The all-mighty fridge list

I used to waste a lot of food. I’d get carried away and buy too many ingredients. I’d buy my favourite vegetables, not having a firm plan of what I was going to do with them, but just so they were ‘there’. So that I would avoid eating chips, or toast, for dinner. I’d feel silly buying one carrot, so i’d buy 3 and then not store the spares properly. I actually only took notice of just how much I was wasting after I begun composting the waste. Back then we were living in an apartment and using a bokashi bin composting system, and I was filling it too often. The biggest tragedy was that I would be wasting good quality dairy products. For some reason I just had a mental block about tubs of yoghurt, I’d open them and enjoy the first serving but then they would be hidden at the back of the fridge and not noticed until I bought the next one and had to figure out which one was still edible. Even worse, I’d buy some nice cheese (bocconcini, or a good blue, or a nice ripe brie) and although i’d be tempted to gorge on it in one sitting (I love cheese!), I’d think I was being sensible by tucking some away, rationing myself. Sometimes I’d have to throw out quite a few dollars worth of spoilt cheese.

With two of us cooking it can get complicated too. An avocado might be cut open, even though there is half an avocado in the fridge from the day before.

Some people solve all this by having menu planners, but that doesn’t suit us. I still like to feel like I have some choice. Although now my choices are all ruled by the fridge list. I’m sure guests see the fridge list and think it’s a shopping list, and I think we’ve had that confusion with a houseguest or two also. For instance, broccoli might be on the list, and then I see that there is extra broccoli in the fridge, kindly donated by a guest. Now I know to explain, “Oh no, that list is the opposite of a shopping list! It’s a ‘use me first’ list”. Common things that appear on the list regularly are cut vegetables (half a tomato, or cucumber, or already peeled ginger etc.), and opened dairy goods (sour cream, yoghurt), but also featured are things that I bought too many of (zucchinis, or green beans), things that were meant for one meal idea but got waylaid (a leek, some cabbage), and of course leftovers of fully prepared meals.

Many of my lunches are now inspired by the fridge list, eg. just the other day I had too much cabbage but also a bit of Chinese sausage. That was a no-brainer, I just added a carrot and onion, a little garlic and ginger and a dash of kecap manis and had it all tossed through noodles. The fridge list actually makes experimental cooking fun. Would I bother putting fennel and grapefruit through my salad otherwise? Probably not.

The best thing is that it has reduced our food waste down to practically zero, and that’s good news for everyone 🙂

fridge list

P.S. Sadly, I didn’t get around to using the aqua faba, although one day I will make those meringues!

P.P.S. I did use the leftover oil from a jar of artichokes, by stirring it through some rice for another tasty lunch (with cherry tomatoes and some other toppings). The pickle liquid also had an extended life, using it to pickle some cucumbers from fresh.



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