Food Network: "The Big Waste" – Worth Watching!

Last updated on January 9, 2012 by Liza Hawkins

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.

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

8 Comments on “Food Network: "The Big Waste" – Worth Watching!

  1. I missed the show but really wanted to watch it. I am glad to know that it will be on again.

    What can we do to change this… the waste is just heart breaking.

  2. I spend my morning blogging about this show myself. It’s really a tradegy what is happening. People need to learn to settle for something less than perfect looking. Appearance isn’t everything. I have bought some ugly peaches at the farmer’s market, that were some of the best tasting, most juiciest I ever had.

  3. @Jen – Definitely watch. I wish they had made this a new series, rather than just a special!

    @Eric – I’ve done the same thing! Just because it’s flawed on the outside doesn’t mean it’s great on the inside! Checking out your blog now….

  4. I agree with Liza, I would like to see a series that updates the progress and new procedures that deal with this issue. I especially liked the guy that could get perfectly good groceries from the garbage>

  5. Why are there starving people in America? We would rather throw food away than feed the hungry… This is disgusting

  6. @Rainy Day – I know, how about the dumpster guy? Crazy that the food just goes out to the trash.

    @Anonymous – Wouldn’t you think that they’d at least donate the “waste” to a food pantry? It’s perfectly good, even if the “average” consumer is perceived to be thinking otherwise.


  7. I watched this show last night, and I have to say that the people involved all seemed to blame “the consumer” for the waste. However, they also need to take some responsiblity for how much is wasted because they haven’t tried to do anything with it. My nearest grocery store (a large nation wide chain) will mark down blemished produce and sell it for a reduced price, and people literally race to the store to grab them up. In this economy, I really think it is silly to believe that regular folks wouldn’t buy discounted items that are edible but not perfect. I know I do. And so does my entire community, apparently. The guy with the corn field that was knocked over by the hurricane should have been able to easily let people in his community know that it was there and beautiful and half price – they would’ve come. JMO

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