Bad Cheese Jokes
It is one of the defining moments of being a parent, hearing your child utter their first ever word. Despite huge amounts of parental coaching Jago’s first word turned out not to be mum or dad but ‘cheese’. It is possible that this was due to the dubious cheese jokes to which he was subjected during pregnancy such as ‘What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror – halloumi (needs a bit of thought)
A more likely reason is that Jago simply has an unhealthy love of cheese. As any new parent knows the subject of food looms large in the daily routine. Is Jago eating enough, is it healthy, is it too salty? These are just some of the questions that get asked every day. Given this early obsession it is strange that as a nation we seem to be increasingly relaxed about where our food comes from or where it ends up.
An expensive waste
Every year Britons manage to throw away an astonishing 1.2 million sausages, 1.6 million bananas and 440,000 ready meals. Most of this food ends up in holes in the ground where it rots and releases methane which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
The cost of this food waste to an average family with children is £620 per year. If we don’t change our ways these costs will rise. With ever more people in the world and increasing uncertainty about weather patterns the cost of everyday food is set to increase. Only this month I was told that global drought would result in wheat prices going up by about 15% with an obvious knock-on effect to the cost of the weekly shop
It seems to go against every basic instinct that we spend money on something and then end up throwing it without using it – how can this happen? The answer is almost certainly linked to our changing shopping and cooking habits.
Supermarkets are carefully designed to lure money out of the pockets of all but the most carefully prepared shopper. The fruit and vegetable counters placed at your arrival point are designed to slow you down, get you to touch products and create the sense of shopping in a local market.
These counters are immediately followed by the high profit ready-meals which are desperately hard for stressed parents to pass by. Meanwhile buy one get one free offers are also virtually impossible to resist but can often result in un-eaten food sitting in your fridge and have less of a sense of financial guilt attached to them if they have to be thrown away.
Breaking the habit
Breaking the habit of food waste is not rocket science. Here are five golden rules:
- Spare a bit of time to plan meals, write lists and then avoid all enticements placed in your way.
- Use the internet to find recipes for any food leftovers.
- Consider using local shops where there will be less opportunity to go ‘off-list’
- Consider growing your own herbs or if you have space fruit and vegetables
- If you do have to throw away uncooked food why not set up a wormery or compost bin?