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#1 of 31 Old 12-03-2008, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the food waste in my house. My spouse is frequently overbuying/overpreparing/overserving, without thought to what's really required, or how long things last. I figure we throw out about 15% of our food.

As a small consolation, at least we compost, but that's no help to the package of chicken breasts that we threw out today - They were prematurely thawed, and then neglected until spoilage.

My spouse seems minimally concerned, and they appear to accept this as inevitable, but I generally see it as unnecessary, and avoidable with a bit of mindfulness. In general, they're living in the moment, and not planning meals ahead, or considering how much is needed, when.

There's two challenges here:

1) Getting them to acknowledge the problem, as well as getting their willingness to work towards a solution.

2) Determining what the solution is. A book is probably too much effort to ask... Something like an article, or a tip sheet, or a workshop may be more amenable to them.


Does anyone here have any suggestions?
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#2 of 31 Old 12-03-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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Maybe he/she should be the one paying for all the food?

Is there any way you could actually measure how much food you're wasting and why? Maybe keep a journal of it for a few weeks, then look it over with your spouse and talk about it.
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#3 of 31 Old 12-03-2008, 03:51 PM
 
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Hmmm. I would try to frame the issue in a way that your partner will respond to. If s/he likes to save money, you can say "How can we save more on food?" or "How can we reduce our grocery bill?" or "I just realized we threw out $x on food last week. Wow - that's a [insert item that costs about that]." You could also say that it means you or s/he worked x hours for the privilege of throwing it away. If s/he is environmentally focused, try approaching it from the angle of wasting food means you waste resources. The money angle is probably your best bet (because who couldn't stand to stop throwing away money??) but you'll have to think about what approach is going to speak to him/her the loudest.

You could also, simply, take over. If you have a plan for meals for the week and your partner sees that following it is important to you, s/he is more likely to support you and help you follow through. This means that you also have to stay strong and if you have thawed chicken, when temptation strikes and your partner wants to go to Taco Bell you have to say no, I'd rather have x. Even if a taco sounds really good.
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#4 of 31 Old 12-03-2008, 04:31 PM
 
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I totally agree with the above poster - you need to frame it in a way that is important to your partner. It sounds like some meal planning would help with this problem. Personally, I found that planning meals, although it takes a little time and effort on the weekends, really pays off. In addition to the reasons above, there is the convenience of knowing what's for dinner ahead of time, and the reduced stress of not having to try and come up with something at the last minute or run to the store to get missing ingredients.

Also, I would think about how you can help. I noticed you used negative (even blaming) lanuage in your post such as "without thought" and "neglected". Perhaps your spouse is instead overwhelmed or unsure. It's a small shift in your way of thinking, but I think it makes a difference.
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#5 of 31 Old 12-03-2008, 07:24 PM
 
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when we meal plan, almost nothing is wasted. when we don't, things go bad in the fridge. if i have a meal plan i know that on day 1 i soak the beans, day 2 i cook them and we have burritos, day 3 the leftovers are thrown into a pot for black bean soup and i start the soybeans cooking, day 4 i make tofu and we have that for dinner, day 5 we eat okara because i have a mountain of it from making tofu, day 6 we eat lentils... you get the idea. i try to dovetail meals so everything gets used and never eat a sandwich for lunch when there are leftovers in the fridge.
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#6 of 31 Old 12-05-2008, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, I would think about how you can help. I noticed you used negative (even blaming) lanuage in your post such as "without thought" and "neglected". Perhaps your spouse is instead overwhelmed or unsure. It's a small shift in your way of thinking, but I think it makes a difference.
Spouse is overwhelmed and unsure, but acnknowledges neither that the problem exists, or that there could be a better way. To them, this just... "Happens".

As for blaming language.. I see how this can be improved upon, but am not sure how. The thinking is willing to shift, if you can show me the way...
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#7 of 31 Old 12-06-2008, 03:16 AM
 
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Spouse is overwhelmed and unsure, but acnknowledges neither that the problem exists, or that there could be a better way. To them, this just... "Happens".
Then you should take over food preparation.
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#8 of 31 Old 12-06-2008, 12:50 PM
 
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I wanted to post something like this, too; only I AM the one who takes care of all our food. It actually WOULD help me to have more help from DH; but he buys "convenience" food and I just can't accept that.

