Food waste: in the good old days…

…things took a long time

My mum and I love a toastie for a quick lunch and on this particular occasion we pondered the subject of food waste. She was telling me how much easier it is in the modern toastie machines compared to when she was growing up. In those days they had a metal utensil that you would sandwich the bread in and heat it over the coals – yes, coals. My mum grew up in Nairobi, Kenya and although they had electricity, the didn’t have a cooker so they would use a “sagri”, a coal cooker. It would take a while to get ready to use.

My mum loves a cup of tea….but there was no way she¬†could drink so much tea using a sagri. She said that in those days you would make tea when the sagri was hot – they didn’t have the luxury of hot water at the flick of a switch. Taking this further, they didn’t have the facilities to store food in the fridge. They would buy enough food for the meal, make the food and eat the food. Opening the fridge and helping themselves to a snack wasn’t an option. Food consumption was planned, as was tea.

And that could be why they wasted less food…

We waste more food today than ever. I’ve always put that down to the availability of food i.e. food is cheap and we have vast amounts of food at our fingertips. But, listening to my mum, it’s more than that. In a funny sort of way life has become too easy. We can do a big shop because we can put it in the fridge and it is next to no effort to cook it or warm up when we want it. If it was harder to prepare our food perhaps we would only bring into our homes as much as were willing to spend time preparing.

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