Trashed & Wasted; A Charity Event

 

Waste not want not, innit?

Waste not want not, innit?

 

Even if just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world.”-FAO.org 

Food waste is a big problem in much of the western world. Supermarkets, consumers, restaurants and other food producers, providers and merchants throughout the world waste as much as a third of the food produced. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)  this amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes. In North America and Europe, this works out to each man, woman and child wasting between 95 and 115 kilograms of food each year. Also according to the FAO, “…in medium- and high-income countries food is wasted and lost mainly at later stages in the supply chain. Differing from the situation in developing countries, the behaviour of consumers plays a huge part in industrialized countries.”

 

Too ugly to eat?

Too ugly to eat?

 

One of our behaviour patterns is our penchant for tossing out any produce that does not look like it would win a red ribbon at the county fair. So-called “Ugly Fruit and Vegetables” don’t have a chance as they are often dismissed and tossed early on in the chain from the farm to supermarket shelf, or, if they do make it, lay rejected by consumers who have been conditioned to believe that they deserve “nothing but the best” even if this standard of beauty is chiefly a superficial consideration. Fortunately many “Ugly Vegetable” campaigns are popping up, changing the way suppliers and consumers approach the idea of seeking perfection in the produce aisle.

“In developing countries 40% of losses occur at post-harvest and processing levels while in industrialized countries more than 40% of losses happen at retail and consumer levels”.-FAO.org

As if this weren’t bad enough, arbitrary expiration/ best before dates determined by the food manufacturer to get us to discard even more viable foodstuff also contribute to huge amounts of pointless waste, inculcating in us a paranoia that borders on the absurd and usurps common sense.

There is some hope, however. In this excellent article Christine Sismondo discusses some of the “Zero-waste” initiatives being enacted citywide and nationwide by markets, farms and chefs; even hotels, breweries and distilleries are coming up with innovative ideas to make 2017, as Ms Sismondo calls it, The Year of Mindful Eating and Drinking.

 

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And right in our own backyard, at the Wychwood Barns  on March 1st, some of Toronto’s top talent-chefs, brewers, distillers, artists and innovators- will be hosting “Trashed & Wasted,” a charity event that aims to make us re-think trash, and waste, “ for a one night celebration of the sustenance, beauty, and benefits of what was once simply trashed and wasted.” Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting Second Harvest Toronto, the main provider of fresh food to people in need in Toronto.

“Trashed & Wasted will pair innovative chefs with ethically-minded suppliers to create dishes from rescued food. Local brewers, distillers, and drinks experts will be challenged to concoct libations from repurposed ingredients. Local artists and designers will display creations from disposed and found objects….”

 Participants in the event include Sanagans Meat Locker, Porchetta & Co, Hooked Inc, Arepa Cafe, Montgomery’s Restaurant, Rainhard Brewery & Yongehurst Distillery as well as suppliers Blackbird Bakery, Chasers Juice, Chocosol, Montforte Dairy, Soma Chocolate, Sanagans Meat Locker and Hooked Inc. This is not a sit down dinner, but more like a bazaar. Admission is 35$ at the door, but only 30$ if you get in on the earlybird special 

 

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Individual food items will be on sale for 5$ each. What will these talented and ethically-minded chefs be serving? How will they tempt us with treats and dishes made from ingredients that were saved from an ignominious fate? Show up at Wychwood barns at 6 pm March 1st and find out for yourself!



Essential Pantry Ingredients: Powdered milk

 

Powdered milk in your hot chocolate - how tantalizing!

Powdered milk in your hot chocolate – how tantalizing! Seriously…

 

Having a secret stash of powdered milk hidden in your cupboard is not exactly sexy or exciting; it’s not like having a bottle of rare brandy stashed away only to be broken into on special occasions. Few of us have heard the words, “Time to break out the powdered milk!” when celebrating. But instant powdered milk, most often the fat-free or “skim milk” variety is a healthy, handy and helpful foodstuff that has a place, if not in our hearts, at least in our cupboard.

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Rooting Your Own Mint

Rooting mint

Rooting mint in a small decorative vase.

There’s nothing like having fresh mint on hand, and I don’t know about you, but when I buy a bunch of mint, I tend use it a couple of times for a specific recipe, or to add to the best gin and tonic recipe anywhere.

Best Gin & Tonic Anywhere

Mix up whatever ratio of gin and tonic you prefer, with ice cubes.

Add to it, a generous squeeze of fresh lime, a couple of slices of cucumber, and a mint leaf or two. Swirl. Enjoy the taste of summer.

But after making my gin and tonic or whatever, I generally toss the remaining mint bunch into the fridge where it often dies because I forget it’s there. Pulling a squishy bunch of decaying mint out of the fridge is always sadness-inducing. And the last thing we need is more sadness in January, the month that contains the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday.

Fresh mint showing root development.

Fresh mint showing root development.

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Canadian Favourites: Stoned Wheat Thins

 

 

Hey Girl...I'm still Canadian

Hey Girl…I’m still Canadian

Canada is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, and we thought we’d have a look throughout the year at a few products that we’ve either grown up with or are identifiable as Canadian. There are lots of items out there that have stood the test of time and have been gracing our tables for generations. Maybe the company that originally made them has been purchased by an international conglomerate, but we still call them our own. Sort of like our favourite movie stars. Continue »



Essential Kitchen Gadgets: The Microplane

 

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The microplane is such a useful tool in the kitchen that it almost seems insulting to call it a gadget. We probably use ours every day, for fine grating and zesting everything from garlic cloves to nutmeg. Microplane  is actually a trademarked name of Grace Manufacturing Inc, an American company that specializes in steel tools for etching and grinding and woodworking, so it makes sense that they would come up with this indispensable tool. Continue »