it away. I don’t want to preach, let’s all do what we can, without bad judging and moralising too much.
So when I saw that Diana from Eat Save Love is looking for cooks who will create dishes out of rescued food I volunteered. I thought I can learn a lot from such experience. The event was happening on Friday and we got to know the ingredients partly on Wednesday night, partly on Thursday evening and then some extra on Friday morning. This was challenging but very exciting and woke up a lot of creativity.
The event took place in a beautiful location called Imhinterhaus, where Daniel and his wife Ali created absolutely magical atmosphere. We were able to use wonderfully equipped kitchen and we got all the help and support needed. We not only cooked, but also had a chance to talk to people – about food waste, about what we were cooking.
I was cooking with Martyna, who turned out to be perfect partner in the kitchen crimes. We came up with plenty of ideas, divided them between us and got to cooking at 14:00 to be ready at 16:00 with the first round of food. Amine was helping us (thank you!) and Laurenz took great pictures you can see here. We have been in the kitchen till 20:00, and in the meantime we prepared: little canapés with fried mushrooms, zucchini and tahini dip, white radish salad, absolutely delicious croissants – pudding with apples and pears with cinnamon, parsley root – pear soup with kale chips, thai kohlrabi salad, baba ganoush, Dinkel Salad with roasted radished, roasted paprika and pumpkin seed oil, fennel and cucumber salad and also broccoli salad with apple and pear. Let me know if you crave any recipes, we will gladly share 🙂 – baba ganoush is certainly coming.
I got home at 22:00, extremely tired, but also very happy. It was such a pleasure to know that we saved few kilos of vegetables and to see that our food made people happy, or at least smiling. I experienced something I would call post-excitement hangover, where for the most of Saturday I was more static than not. However I was given a couple of very, very ripe bananas so I motivated myself to get off the sofa and make banana bread. To not bore you out of your minds, I leave you now with the recipe. And I so hope I will be able to cook for people again – on the same or similar event.