My Battle with Food Waste

At least three times per week my husband and I have the same conversation.

“Why did you forget to put the dinner away last night?”

“Why did YOU forget to put the dinner away last night?”

“Well, now it’s all ruined because we forgot to refrigerate it. Fantastic.”

There are no restaurants in our little, remote village, so we have to cook dinner every night. We also have to provide lunch for ourselves every day, and while we can eat school lunch during the week (and often do because our cook is amazing) we still eat at home on many days. All of those spoiled leftovers that we leave sitting on the counter/stove could serve asĀ lunches, but instead they go in the trash.

I love to cook, so constantly cooking is no big deal for me. However, I absolutely HATE to do dishes. My husband also HATES to do dishes. There is no chore that is more hated in the Middleton household, especially because our home has no dishwasher. I believe that my avoidance of doing the dishes has led to me just totally blacking out the clean-up process after dinner, and apparently it has a similar effect on my husband. Both of us practicing this avoidance behavior usually ends in us totally forgetting to clean-up after meals, and then when we go into the kitchen much laterĀ our lovely and delicious leftovers are spoiled.

Add into this equation the fact that food is difficult to get and expensive, and you’ve got the recipe for two people who desperately need to fix their food-waster ways. I mean, a gallon of milk in our village is $20 and a frozen pizza is $17. The majority of our food we have to ship in during our twice a year (August and January) shopping trips to Anchorage, but even that gets expensive because we have to pay per pound to ship it out on an airplane. We simply can’t afford to keep wasting.

This year I really, really want to work on being more mindful of my wastefulness and work to fix it. I want to get better at storing food, finding alternate uses for food (more recipes, more ways to use unwanted parts of foods), keeping my fridge and freezer organized, shopping smarter and more realistically, and I want to figure out if there is any possible way to do some composting out here in the middle of nowhere. I’m sure this is going to be quite the undertaking, but it is also an absolute necessity.