The Weekly Waste Word: New Year’s Parties

courtesy of Metrogirl (via Flickr)

It’s New Year’s Eve, you’re planning a party and avoiding food waste is the least of your worries. But you care about the environment and want to minimize the amount of food thrown away.

Turns out it doesn’t take all that much effort to do so. This post supplies many practical pointers, both waste-oriented and not.

Provide plates that are about 6-inches in diameter. A full-size dinner plate tends to encourage waste.

Yes! Brian Wansink, of Mindless Eating fame, would be proud of that tip.

It is good to have some appetizers that can sit out all night, like nuts and cheese.

Or something like Peanut M & M’s. Oh wait…

Make or purchase cookies or tartlets for dessert. People don’t want too much sugar when they are drinking.

OK, so minimize the sweets if it’s a drinking crowd. What about the old cocktail party standby–shrimp cocktail?

Although seafood is glamorous, it doesn’t keep well, stinks up the room, is a common food allergy, is a good source of food poisoning, and does not encourage romance. I recommend saving shrimp cocktail and smoked salmon spread for small parties and family get-togethers.

Forget I mentioned it. But what about quantity?

How much should you prepare? I always cook too much. I would rather eat leftovers than run out of something. The general rule is to prepare three of each hors d’ oeuvre per person.

I would argue that it’s OK to run out of food, that all things come to an end…but I realize not everyone concurs. Either way, we can all agree that there’s nothing wrong with leftovers!

Just make sure that the food is changed out every two hours. Throw leftovers out if you have to. Food poisoning is not worth it. Anything in a steamer tray or Crockpot should be OK.

Wait, what happened to ‘I’d rather eat leftovers?!’ Food poisoning is no joke and a very unfun way to begin a new year, but it can be prevented with a few precautions. Laziness doesn’t seem like a great reason to throw away food. It does seem like a great reason to lounge around on New Year’s Day, though.


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