Friday, February 20, 2009

Don't Throw Away Food!

I paid $1.59 for one green bell pepper today. I'm sure you all remember that this past summer peppers were ridiculously expensive so, relatively speaking, that $1.59 seems like a great deal! Kinda like gasoline....$1.79 (what I paid yesterday here in SC) is far less than the almost $4/gallon that we were paying just a few months ago. But that is still way too expensive.

Ok, I don't want to get off track, so let me get the train going toward the topic of my post today, which is "Don't Throw Away Food!" Maybe I should have chosen the title "Don't Do as the FoodTV Chefs Do!"

Look at this photo (above) of a green bell pepper. I've noticed the latest "trick" the TVNetwork "chefs" use to dissect a bell pepper is to stand it up with the stem end on the top and slice straight down around the stem and the seeds. They use the pieces of the walls of the peppers and discard the large square bottom and all the trimmings around the stem. Oy Vay! That irritates me to no end!

I saw an interview one time with Chef Mario Battali (who is a real chef and restaurateur and extremely respected for his talents and his business acumen) where he addressed the concern of restaurateurs everywhere...the slim profit margin. He said that he visits all his restaurants and personally checks to make sure food waste is at a minimum, because that can really cut into the bottom line in an industry with a very low profit margin. The example he gave was seeing a cook cutting off the top and base of bell peppers, using only the walls and discarding the rest. Sure, that might have saved a bit of time cleaning peppers, But Chef Battali said that his cooks were throwing away a third of the pepper by cleaning it that way. He was incensed just talking about it!

So, in watching several of the TVNetwork shows the other day and seeing the "chefs" clean peppers this way, I thought of Chef Battali and of my own frugality in the kitchen. With few exceptions, almost every piece of every vegetable or animal product can be used and should not be thrown away.

Trim and clean with precision and save the scraps to make meat and vegetable stocks. Even brown onion skins can be saved to color Easter eggs. (This was the only way my grandmother made Easter eggs. She said her father thought the dyes were not healthy for children to ingest, so this is how HER mother made them.) For the scraps that simply cannot be used, such as the scaley pineapple rind, save these to add to your garden compost pile.

I don't know about you, but I can't afford to throw away food! If you want to know how to make use of those scraps, shoot me an email with a question and I'll find you a good way for you to play with your food!

Bon App├ętit!
Chef Debbie


Mags said...

I thought I was the only one who noticed this about TV chefs. Drives me crazy too!

Very nice blog, btw. I arrived here via the Foodie BlogRoll.

Chef Debbie said...

Thanks for the kind words!

himashni said...

Thanx 4 raising this point. I feel reali bad when i watch reality cooking shows n c th chefs bin food cos its cold, slitely overcookd etc. It makes me also wondr wot my local resturant is doin aswel. So i try nt 2 waste n take left overs. But is it reali makin a differnc cos other diners dnt seem 2 care