Food Network – The Big Waste

This is one of the most interesting, and slightly awful, specials Food Network has ever done.

Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli are participating in a challenge where they have to prepare a banquet meal using “waste”. They’re visiting produce stands, grocery stores, farms, and meat/poultry/seafood distributors to get their ingredients.

Through it all, one message is surfacing. We, as American consumers, are absurdly superficial. We reject produce because the outside layer of cabbage is wilted, a tomato’s skin cracked from too much water, or a chicken’s egg is perfectly sized and colored.

I don’t think I ever realized this was going on. I’m completely guilty. I reject blemished tomatoes and potatoes and onions and lettuce. If it’s going to be chopped, diced, minced, pureed and otherwise reconfigured…why in the world do we care?!?

Another question, which may be unanswered due to editing, is why the farms don’t donate the food to soup kitchens or sell processed versions of the produce/meat/etc. It may be a matter of no one willing to accept the “imperfect” items, or the quantity being too overwhelming to process. Really, though, if I were a restaurant or processed food maker (like a pie baker, jam maker, or a deli selling chicken salad)…I would be on this like crazy.

One of my dreams is to own land, animals, and grow food. There’s a clear lesson here – all those leftovers WILL be donated.

There are far too many hungry people in America to throw away such good food.