Friday Buffet

Scout’s honor: Whether eagle or cub, hopefully gleaning outings can become part of the scouting culture.

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I had a nice time chatting yesterday on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show.

— —Wendell Berry. Photo by GeoffandSherry via Creative Commons

In case you missed this gem, read Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson’s op-ed on creating a useful farm bill.

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And don’t sleep on this well-done piece that ran in the Austin American-Statesman earlier in the week.

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I’m of two minds on The Minimalist’s last column about pantry upgrades. On the one hand, the whole thing reeked of waste. Then again, maybe having nicer ingredients would encourage folks to squander less. What’s your take?

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6 Comments

  1. Posted January 9, 2009 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I just found out about your site through a blog I follow (The Jew and the Carrot) – congrats on your interview with WNYC. Glad to see your coverage.

    Whenever I think of the hunger issue, I think about how the UN’s number one goal by 2015 is to end poverty and hunger. Even as members of an affluent nation, Americans need to think about what we waste.

  2. Karen
    Posted January 9, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I kind of enjoyed the Minimalist column, actually. It’s basically espousing the Martha Stewart philosophy, which I interpret as cooking from scratch with whole food ingredients as much as possible. Such a philosophy is generally eco-friendly because the waste you generate is more compostable. On the one hand you’re right… tossing out “old” spices or “cheap” vinegar that may still have use is very wasteful. But some of the other advice, like tossing your own vinaigrette rather than buying processed dressing in a bottle, is very helpful and lets you get by with buying less.

  3. Dee Dee
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I agree with Karen – I liked Bittman’s piece on essentials for the pantry. The article actually sparked an argument, I mean discussion with my husband who had just made a big pot of vegetable soup using produce I had canned and frozen this summer. He used commercial chicken stock – organic, but still store-bought. Bittman suggests that home-made stock made with just a carrot, onion and stalk of celery is better than store-bought chicken broth. I concurred with Bittman; my husband wasn’t buying it – I mean he was buying it, the stock, that is. Bittman is also right that containers of spices and herbs are not worth using when they are past their prime. I wish I could find a store where one could buy just a little at a time, and fill one’s own containers with spices and herbs. Much less waste; much more flavor.

  4. Posted January 11, 2009 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Listened to you on the Lopate show. Thank you for raising awareness of an issue that is so much under the radar.
    Grew up under very simple circumstances in India, so it has been drummed in to me that wasting food is just wrong! I have never gotten over how much I see people waste at times.
    Love Mark Bittman. Me and my wife often try to cook from scratch, when it comes to tossing out old spices. At least for the dry ones of the Indian variety, they just need a little roasting before use and then they are as good as new.
    But yes composting is the way to go and I am surely starting down that path after listening to you on the show. Thanks!

  5. myra
    Posted January 11, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Cooking from scratch is definitely less wasteful than the common alternatives: taking in or eating out. All the take-in containers end up in the landfill. Restaurants are notorious for waste.

    Fresh ingredients improve the taste of the food we cook, encouraging us to cook at home more often.

  6. Posted January 13, 2009 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    Can’t you buy spices by custom amounts at Whole Foods, or is that just for certain herbal remedy type things?

    With spices, it’s not like they go bad, they just lose some of their punch. A friend recently suggested this remedy: Instead of throwing out an older spice, you could just use more than the recipe calls for.

    Or, you can try Sanjay’s tip.

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