Four pounds of cheese.
No, despite my near addiction to all things dairy, I am not actually referring to the amount of cheese that I am likely to consume in a single sitting. What that weighty amount of dairy goodness does represent is the amount of cheese thrown out by the average American over the course of a year, according to an article in the July, 2011 issue of National Geographic, entitled How to Feed A Growing Planet. That article, in turn, inspired my friend Jenni to start the Four Pounds of Cheese project – an experiment where participants would document, for a week, just what it was they were wasting, food-wise. Having been brought up to the tune of my mother’s “waste not, want not” mantra, I am programmed to abhor waste. That doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of wasting food with the best of them. It does, however, mean that I’ll feel dreadfully guilty when I do. Needless, to remark, I was keen to join in.
Last Monday, the week of waste watching began and it didn’t get off to a great start.
I ate out for lunch and the salmon I ordered was served in the classic Irish manner, meaning it came with two kinds of potato (mashed and roasted, in this case). Despite a valiant effort, I didn’t manage to clear my plate, so, to my shame, the very first thing I managed to waste were some of those selfsame spuds. And then I did what I suspect many of us do: I ordered dessert anyway. Different compartment, right? Surprise, surprise, I couldn’t finish that either. Sheesh. Waste 1, Spud 0.