My big problem is the farmers' market is only once per week and I try to buy everything for the week there. I will be looking into meal planning, too.

Today I threw out enough chicken and cooked spaghetti to have made a chicken casserole--all organic, too. We compost, too, but boy could we use to save on food! Dh's solution is to increase the food budget, but we don't have to! Waste would more than take care of it.

The first thing I did do a couple of weeks ago was do a "scrap meal" every week. I am a total gourmet-whole-foods cook, who does everything from scratch and spends hours poring over food magazines to "plan" our meals, so I didn't think I could bear to do this. But it worked and it's fun! I am taking first steps to deal with this. We are frugal in so many other ways.

The shame I've felt over this has been incredible. I KNOW how awful it is to waste food. I hope others chime in on this, too.
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#9 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Then you should take over food preparation.
Do you think this is helpful/clever/funny?
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#10 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wanted to post something like this, too; only I AM the one who takes care of all our food. It actually WOULD help me to have more help from DH; but he buys "convenience" food and I just can't accept that.

My big problem is the farmers' market is only once per week and I try to buy everything for the week there. I will be looking into meal planning, too.

Today I threw out enough chicken and cooked spaghetti to have made a chicken casserole--all organic, too. We compost, too, but boy could we use to save on food! Dh's solution is to increase the food budget, but we don't have to! Waste would more than take care of it.

The first thing I did do a couple of weeks ago was do a "scrap meal" every week. I am a total gourmet-whole-foods cook, who does everything from scratch and spends hours poring over food magazines to "plan" our meals, so I didn't think I could bear to do this. But it worked and it's fun! I am taking first steps to deal with this. We are frugal in so many other ways.

The shame I've felt over this has been incredible. I KNOW how awful it is to waste food. I hope others chime in on this, too.
That really sucks - What I don't get is why food gets wasted if you have control over purchase/preparation/serving? Is it because your husband is pre-empting your meals by showing up with a pizza?

Don't be hard on yourself - It really sounds like you've pulled out the stops to minimize waste. It's unfortunate your husband isn't working with you on this.
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#11 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 07:37 PM
 
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I don't know if this is helpful or not, but just in case, here it is -

When I was growing up, we had a (frozen) pizza/leftovers night. Everyone was allowed to have one slice of pizza, but if you wanted a second slice of pizza, you first had to consume an approved amount of leftovers. Made leftovers a lot less of a drag. And if you really didn't like any of the available leftovers, you could just have your one slice and hope that it filled you enough.

Can you freeze the leftovers if you expect you won't use it soon enough? Can you plan on going through the fridge every other day and freezing whatever only has a day left in it's lifespan?

Aven
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#12 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if this is helpful or not, but just in case, here it is -

When I was growing up, we had a (frozen) pizza/leftovers night. Everyone was allowed to have one slice of pizza, but if you wanted a second slice of pizza, you first had to consume an approved amount of leftovers. Made leftovers a lot less of a drag. And if you really didn't like any of the available leftovers, you could just have your one slice and hope that it filled you enough.

Can you freeze the leftovers if you expect you won't use it soon enough? Can you plan on going through the fridge every other day and freezing whatever only has a day left in it's lifespan?

Aven
Funny idea on the Pizza. For us, though, the problem isn't with people eating leftovers, it's that they never get served, and usually rot in the fridge while a newly-cooked meal is served.

Freezing doesn't help much, as leftovers in the freezer are generally ignored until we run out of room for newly purchased food, in which case we do a sweep, and throw a bunch out.

I think the largest challenge is the mindfulness of my SO - That being said, I'm still hoping someone can suggest a silver-bullet technique that can make it all clear and easy for them.

It''s a real bummer to go to work, earning my families food, and them come home and see so much of it needlessly thrown out.
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#13 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 08:06 PM
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Then you should take over food preparation.
Show how you can improve upon it and see what happens.

