When the prime minister told us recently to stop wasting food, I felt it my duty as newlyish British citizen to do as he said. So I've been making a concerted effort to ensure nothing goes to waste. And given my current financial situation, it's become even more important to turn my potato and carrot peelings into a hearty soup. Perfect for this fine summer.
I have come to the realisation that the biggest food wastage in our house (bar half opened bags of lettuce that go slimy - mainly because I think I will be a healthy eater but decide against it quite often) is the food my children ask for and then don't eat. They, for example, plead starvation and beg for something to eat. So I present them with an apple. They take one bite and say they've had 'nuff'. Two minutes later they'll say that they're hungry again. What that actually means is that they want something out of the red tin up high that contains the sweeties.
So I end up eating an apple, whether I want it or not. Supper rolls around. Tonight it was lamb chops (those cost a fortune I'll have you know) with rice, peas, courgette (grown in our very own garden - talk about saving pennnies) with gravy. I was told by son 1 as he sat holding his head in his hands, gazing at his plate in a very sad way, that "this supper is boring. It's the most boring supper I've ever seen." At which point we had words, and there was definitely a mention about children starving in Africa, which obviously led to a discussion about Mama Mirabelle's home movies because Mama Mirabelle is from Africa.
So child 1 ate the rice and vegetables but refused the lamb. Child 2 ate the lamb but refused the rice if it had gravy on it - "only the white bits mummy" - and certainly ignored the vegetables including our beautiful first ever home grown courgette. He then insisted on a second lamb chop, but obviously he couldn't have his brother's rejected chop because it had been given the plague the minute it hit his brother's plate. So after coercing him to eat more rice and peas, I finally agreed that he could have another chop. He had one bite, then pronounced: "I've had nuff."
So, having eaten my already rather large portion of dinner, I was faced with two half chewed lamb chops, quite a bit of rice and lots of veg. The price of the lamb chops alone could have bought child 1's new big school trousers so there was no way they were going in the bin. And I could have put them in the fridge, but something about day-old half-chewed chops doesn't really appeal. So I had to eat it. All. Waste not want not and all that. Except that my waist line is in no way wanting.
If I keep having to stop our family wasting by eating all of my children's food, I am going to become the model used on the NHS anti-obesity campaign posters. The solution is to cook less, hardly cook anything for me, and then just eat the kids leftovers. We save money. We cut down waste. I don't eat as much. We're all winners. Except that eating half chewed left overs isn't a fab culinary experience. I think for now I'll just have to keep being a good samaritan and eat for all of us. Once husband gets off his mega slimming drive, he can take over. Or we need to get a dog.
P.S. During the dinner that wasn't eaten, son 2 said: "Daddy's in Merica." Son 1 had just finished telling us all how we live on planet earth. So upon hearing his younger brother's comment, he thought for a second and then said: "Is daddy still on planet earth?" Good question lad, good question.