I know someone whose grandmother used to rinse chicken intestines and stuff them with chopped scallions. It sounds like heaven to eat and hell to make.
But that’s what grandmothers used to do, make every scrap of food, fabric, and time count. It wasn’t crafty or DIY, it was survival.
And it makes me snort a bit when I see chefs teaching us not to waste food. My nana beat you to it.
No doubt–the amount of wasted food is appalling. In poor communities, food is harvested before it is fully grown just so people can eat. In rich communities, food is tossed by the ton–at home, stores, and restaurants–based on bogus sell by dates or by Costco-induced over-buying.
But committing to not wasting food takes time and is a fine feminist line (though it applies to men as well, in fact, to anyone trying to run a household). Costco runs can conveniently consolidate grocery trips, leaving room for carpooling the kids or commuting to work.
Cooking isn’t hard, but planning and shopping is. My mom used to make a shopping list every week, based on what was on sale or is season, work out a week’s worth of meals, and we never had leftovers. Dinner was healthy, varied, and not a political or personal statement; it was just what you did.
But I know people who are juggling work (and getting to work), social media, gym, binge TV, and homework, let alone reading cookbooks that run you through lists of obscure ingredients and time-consuming techniques. Even cookbooks that purport to be economical and healthy make re-purposing the leftover half of a supermarket rotisserized chicken feel like a chore–requiring more ingredients to clutter your brain and schedule.
You can start with good intentions–a whole cabbage that you vowed to use for cole slaw, soup, and stuffed cabbage–that gets tossed. Or you end up taking short cuts–sigh, Lunchables.
You do what you have to do, but don’t forget the grandmothers!