Good luck.
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#14 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 08:08 PM
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Funny idea on the Pizza. For us, though, the problem isn't with people eating leftovers, it's that they never get served, and usually rot in the fridge while a newly-cooked meal is served.

Freezing doesn't help much, as leftovers in the fridge are generally ignored until we run out of room for newly purchased food, in which case we do a sweep, and throw a bunch out.

I think the largest challenge is the mindfulness of my SO - That being said, I'm still hoping someone can suggest a silver-bullet technique that can make it all clear and easy for them.

It''s a real bummer to go to work, earning my families food, and them come home and see so much of it needlessly thrown out.
So, are you saying that you are not being appreciated?
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#15 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 08:11 PM
 
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Funny idea on the Pizza. For us, though, the problem isn't with people eating leftovers, it's that they never get served, and usually rot in the fridge while a newly-cooked meal is served.

Freezing doesn't help much, as leftovers in the fridge are generally ignored until we run out of room for newly purchased food, in which case we do a sweep, and throw a bunch out.

I think the largest challenge is the mindfulness of my SO - That being said, I'm still hoping someone can suggest a silver-bullet technique that can make it all clear and easy for them.

It''s a real bummer to go to work, earning my families food, and them come home and see so much of it needlessly thrown out.
Story of our life. And we both hate it. Still happens. We just don't spend enough time at home to consistently eat it. Between work, school, relatives, hobbies, etc....if we're at home, we're either on the way out the door or we're sleeping.

I actually believe it would be cheaper to eat out all the time instead of shopping. But I'm scared to do that....it's too much junk food.

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#16 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 08:55 PM
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can you work together to meal plan for the week? We write a menu, I go grocery shopping and then we cook off the list. I write roast one night, leftovers next night. How about taking the leftovers for lunch? That's how we get rid of them in our house.
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#17 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 09:26 PM
 
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Take the leftovers to work for lunch. Problem solved. I wouldn't know what to eat for my lunch if I don't have any leftovers. I usually eat lunch at home alone and would like a balanced meal. But I definitely don't want to cook up a pot of stirfry or roast a chicken for my lunch, eh? An extra piece of chicken and some veggies from the night before would be so much easier.

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#18 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 10:42 PM
 
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Funny idea on the Pizza. For us, though, the problem isn't with people eating leftovers, it's that they never get served, and usually rot in the fridge while a newly-cooked meal is served.

Freezing doesn't help much, as leftovers in the freezer are generally ignored until we run out of room for newly purchased food, in which case we do a sweep, and throw a bunch out.

I think the largest challenge is the mindfulness of my SO - That being said, I'm still hoping someone can suggest a silver-bullet technique that can make it all clear and easy for them.

It''s a real bummer to go to work, earning my families food, and them come home and see so much of it needlessly thrown out.

First of all--unless you are in a group marriage, referring to your spouse in the plural to avoid saying "he" or "she" is just squirrely and weird.

Second--you're obviously going to be able to drum up more support and sympathy for your position that wasting food is a terrible thing on a frugality forum where quite a few people are commited to extreme frugality either out of choice or necessity, but you might also consider that your spouse also has a valid point of view--some degree of food waste is pretty typical of most households. Some of us on here may be living the Tightwad Gazette lifestyle and boiling every vegetable scrap and chicken bone into stock, but that's not typical and there's nothing to say that that's the only way to live or run a household. I just read something somewhere that said that most households end up wasting at least 25% of the food that they buy. Restaurants and businesses that deal in food assume that there is going to be a certain amount of food lost to preparation practices or spoilage or over or under estimating demand--it's hard to always be spot on about how much or something one needs to buy or prepare, and the nature of food is that it spoils. It does just happen. We can take steps to reduce that wastage, but it's hard to absolutely and completely eliminate it. Sometimes the leftovers migrate to the back of the fridge and don't get eaten, sometimes stuff comes up and we don't always manage to cook the defrosted chicken in time. Life happens, and people are in different places with regard to frugality and waste reduction. So if your spouse is shopping and preparing food and putting newly cooked fresh meals on the table every day and your food wastage is only 15%, maybe you should just count yourself as very fortunate and make sure you're taking those freezer leftovers to work every day and eating them.

