Monday, November 7, 2011

Totally Non-Psychological Rapidwrite Part 1...American Wasteland

I am going to write a series of non-psychological stream-of-consciousness blog entries. No naval gazing, just things that don't have much to do with my Inner Landscape - thoughts about books I am reading, projects I am doing or would like to do...more tangible things and living in the Outer World. Sometimes I've just gotta take a vacation outside my own head, although it will be obvious this comes out of my head sans any editing ;-)

In the past week I have read a few books...let's see if I can remember what they are without getting up...American Wasteland and Precious Blood, and I just started Five Views on Law and Gospel. American Wasteland is my favorite kind of non-fiction book...something about an interpersonal/social issue that may or may not be political, written in an easily readable style with appropriate humor (often sarcastic or ironic). Non-Sentimental-Pathos is also welcome. Wasting food is something I feel guilty about, but I've never really TRIED to reduce it. This book really hit home the fact that throwing away food is like throwing away money. There are so many reasons I waste food - sometimes it is laziness, other times lack of ideas how to use what I have on hand, or I don't have a real plan for managing leftovers, etc. We shop at a scratch and dent, or seconds, grocery store sometimes, but I have realized that a lot of food from there gets wasted because 1) it is more likely to actually be stale since lots of the stuff there is close to the best-by date 2) it is often an off-brand that just isn't very good and 3) we can just buy more than we can reasonably eat because the prices are good...but even if something costs only 1.00 or so per item on average, if even 10% of what I buy gets tossed out, that adds up to a lot of money over the course of a year. The author, Jonathan Bloom, also states that the less varied your diet is, the less you waste...that is kinda good news for me, because I am not a very adventurous eater, and a lot of my struggle with cooking comes from feeling like I "should" cook a huge variety of different meals and lots of components within meals. I saw when we were camping that cooking was easier when there were fewer choices to make...the night before we came home, we didn't have lots of food left, but I made a meal of oatmeal, sauteed green apples with pecans, and fried leftover baked potatoes and onions...yeah, it was high carb, but it was not horrible nutritionally and it all tasted good together, and there was no hand-wringing involved, with me bemoaning my not-well-planned-and-balanced meal. The majority of this book is about food waste throughout the entire food cycle, from farm to store to restaurant or home, and the focus is not clever tips to cut food waste at home. It was a sobering look at how our prosperity has made us immune to the real value of food, and how our Martha Stewart ideas of beauty in the kitchen lead us to reject imperfect produce or crushed boxes, and how our paranoia about safety keeps supermarkets and restaurants from donating tons and tons of perfectly good food to food banks, charities, etc. We just don't know how good we have of the people interviewed for the book thought that in a way, living through a real financial depression would be good for us, because it would shock us out of our mentality that just about everything is easily disposable because there will always be more where that came from.

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