Waste Not, Want Not
The shocking reality of food waste in the industrialized worldThe history of my relationship with food reads like a bad romance. There are times I’ve adored it, like when our family would gather around my great-grandmother’s table weighted down with heaping mounds of creamy mashed potatoes, roasted corn on the cob, and platters of Southern-fried chicken or when I encountered the strawberry-stuffed crepes served up at Jean-Philippe Patisserie in the lobby of the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nev.
But most of the time, food has been the enemy, my relationship with it warped because of an eating disorder that stretched across the span of a whole decade—from the painful adolescent years of junior high to my soul-searching early 20s. Though my experience is admittedly extreme, it’s by no means an American anomaly. We lament the disappearance of Twinkies, but we also diet and obsess over whether a particular food is “healthy” or not. But whether we’re dieting or indulging, one thing is clear: We don’t value food the way it deserves to be valued. The great distance between the farm and our kitchen table, our disconnection from the soil that requires tending and the fresh products that require harvesting—these enable our unhealthy lack of appreciation for the food that sustains us.