Food Waste vs. Self-Preservation

By Debbie Koenig

Last weekend we had a crowd over for dinner and a movie (projected on the side of the house — how cool is that?). As people do, everyone brought a little something: In addition to beverages and savory eats, they provided three types of cookies, a homemade crack pie, and a whole chocolate cake. Add to that the cherry pie I’d pulled from the freezer and the tahini cookies I’d baked (a recipe I’m working on for Weight Watchers Magazine, stay tuned), plus the s’mores toasted over the fire pit, and we had more than enough sweets. As in, there was a ton left over. And my husband went back to the city Sunday night, leaving nobody to eat it but my son and me.

Yeah, that’s not ideal.

At first I kicked myself for not sending guests home with doggie bags. And then I considered a slice of crack pie for breakfast. At which point I realized just how dangerous this situation had become for me — once I started eating, I could’ve easily spent Monday noshing my way through this stuff while my son was at camp.

I considered freezing most of it, but I knew that wouldn’t stop me. I’d eat it straight from the freezer. I don’t have friends up here yet, not even neighbors (we went full rural for this house), so I couldn’t give it away easily.  My quickest option to eliminate the temptation made me uncomfortable. Could I really throw away — waste — all that food?

The decision hung over me for most of Monday. For the last few years I’ve been trying to create less waste. I’ve shopped carefully for perishables, buying only what I thought we’d eat before spoilage. When I test recipes for work, I line up recipients for the extras beforehand, so it’ll all get eaten. And now I was considering throwing an entire cake in the garbage, plus more.

About an hour before I had to pick up my son on Monday, I took stock. I’d snuck a few forkfuls of crack pie and two cookies. Not a good sign that I’d eat in moderation the rest of the week. I stopped dithering over the decision, and started dumping treats in the trash. In went the cake, the remains of the crack pie, and most of the cookies. I emptied coffee grounds over it all, since I know myself — I’m very capable of fishing “perfectly good” food out of the garbage.

I opted for self-preservation over the greater good. I’m not pleased, but I’ll consider it a learning experience. Next time, I’ll pull out doggie bag containers before the first guest arrives.

Follow Debbie on Connect @debbieskoenig.

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