A few days ago I wrote Haunted by an Image of Pizza, a post about the huge mounds of half-eaten pizza I saw in dumpster behind a restaurant. I’ve always believed that food was sacred, and that it was a sin to waste anything edible. I despise food fights in movies and scenes where people trash leftovers instead of carefully saving them. Too often, the characters take a few bites of food and scrape the rest in the trash can or garbage disposal, and this ruins the movie for me. It shows a pattern of disregard for food that viewers consciously or unconsciously pick up on.
Besides, how can I empathize with a character who wastes food? I never waste food. I buy only what I can eat before the food goes bad, and when/if I cook, I always store what is left. Leftovers is a term I never use. I believe there is no such thing as leftover food, just a precooked meal. (And to way of thinking, if food smells and looks fresh, it’s still edible. Expiration dates seem more like an expiration of liability than the expiration of food. I’ve eaten eggs that are still fresh two weeks after the expiration date, and canned goods a year or even two after the date.)
Someone left a comment on that post that I would like to share with you. I ended my blog with “I can’t do anything about the situation, either to help the homeless fellow or deal with the discarded food, but still, the image stays with me.” She responded:
Why do you feel like you can’t do anything about the situation? Who do you think can? I will link a couple of articles and a video that I think you (and everyone else) should read/watch. Note the quote “Everybody is waiting for somebody else to take action.”
I can’t emphasise enough that this IS everybody’s responsibility, especially those of us in the privileged position to live in countries with surplus food as opposed to none, and you CAN do something to help the situation.
People are starving all over the world, yet we are so greedy, we order/cook/buy more than we can eat, and throw away the rest. The world produces enough food to feed each person on the globe 2,700 calories per day. (Read more at http://www.themindfulword.org/2011/designed-starvation-food-waste/#yh1IrXaCweEPe6J8.99). No one needs to go hungry.
We’ve been taught that the aesthetics of food is important, and we can be taught that food with blemishes and such things as crooked carrots can be pleasing, too.
As Mahatma Ghandi said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.