As the supermarket shelves empty due to panic stockpiling, now is not a bad time to think about how you buy, use and dispose of food. In the current circumstances, buying what you don't need/more than you need may be depriving someone else who does actually need it. My mother, for example, could not find bread nor eggs, forcing her to repeatedly venture to the supermarkets in search of them, putting herself at risk (she is elderly and has a heart condition, so is in the top 1% of people at risk of dying from COVID-19).
The people who can help her with her shopping either do not have the transport to do so or, by the time they finish work and can go to the shops, the shelves are empty. Online delivery is not an option as all the slots here have been booked into next month by people stockpiling. She is not the worst off. She is still mobile. Some people are not. Some people have even more serious conditions that put them at even more risk. Many supermarkets here in the UK have started rationing certain products and/or introducing shopping slots for the elderly and disabled, but still the shelves are empty of certain necessities.
Please people, stop stockpiling and have a thought for others!
In addition, did you know that around one third of the food produced around the world goes to waste? Did you know that this waste accounts for something like 8-10% of the world's greenhouse gases, so is seriously damaging our environment and our future?
Apart from buying less, I have a few suggestions:
- Keep an eye on what you have in your fridge and kitchen and try to use it before it goes off. There are eco friendly devices that can help keep vegetables etc. fresher for longer and there are Apps that help you to plan recipes around what you already have.
- For those of you in areas where supermarkets, local convenience stores, restaurants, cafes, bakeries etc. etc. are still operating, there may be Apps that allow you to buy unsold food that is still fresh, but would otherwise be thrown away, at discounted prices. You save money, you help to save the environment, and you might just be helping to save businesses that are really struggling to survive right now. It is better for them to get something, rather than nothing, for unsold food. Apps in the UK (might be available elsewhere, I'm not sure), include Karma and Too Good to Go.
- Go through your freezer and larder. Is there stuff lurking in there that you could use for your next meal? Get creative with recipes so you don't automatically have to go and buy more food. Think about what you could donate to a food bank or similar charity. There are also Apps where you can give unwanted food to your neighbours.
- Talking of the freezer, it's very easy to freeze bread, fruit and all sorts of things before they go off so they can be consumed later. Do be mindful though of food safety and don't refreeze stuff that it's not safe to do.
- If you have time on your hands, which many of us do, or are looking for ways to keep young ones occupied, think about using some of your foodstuffs to make jams, chutneys etc. Over ripe bananas are perfect for making banana cake/bread and I recently made up a few jars of chutney from courgettes and tomatoes I knew I wouldn't get through. If you put them in nice jars and label them, these can make great homemade gifts.
- Is bread scarce at your supermarket? Think about baking your own, especially if you have that "unwanted gift" of a breadmaker sitting around. I bet if you baked it yourself, you would be more reluctant to throw it away!
- Inevitably, you will have some scraps to throw away, such as peelings, egg shells, used tea bags and coffee grounds. If your local council has a food waste collection scheme, please use it. If you have a garden, try composting (could save you money too, as well as reducing the environmentally damaging peat based compost you might be buying).
I am slowing working through my cupboards and freezer. I am actually astounded by how often I think, "I have nothing to eat.. better pop to the shops," when actually I have lots of food. Previous guests leave so much behind. Don't throw it away! Think of how you might use it, or give it to someone who will.
@Mike-And-Helen0 a Labrador is certainly a solution.
I have three cats, but I don't give them scraps. They are greedy enough and I am sure some of their bad behaviour began with Airbnb and guests giving them scraps. Now, they are constantly harassing the guests or trying to steal their food!
@Huma0 LOL. Our cats feel entitled to whatever we're eating. Sad. We have to immediately clean up the table or they will eat/take off any leftovers. Indeed, many years ago one of my now deceased cats dragged or dumped a raw turkey onto the floor that had been left for a few minutes on the counter!
And let me say that the cats I grew up with, who were my grandmother's, never, and I mean never scratched the furniture, never got on the counters, never in my entire childhood do I recall them on the table trying to grab food. So, either she was a true cat whisperer [possible], or the indoor/outdoor v. indoor makes a massive difference in their behavior.
I'm taking it your cats are the indoor variety? Mine are indoor/outdoor and so I am not sure that makes a difference. They do not scratch the furniture, true, and are well behaved in every way EXCEPT that they are sooooo greedy.
The turkey doesn't surprise me. I couldn't begin to list all the ways my cats steal food. Well, actually, it's only the two male ones who steal. Merlot will snatch whatever he can off someone's plate if he gets a chance, including a whole spicy chicken fajita, but it's Grigio who is the worst.
Grigio steals toast from the toaster. He can open the very secure lid on the food waste bin. He can even open Tupperware. One time, he raided a very spicy King Prawn Jalfrezi that I had painstakingly cooked. I came back to find not one single of the 20 or so king prawns left and the sauce sprayed all over the kitchen, and I mean everywhere. I reckon he flicked each one out individually with his paw, hence the extent of the splatter 10 feet away. It took me hours to wash down all the cabinet doors, surfaces and floors, while he just sat there licking curry sauce off his whiskers.
Here is what a friend who was catsitting walked in to find. Grigio had managed to open the three tiered cake tin where I had hidden the Dreamies treats (I don't know how, I struggle to open it, it's so tight).
Note the orange packet, which has been opened and emptied. He is now sitting there, considering which one to try next.
@Huma0 I once had a dog and cat that worked as a team. The dog would jump up and push the fridge handle down, the cat would jump in and start batting things out of the fridge onto the floor, then they'd chow down.
The first time I came home to find the fridge open and the mess, I assumed I'd failed to shut the door properly. Then I caught them at it a few days later.
@Sarah977 That’s priceless. Annoying as it must have been, it’s also very impressive. I have to give them kudos for that. Shame you don’t have it on video. That’s instagram gold. You could have made your fortune
That's hilarious, our beloved Lily dog was very subservient to all the cats in her life ( she lived to be 18) but she figured out that cats were not allowed on the table & would woof at any feline who casually stood up on a dining room chair and raised a paw, this was so humiliating it stopped all attempts. Our cat Arthur used to sample her food from time to time just to show he could but if she tasted his he would bust her chops. She was a very good dog
My working-from-home adventure has seen me discover what the cat gets up to in my (normal) absence. She's ridiculously agile and can get a pouch of food open with ease. Thought I'd seen it all...
It's the nitrogen rich stuff that makes the heat and the drier stuff like cardboard that prevents the slimy stink by providing air spaces. Shredding up the stuff so it gets evenly moist but not soggy -think a wet but wrung out sponge will speed things along, the bigger the pieces the longer they will take. to compost. Scratch your pup on the chest for me, we are currently without a canine & I'm deprived of my daily cuddles with neighbor's dogs right now & I miss them all.