When I first started photographing my kitchen scraps I had lots of food to show. Each Tuesday (trash day) when I cleaned out my fridge I felt equal measures guilt (throwing away food!) and virtue (feeding my future garden!) and could justify one with the other. But after weeks of pulling out slimy cilantro, gross green beans, and leftover lettuce, the little light bulb started to go off in my head while I was food shopping. Did I REALLY need that second head of lettuce? Or three different kinds of berries? Or more pineapple?
When I am confronted with an array of gorgeous produce all of a sudden reason goes out the window. Forget about shopping hungry, I need to shop without imagination. Each perfect new ingredient is the star in a new dish or in a dish that we loved but I have not had in a while … and before I know it my basket is piled high and my brain is full of menus and I’m hauling home way more food than I need for a week for four people. And then Toss It Tuesday happens.
But I’ve changed. I still don’t shop with a list or a menu plan (although I know that is a good idea for many) but I order just enough meat for two meals, then plan two more vegetable based meals with what I find at the market, replenish my pantry staples and then I know I can “pasta” through the remaining nights of the week. It’s working much better. I’m more mindful and while I have less to throw on the compost heap I also have more money in my pocket.
So this week, I have one moldy sweet potato. Woohoo! Luckily I grabbed it before it alerted me that it was lurking in my pantry. Here’s the rest of my bucket:
What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):
- a rotting sweet potato
- broccoli leaves and stem scrapings
- banana peel (hiding)
- garlic paper
- orange rind
- yellow onion skin and stem ends
- 2 tea bags (hiding)
- iceberg lettuce core & outer leaves (on the bottom)
What I made with all of that: Cream of Broccoli Soup, classic Wedge Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, Black Olives and Ranch Dressing and Pineapple Orange Smoothies (breakfast), baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup & Grated Nutmeg (lunch).
How mindful are you when you are grocery shopping?