Zero Waste Cooking

Waste not want not: a small contribution to sustainability

By Leslie Cook - Food Shed Co-op Owner # 47

Today I was working on a post about sustainability. I got a little overwhelmed with the enormity of our problem even as I recognized how many smart, capable people are coming up with potential solutions in this area every day.

It was with my head still wrapped in thought about our environmental and social distribution issues that I went to make my lunch. I just planned on reheating some leftovers - Black Chickpea Curry that I made the other day from Anupy Singla's The Indian Slow Cooker and a little brown and wild rice. When I opened the refrigerator, I spotted some beautiful asparagus I had just picked up the other day. Even though it's rainy and cold today, I know it's spring when I see asparagus!

I started to cut the asparagus and realized I could only use about two-thirds of the stalk since the bottom third was too tough and stringy. It's really frustrating when that happens!

I read an article the other day that pointed out that 40% of our food is never eaten - it is thrown away. This brought me back to my thoughts of a few moments before as I was trying to write about sustainability. I thought to myself, "What can I do with that bottom third of the stalks?"

What I decided to do was to make a quick sauce to pour over the asparagus: I cut off those asparagus ends, cooked them for a minute or two and threw them into my VitaMix with some extra virgin olive oil, salt, basil and lemon juice. 10 seconds of blending and ... yum! My little lunch of leftovers was turned into something special. I'm going to do that again tonight. I might even share some.

Better yet, I felt less overwhelmed by my morning's reading. Yes, my little contribution today was minuscule in view of the task. Kind of like one vote in a country of 227,224,334 eligible to vote?? Or one drop in an ocean of water?

In a world of interdependence, though, each vote counts, each drop of water counts, and my asparagus sauce counted. Besides, it was delicious!

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