Book Review: The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook
When you’re cleaning-up from family dinner, do you stare in amazement at the amount of uneaten food left on the plates? Do you grit your teeth thinking about the money you’re throwing in the trash along with that uneaten food?
Forty percent of the food produced in North America is wasted and half of that is happening in households like yours and mine. According to cookbook author Cindy Chavich that amounts to about 20 pounds of food waste per person per month!
It was those kind of hard-to-stomach statistics that inspired Cindy to write The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook: Save Food, Save Money and Save the Planet. It’s also what inspired me to read her book.
The premise for the cookbook is simple: How can the average person maximize the use of every ingredient purchased in creative, tasty recipes specifically designed to reduce waste? Chavich came up with a number of delicious dishes like Panang Chicken Curry and Roasted Carrot Sesame Hummus (a must try!).
Learn a Variety of Ways to Reduce Food Waste in Your Kitchen
Bonus: Along the way to filling your tummy and preventing a drain on your purse, you’re doing a good thing for the planet by wasting not when you prepare, cook and store foods in an environmentally conscious way.
In the book, you’ll learn a variety of tips that help the average family cut down on food waste:
- Don’t buy excessive amounts of food. Make a list before you go shopping based on what meals you’ll prepare for the week ahead and what staple items are needed and can be stored longer term.
- A lot of people forget to double check the fridge and pantry before they go shopping. Look in your fridge and pantry to make sure you actually need something before it goes on your shopping list.
- Be smarter about “best-use-before” labels. There’s no federal regulation to have a best-before date one on any food except baby formula. [A number of states have requirements for certain types of foods.] The only reason companies use these dates is to indicate “peak freshness.” While we can’t control what grocery stores do with food past the so-called best use date, in your own home, don’t toss things before they’ve gone bad, just because they’ve hit their best-before date.
- Get familiar with best practices for food storage and shelf life. You’ll find a variety of resources online to help you learn how to properly can, wrap, seal and save food for future use.
I especially liked the format for this book, which is based on the foods you have on hand. There are three main categories: Vegetables, Staples, and Weekly Feasts (includes meat and fish). I can quickly take stock of what’s on the shelves of my fridge or in my pantry and reference the cookbook for recipes for a meal, or learn how to store what I have on hand but don’t feel like eating again. (I have to say, the storage tips alone are priceless!) I also appreciated the metric conversion charts.
There are tons of great ideas for using fruit that is overripe, integrating end-of-the-jar condiments into recipes, and building a new meal around leftover meat, veggies or fish. Below is a very short list of how this cookbook helped me use items I had leftover – items that I (or another family member) might have mindlessly tossed out.
– Chicken with Apple and Rosemary brings together leftover chicken, overripe apples, sprigs of rosemary frozen from last summer, and the last ounce or two of the apple juice that no one wants to drink.
– Avocado “Anything” I’m always left with half a rotten avocado because it gets lost in the back of the fridge or simply because no one wants to eat the whole thing in one sitting. The storage tips and the quick recipes have helped me make full use of this superfood.
– Stir-fry Creativity ‘ve learned stir-fry doesn’t have to be limited to Asian entrees and fajitas need not only use southwest inspired seasoning.
Make saving money and saving food a priority in your kitchen. Put The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook: Save Food, Save Money and Save the Planet by Cindy Chavich on the top your shopping list.
Fresh Paper Keeps Food Fresh & Reduces Food Waste
Don’t forget to stock your kitchen with these earth-friendly, cost-saving, food-saving storage sheets. They’re wonderful for produce, sliced fresh fruit, berries, veggies.
Review by Karen M. Rider, M.A.
Karen is a contributing editor with Medicine Talk Pro. She has a decade of experience writing about holistic health, wellness, and integrative medicine. Karen holds degrees in kinesiology and health psychology and has training in wellness coaching, yoga and health research. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Association for Health Care Journalists. When she isn’t writing, Karen enjoys biking and kayaking with her family and relaxing with a home-brewed cup of organic tea. Learn More about Karen