Yesterday we had a fabulous Christmas buffet at work. Everybody brought in a contribution, ranging from salads to sausage rolls, crisps to cakes, even some home made suchi but, more than anything else, piles and piles of mince pies. If you have trouble finding any in North Essex, it is probably our fault!!
We had an awful lot left over. The unopened and wrapped cakes and crisps and mincepies can be saved and munched on over the next few weeks so I put them all to one side. However, my manager’s comment that ‘we might as well throw the rest in the bin’ made me a) give him a stern lecture on wasting perfectly good food, and b) force my colleagues to take some bits home with them to share with their families.
As they were going out the door I was handing them ‘party bags’! Today at work the few of us who were lucky enough to be working on a Saturday shared a few savoury bits that I had clingfilmed and put in the fridge overnight and had our own mini party. Each time I got up they flinched in case I came back and offered them a sausage roll or another dreaded mince pie 🙂
They may laugh at me but they know I am right. We waste vast amounts of food in this country, especially at Christmas when too much is purchased in the first place. I am stunned and amazed at people’s casual approach to this, when we are supposed to be suffering the effects of a recession and tightening our belts, and when there are so many people really struggling and using food banks to get by.
Most people who grew up in the forties and fifties have a different approach because they were still feeling the effects of food shortages and rationing for many years after WW2. I think perhaps the rest of us need to get some of that mentality back, and to realise that we are lucky to enough to have enough to eat and that food is precious, to use up leftovers, to turn that chicken carcass into stock, to save the ends of bread for breadcrumbs and puddings, and not to buy so much in the first place!!
I will be devising all kinds of recipes to make sure we use up or freeze all of our leftovers after Christmas. Mince pie risotto anyone?