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What Do You Think About Wasting Food?

Updated on June 5, 2017
Diana Grant profile image

I like to save money, believe in recycling, and saving all sorts of necessary and unnecessary items in case they’ll come in useful one day

Why do Some People Aways Waste Food?

A plate of leavings
A plate of leavings | Source

I Hate Food Waste

I can't help it, I think it must be just the way I was brought up. When I was a child in the 1940's, during and after the War, there were food shortages, and food was such a precious commodity that leaving anything on your plate was well-nigh sacrilege. If my brother and I didn't eat every morsel we were given, my parents would say that little children in Turkey and Greece would love to have it, which would occasionally elicit the logical but unacceptable reply "well, let them have it then!"

So I was brought up to scrape my plate clean, and that is what I've done all my life. If any food was left over, it was put to good use for the next meal or to feed the cat or dog.

Imagine my dismay to be with a partner who always, always leaves something on his plate

He is as compulsive as I am, but in the opposite direction. Where did he learn that? I don't know, but it must be learned behavior, just as mine is.

I've asked him why he does it, and he doesn't know. I suggested psychological reasons -

  • that it might be because he came from a large family and sub-consciously needed to grab the food on his plate because he was in competition, but he said it wasn't that.
  • Then I suggested it might be poverty (a family of eight must have been hard to feed) - that sub-consciously he needed to make sure he had enough, but he said it wasn't that either.

All we know is that his eyes are persistently bigger than his oojah, and he always puts more than he needs on his plate. He's actually a very small eater, and not greedy, yet seems unable to assess how much he is likely to eat in one meal.

This sometimes leads to arguments, as I can't bear to throw away his leavings, and we are left with little piles of food to be kept for him to eat later (if the flies or cat don't get there first).

A lovely roast chicken, but what do you do with the chicken carcass?


Would you use up chicken leftovers, or do you chuck them in the bin?

People who are very poor can sometimes only survive by living off scraps which other people have thrown away, like the people in third world countries who scavenge from rubbish dumps. But they don't all die of food poisoning, even in these dire cirumstances.

And even in wealthier countries there are some people who scavenge for food, or, at the very least, use food thrown out by supermarkets.

Supermarkets and perishable food

And in these days of recession, many people queue up to see what food is available at a reduced price at supermarkets because it has to be eaten that day. I know of pensioners who like to buy their food in the late afternoon, as this is the time when they can find the best bargains, when the food stores weed out all their perishable food to flog off cheaply before it has to be destroyed.

Would you make something like this with the leftovers?

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
Chicken and Mushroom Risotto | Source

Waste Not, Want Not

It is not necessarily poverty which drives people to do this - being old doesn't necessarily mean being poor - I think it is because senior citizens are of the old school who lived through the War or post-war food shortages, and were brought up on the saying "waste not, want not", and it has stood them in very good stead - they seem to be far more resistant to wasting food and other commodities than younger people who were brought up in the modern throw-away materialistic era. They can't help it, poor darlings, but the under-sixties do seem to be unneccesarily frightened of their own shadows and horrible diseases, and perhaps, in our current recessionary times, they need to develop a more robust approach to the available commodities.

Would you eat this cheese? I would - I'd cut off all the mouldy bits and eat the rest


So would you use food after the "use by" date has expired?

What's your approach to suspect food?

See results

The Global Food Waste Scandal

Your Comments - here's where we recycle some of your views

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    • profile image

      Karen 7 months ago

      Excellent article and something we all need to think about. I don't waste much. We like leftovers and we have chickens who like them, too. :-)

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 7 months ago from Dehra Dun, India

      Diana, we eat at home normally and everything is under control. There is hardly any wastage. But it happens quite often in restaurants. My wife would get the leftover packed if it is worth it while eating outside. But it definitely goes waste if only a little is left. In any case, wasting food is like a crime that people commit sometimes. Thanks for sharing your nice views on food wastage.

    • Diana Grant profile image

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from London

      I'm glad I'm not alone - you are a woman after my own heart!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I hate to waste food. I cut the moldy parts off cheese. Cheese is supposed to age anyway. Some canned goods can go years past their expiration dates. I use my nose and eyes for things like meats and other stuff. No reason to take a chance and get sick, but then again there's no reason to throw something out that's perfectly fine. Nice hub!

    • CarNoobz profile image

      CarNoobz 4 years ago from USA

      That would work =)

    • Diana Grant profile image

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from London

      That sounds a good idea, but of course it would be a waste to throw away huge pots - can't they be recycled as garden seats, fishponds or baby baths??

    • CarNoobz profile image

      CarNoobz 4 years ago from USA

      Throwing food away KILLS me. My mother in law lives with us and cooks alot. Her background as a cafeteria cook -- and as a mom to hordes of kids and grandkids -- conditioned her to cook in massive quantities, and nobody but me seems to go for leftovers.

      Maybe I should throw out her huge pots and only keep the medium sized ones =)

    • Diana Grant profile image

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from London

      That sounds nice

    • Bonsie007 profile image

      Bonsie007 4 years ago

      Very interesting hub! I use leftovers out of leftovers. And have then placed those leftovers in a soft tortilla and served those! Thanks for posting.