Finish your food or else no dessert! This threat came with the Catholic guilt to eat your food (all of it) because there are hundreds of poor and hungry children out there. I can still hear my grandmother say these words during meal time while she prepares dessert. I never found out if she was true to her threats because I made sure to finish my food.
Some 35 lbs ago, I could afford to force feed myself to avoid leftovers. If there was one piece of meat left on the table, my thinking was that the last piece should be free of its loneliness and should rejoin its friends. Besides, even if it were set aside for another meal, everyone in the household assumes that someone else will eat it! But NO!! It stays in the refrigerator alone and lonely until it changes its chemical composition and physical appearance, which is usually very unpleasant. All the more no one will want to touch it!
Sometimes it is not just one tiny piece of meat, it may be half a leg of ham from Christmas dinner, which may last until new year’s eve and even the whole year. Or the huge bird from Thanksgiving dinner, if does not undergo a decent makeover, its remains are preserved throughout the Christmas season.
An on article on “Leftovers from the Past” from www.barillacfn.com/en, recycling food and using it as an ingredient for other dishes was an important practice especially during the war as a means of austerity measure.
In the recipe page, please see my version of recycling Peking duck to duck and vegetable soup, and leftover ham to Gougere’ Ham and Mushroom.
In the US today, another mode of recycling food waste from restaurants and homes is being practiced by collecting food waste together with plastic and glass. Read more about: “Recycling Food Scraps” in www.time.com.
The case is different for poor families who will most likely clean out their plate because there is not enough food for the whole family. This brings us to a totally different concept of recycling. Sometime ago, www.reuters.com featured “Filipino poor scavenge for recycled food to survive”, an article about “pagpag” or dusting off the food waste then recooking it to feed the family. It is unfortunate that food recycling has come to this. It is not only a concern on health and nutrition, but sanitation (for obvious reasons!), and more important, overall human well being.