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Eat Your Fridge

By on December 31, 2014

Wasting food is bullshit. A UN study argued that approximately half of all food produced worldwide is wasted before consumption.  This fact, coupled with another that estimates more than 850 million hungry people in the world today, is enough to ruin my sizeable western appetite. In an attempt to unburden myself from these miserable stats,  I’m trying to act more responsibly when it comes to consumption. Below are a couple of ideas I do to achieve this…

Hello, my name is Brad and I’m here to help you eat your fridge.

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It doesn’t look like much yet but this unholy mess will soon birth greatness.

Vegetable Stock

I feel a great many people don’t get the full value from their fresh produce while cooking because all the unappetizing scraps and peels are immediately discarded during the preparations, etc. My advice here is to gather all the vegetable scraps, peels, cores, and stems from every meal and freeze them in a container until you have about 3-4 cups worth. When you do, place all these frozen leftovers- and some salt, pepper, bay and thyme leaves- into a large pot of boiling water and let simmer to about half the volume. In the end you should have yourself a few cups of charming vegetable stock that can lend flavour to any future dishes in place of water. Yes, you can argue this dish wastes water in the reduction process… but don’t.

 

Refrigerator Soup

Vegetable soup with dying mushrooms, bok choy, and the last fresh leaves off my cilantro.

Vegetable soup with dying mushrooms, bok choy, and the last fresh leaves off my cilantro.

Soup is an obvious escape from food waste but also time-consuming, and this prompts the majority to avoid even starting anything as ambitious as a Goulash or bowlful of Minestrone. Luckily, if you already have in your possession a frozen container of the vegetable stock previously mentioned, the meal is three-quarters done when it comes to mind… and it won’t require a lengthy preparation to hit The Spot. Simply reach your hand into the back of the fridge and allow your arm to drag the entire contents into your largest pot; fill to the brim with that stock or water and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer until it tastes good.

Prep Time: 15 seconds

Cooking time: 36 days

Now, for a real recipe, try out my most recent batch of refrigerator soup here, but remember this recipe should never be the same twice so to follow this exactly means you’re doing it wrong. Add salt to taste immediately before serving.

 

Charcuterie

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Every fridge reserves deep within itself a special place for cured meats and  cheeses. Sadly, these foods can often escape the attention of many  scavengers and end up melting in some far, untouched region of a  southern crisper, hidden under a head of similarly wilted greens and other well-intentioned food purchases. Before this happens, gather 3-5 friends  around the table and serve it to them all at once alongside a collection of  pickled vegetables, bread, crackers, and oil… and mustard, jellies, sweetbreads and pate, when available. The indulgence will surely add to your guilt as a well-fed consumer but try to find peace in the lesser waste… one here can only have a single cause so get a little fat and waste not.

 

“Cobbish”  Salad

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Wilted

We’ve all heard of a Cobb Salad, yes? Traditionally, the garden medley contains an equal measure of egg, avocado, tomato, chicken, onion, bacon, and blue cheese-idle- on top of some usually bland greens like iceberg lettuce… enough said? My version is similar only in its madness, and changes depending on what foods happen to be turning in my fridge when the hunger strikes. The recipe varies but the general practice is to substitute each traditional ingredient as closely as possible with any organic item in your fridge or pantry that is clearly on its way out of this hard world. For instance, begin with a little spinach in place of the lettuce. Try using leftover beef in place of chicken; parmesan or hardening cheddar instead of blue cheese; soft peppers, mushrooms or carrot to replace the usual vegetables, etc. A strong salad dressing will usually remedy a wilted vegetable but not always one that is completely  rotten so please don’t ingest a ton of mold in an effort to soften your green footprint. A quick salad is by no means novel but to fill it with leftovers is a road less traveled

 

Shake Verde

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Option A: Before your bananas cross into an inedible category, peel them, slice them, and freeze them in a container. When the time comes and your collection of failing fruit and vegetables becomes too much to bear, add a cup of these cold bananas to a blender with a handful of spinach, apples, celery, pineapple, yogurt, and orange juice and blend until real smooth. The beauty in this recipe is that nothing in it needs to be particularly appetizing in the beginning because the acid from the OJ and pineapple will cut any of the earthy flavour from a dying green.

Option B: Blend everything once edible but about to die and drink until full or sick.

 

Obvious

Turn your bad bananas into bread.

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Share your thoughts with us regarding Eat Your Fridge

  • Do you have any recipe ideas when cooking with leftovers that you would like to share?
  • What efforts do you put in place to maximize the consumption of the food in your fridge?
  • Do you believe that the relief put in place to help food shortages around the world is enough?  Could we be doing more?

If you would like to share your thoughts please leave a comment below.


 

 

Brad Ariss

About Brad Ariss

Brad is a freelance writer in the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario. He has lived and travelled in over thirty countries worldwide and has spent more time abroad than at home since having graduated from an economics program in his exceedingly distant youth. When free of time and obligation, he spends his minutes in a narrow kitchen, cooking with and with the support of an array of wine, beer, music and spirits.

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