Last night “The Big Waste” aired on Food Network – I almost missed it because it started at 10pm, and I go to bed early…most nights.
But last night I happened to catch the first few minutes. The promos intrigued me, and while I was hopeful the show would give true insight into the sheer volume of perfectly good food, wasted because it’s not…perfect, I was also resigned to the fact that Food Network might not deliver. Remember Extreme Chef? Yeah.
But, I have to say – they did a really good job with “The Big Waste.” Four of my favorite Food Network personalities (Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Anne Burrell and Michael Symon) were charged with cooking a banquet for other famous chefs, but they were only allowed to use food that was about to be thrown away by farmers or grocery stores.
One farm they visited has a waste ratio of 45 to 50% of their produce. HALF of their produce, every year. Why is this so high? Because the American consumer demands aesthetic perfection. In fact, the average consumer will take aesthetic perfection over taste and nutritional value, hand over fist. It’s sad, really. No tomatoes with split skins or irregular shapes, which can simply be caused from soaking up too much water during growth.
No dime-sized dents in peaches that have been knocked to the ground during picking. No perfectly delicious chickens with wings that were broken during processing.
It’s all just tossed – or in some cases, composted (better, but not great).
I’d like more of these shows like “The Big Waste,” Food Network! Shows that open eyes and really teach us about food, where it comes from, and how to make a difference.
Did you miss “The Big Waste?” Set your DVRs – it airs once more on Jan. 14, 2012, at 4pm ET/PT.