When Jai and Bee made their post for Earth Food with What's wrong with this picture? this is what I wrote in their comments section:
I was taught from my childhood that I must never waste. It’s a lesson that has been valuable. I cook what I need to, use up the leftovers or give them to someone who can utilize them before they go bad. When I made my paneer in white gravy, I took it over to the neighbours for lunch. There was one serving left in my bowl and the lady of the house was about to throw it when I stopped her. I promptly took it back home and Sachin polished it off that evening. There are enough and more hungry people in the world and I can’t believe that in this day and age people waste food. Is it their way of telling the world that they’ve arrived?
I totally believe that that must be the driver. I meet so many people who say, "Oh my husband won't eat leftovers." Or "I never eat the morning's food in the evening." My heart breaks when I see people throw good food away. I've always cleaned up my plate during a meal. I serve myself exactly what I need. Appa always used to say, "You have no idea how fortunate you are. There are so many people out there who don't know if and where their next meal is coming from.
If each of us was to say that "Save the World" is a campaign that is meant for the big people and not us, our Earth is going to suffer. It is up to us to do the little things that add up to become the big thing. How do I try? By consuming only what I need, trying not to waste, taking the bus instead of driving, giving to charity not what I don't need or can't use, but what the recipient can actually use, buying fresh produce from the local markets, and so on and so forth. It is whatever I can do to make this place a better place to live in. Be it by helping the earth itself, or the people who live in it.
- I cook rice in a pressure cooker so I don't waste excessive water.
- If I've cooked dal or a vegetable with more water than I should have, I use the water in my cooking.
- I try and consume whole fruits and don't discard the peel as far as possible.
- I use milk cream (even the little bits sticking to the sides of the vessel) either in my cooking or I make butter and buttermilk out of it.
And having grown up in Madras with acute water shortage:
- I continue to take a bath with half a bucket of water.
- I don't leave the tap running while I am brushing my teeth.
I keep all windows at home open and try not to use the AC too much.
Eating out is something we take for granted these days. While growing up, we had very few restaurants and having lived inside the IIT campus meant that you had to go outside the campus if you wanted to eat out. And that WAS a big deal.
While I do cook at home most of the time, I must admit that eating out is one of my weaknesses. Be it chat on the roadside, finger food at a lounge or a proper meal at an Italian restaurant, I simply love it.
In the last ten years, ever since I left home, I have been careful with my money to the extent possible. (Even then India Today interviewed us about money issues and told the world that we have only Rs. 189 in our joint account. News that shocked my family more than anyone else.) Eating out, though often, meant that I'd bring any leftovers back with me. I'd either consume the stuff, or give it away. But I can't remember having wasted food.
This is my entry toMeeta's Monthly Mingle.
After an entire week of Eating out while eating in, we were probably tired of it. We wanted to also celebrate ten months of being married. So we ordered some food. The lady who took our order sensed excitement in our voices and told us she'd throw in a little extra subji as a compliment because if we ordered an entire serving, it would be too much for the two of us.
When the delivery boy came, we had a huge packet. We enjoyed the meal of lacchha paratha, naan, achari aloo, paneer tikka and dal makhni. The leftovers were finished over the next day. But she also sent us pickled onions and some green chutney. S's foot was really bad at the time and while I was clearing up, his foot topped the green chutney container. We managed to put away everything else. I didn't know what to do with pickled onions though. I was worried that they'd pass on their fragrance to the other stuff sitting in the fridge.
A couple of days later, I had a very good idea when I was beginning to clear the fridge in preparation of our trip to Manali. It was time for breakfast and I was browsing through the contents of my dearest companion. This is what we had for breakfast that morning.
1 Tomato, chopped
2-3 pickled Onions, chopped
2 pods Garlic
1 cube Cheese
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Chilli Flakes
Salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a mixer jar and grind to a semi-smooth paste. Spread this over toast for a quick breakfast.
I think I could also add a little milk or water to this and make it a cheesy dip. The flavours blend in really well and the breakfast was neither too sour, nor sweet. It wasn't bland nor spicy. As they say, it was just right!