Frankly, I don't like the tone you're using. You sound very harsh and critical. You're blaming your spouse and chalking the problem all squarely up to her/him in a way that seems very judgmental and superior. This isn't a loving, solution-oriented tone. If your spouse is putting in the effort to be cooking for you and the family on a frequent basis, seems to me that you should start out by showing some appreciation for the work that's already being done and helping more instead of criticizing. Why would it be "clever or funny" of a PP to suggest that maybe you should take over the task of food preparation? Is that so outrageous to expect that you might help out with that? Why--because you're earning the money for the household? News flash--that's exactly what single, working adult men and women do when they aren't lucky enough to have a partner at home who does that work (and it is a lot of work) for them and the household. Either that or they eat out all the time, which costs even more money. It sounds to me like what you're really after is to prove your point to your spouse and get to be right and control his/her behavior, rather than really correct the food wastage. You acknowledge that your spouse is overwhelmed, but you aren't displaying any real compassion for that. Even if you don't take over the job completely, you could help out with meal planning and shopping and preparation, checking the fridge or freezer for items that are going to go bad, and eating some of those freezer leftovers yourself instead of helping throw them out.

My DH would approach your situation this way: "Honey, I noticed that you took that package of chicken breasts out of the freezer yesterday but didn't get a chance to cook them yet. If you tell me what you were planning to do with them, if you want I can go ahead and cook them tonight while you [play with DD/give her a bath/get some time on the computer/go out for coffee] and then they won't spoil and we'll have dinner all ready for tomorrow."
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#19 of 31 Old 12-18-2008, 11:14 PM
 
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First of all--unless you are in a group marriage, referring to your spouse in the plural to avoid saying "he" or "she" is just squirrely and weird.
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Is that so outrageous to expect that you might help out with that? Why--because you're earning the money for the household? News flash--that's exactly what single, working adult men and women do when they aren't lucky enough to have a partner at home who does that work (and it is a lot of work) for them and the household. Either that or they eat out all the time, which costs even more money. It sounds to me like what you're really after is to prove your point to your spouse and get to be right and control his/her behavior, rather than really correct the food wastage.
I find these comments inappropriate and unhelpful. "News Flash..." When I read, I hear out loud what it sounds like in my mind....and I've never heard a sentence that starts with "news flash..." to be said in a positive tone.




OP, I think the idea of taking leftovers for lunch is a great idea. Or maybe coming up with a meal plan together?

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#20 of 31 Old 12-19-2008, 02:06 AM
 
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According to this link, http://www.spokesman.com/stories/200...waste-adds-up/ an average household waste 14% of their purchased food. You guys are exactly in the middle, then. Of course it's admirable to take the efforts to reduce that, but it's probably impossible to reduce it to 0.

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#21 of 31 Old 12-19-2008, 05:02 AM
 
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Ohhh hi hear you. We do eat up a lot of our leftovers, but I am the one who over cooks and leaves things behind in favor of fast food . I am really trying to stop that... dh comes home for lunch every day, so he wants/needs two hot meals a day. Your partner should definitely try taking leftovers for lunch! Also mebbe if he cookd all/most meals for one week, he'd get a better idea of how much work it is, and how hurtful it is to have to throw so much away.
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#22 of 31 Old 12-19-2008, 10:46 AM
 
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My lunch at work is almost always some left-overs. I scoup whatever meal we had into (single servings) quart freezer bags; usually labelled, because it stinks to get fondue that you thought was broccli cheese soup (true story), drop it in the freezer then I take it to work. We NEVER eat left-overs for dinner, but we often eat leftovers for snacks, or work-lunch, and even if we are sure we will use it tomorrow, it goes in the freezer because plans change. My lunch is usually Fruit, Leftover dish, Soda the nice part is the leftovers keep the soda cold till lunch time
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#23 of 31 Old 12-19-2008, 11:55 AM
 
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On a good week, we waste less than 5% of what we buy/cook. On a bad week, I could throw out nearly everything in the fridge b/c it's spoiled, unusable, whatever.

So, 15% is a pretty good number to be for average, I think.

Really truly, I think I'm not totally sure what you're asking here. Do you want solutions for using leftovers? ShaggyDaddy gave a great idea there. Are you looking for a way to help your spouse(s) not let things go bad? wannabe spoke to that.

We cannot make anyone else more or less mindful. We can ask them to change their ways, we can take over part of the chore so it gets done more our way, we can do a lot of things, but finding some kind of "silver bullet to make it all easy and clear" for someone else just isn't going to happen.

As harsh as Kavita's post was, I think she brought up some good points about your tone and language. Perhaps this really isn't about wasted food at all for either you or your spouse(s) - it seems to me it's about something else going on (the way you communicate for starters) in your relationship and until that is fixed, this food issue will continue to be a problem.

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#24 of 31 Old 12-19-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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I had forgotten about this thread and it seems to have gained some momentum! Though I'm obviously not the OP, someone quoted me (I think Legless and I haven't figured out how to quote back!) and she gave me too much credit for doing everything I could to deal with our waste problem. I think I made it sound like it was MY dh's fault. I didn't mean for that; it's just that dh and I have VERY different attitudes towards food. Not in a big-picture way; he understands why I care about local, sustainable, whole food and he certainly appreciates eating it! It's just that I've found, if I leave it up to dh, he will gladly make a meal--but it will be things like iffy sausages and eggs from the supermarket. It's just what he knows/thinks to cook. I am COMPLETELY over-the-top, gourmet/scratch everything. So I took over all things food. He does all the budgeting, etc. We do what we're good at, but it sometimes means we can get a bit inflexible with each other.

So while 15% waste from the supermarket might not be so bad, the idea of some beautiful veggies or cheese from the market going to waste is just awful.

It's a really hard one to know what to ask for help with, I find. It's a weird inconsistency in my own lifestyle and never-ending quest to maintain quality in our material lives while milking every last drop from our dollars. It's such an obvious area to work on.

For a couple of weeks I've been working on scrap night each Wednesday and that has cut the waste almost in half, right there.

Right now I'm setting a new goal each week and then forgiving myself for every other shortcoming. This week's goal was to label everything with contents and date, repackaged in reheatable (glass) containers, BEFORE it went back in the fridge/freezer. And guess what? Suddenly dh sees lunch options everywhere! So this week, he went to work with homemade chili and cornbread, leftover homemade pizza and Italian bean and meatball ragout. Just because he suddenly knew what it was!

Next week's goal will be to look at every single item in the fridge before deciding what to cook (and buy). This will be much easier now, since everything is labeled.

Oh, and psychologically I know where everything breaks down. I work from home; but It's a full time, 33-hours-per week job. Because I'm at home, though and would ultimately rather be a stay-at-home mom, I GROSSLY overexaggerate the amount of time I have available for domestic tasks. Thus, I buy way more food than I can reasonably prepare as meals. That's probably mostly at the bottom of the problem for me. So step-by-step rehab, lots of lurking on the meal planning forum and forgive, forgive, forgive has been my not-so-magic bullet so far.
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#25 of 31 Old 12-20-2008, 02:57 AM
 
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The key for us is to consistently eat leftovers. We build them into new meals whenever possible (soup is excellent for this, BTW, just as one example). I make it a habit to eat food we prepared ahead of time for lunch the next day as much as possible. DH plans meals for him to take to work for lunch several times a week and he cooks at work other times (full kitchen).

[BTW, we rarely call leftovers "leftovers". That term conjures up "not good enough" feelings for us. We simply refer to them as the meal name/food item and we plan for meals to have first and second uses... sometimes three.]

We don't always meal plan in a traditional sense. DH does more of the meal prep and food shopping than I do and he works full-time outside of the home, although lately he has been working from home one day a week. We divvy up household chores and childcare duties based on what each person prefers most and what each dislikes the most and we have adjusted these along the way during our marriage. If someone enjoys a particular task, then he/she does it. If someone seriously dislikes a particular task for whatever reason, then the other person does it. Ambivalent tasks usually fall to me since I am not currently employed. When I was, we traded off to keep things a little more interesting. I believe this arrangement works for DH & I because we feel like partners and we want what is best for our family and for each other. It doesn't mean everything is all roses all the time by any means. It just means we strive to make things work and we work together as much as humanly possible. We have our moments like any other two humans.

There is no need to answer my questions here. I am simply giving you something to think about for yourself. Are you happy with where your life is right now? Is your spouse happy with where his/her life is right now? I doubt food is the real problem here, but that is just a hunch. Only you know what is going on your life. I wish you all the best in figuring this out for your family.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#26 of 31 Old 12-20-2008, 05:31 AM
 
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We sometimes prepare a double meal on purpose so that we can freeze a meal for later. Sometimes it's just the meat portion and we make fresh rice etc. If your household is already cooking more than you can eat in a meal maybe you can cook just a bit more and plan on having two meals out of it?
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#27 of 31 Old 12-21-2008, 12:01 AM
 
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When I'm planning meals I often plan a 'leftover' meal to make a few days later. So if we have pot roast one day, a couple days later we'll have stew.

A few suggestions:
At the end of a meal when you're helping clear the table put the leftovers in single serve containers for you lunch the next day.

Freeze meat in one-meal quantities. We buy club packs of chicken breast when they're on sale but since they're so expensive we only use one or two breasts at a time so we freeze them in packages of one or two. This makes them faster to thaw so I take them out only when I know I'll use them that day. It also means that even if our plans did change and they went bad, it would waste less.

Keep a soup 'pot' in the fridge/freezer for leftovers. One day per week (or two if it gets full quickly) have 'leftover' soup. Add water, salt and bouillon to the contents and simmer for an hour or so. Perhaps this soup day could be your cooking day if your spouse doesn't like the idea. If you think that some things won't really go together don't worry. My mom once went to a dinner where everyone was asked to take a can of soup of any kind they wanted. When they arrived they emptied all of the cans of soup into a big pot and served the resulting soup as part of the dinner. Apparently it was quite tasty.

Lastly, we make most Saturdays a 'fend for yourself day'. It's a day when everyone is encouraged to eat their favourite leftover that's still in the fridge (but they can have something else if they would rather). They are just not allowed to add to the leftovers.

Really lastly, the best thing I've ever done to reduce food waste in our home is to make a meal plan. I don't always follow it strictly but it gives much better structure to our meals.

Gillian - Wife to an amazing DH, Mother to 4 wonderful kiddos . . . and now another on the way.
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#28 of 31 Old 12-21-2008, 09:34 PM
 
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I just have to laugh bc dh bought some chicken for work Christmas party and our dinner. They were stacked on the counter and he said, "Should I just throw away a package now??" It made me laugh.

Most of our food gets thrown away bc we forget to put it BACK in the fridge. ...you know, tired kids, passing out from fatigue ourselves. NExt morning, chicken has been sitting out all night
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#29 of 31 Old 12-21-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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Why not take the leftovers with you to work then?
I dunno, I am the meal planner/maker in our family and we often have leftovers. I love trying new recipes and it is often hard (at least for me) to gauge how much it will make. We usually will eat it the next evening if there is enough leftover but that's where I draw the limit...I don't want to eat it the 3rd day! Sometimes my partner does get upset when he goes through the fridge and some stuff has spoiled. But, he also recognizes that HE also didn't eat it. I just don't feel that all the blame can be on your partner here. I am also sad to see a lack of appreciation in what is a huge job between buying and prepping and cooking and serving and cleaning up. I really appreciate that my husband is thankful for what I do and that helps me take his advice more easily.
I agree that if you are that upset over it that you should take it over or take it upon yourself to eat/store the leftovers. Instead of focusing on changing your partner's view, why not lead by example and do what you can to fix the situation. We can only control ourselves.
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#30 of 31 Old 12-22-2008, 02:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carfreemama View Post
I had forgotten about this thread and it seems to have gained some momentum! Though I'm obviously not the OP, someone quoted me (I think Legless and I haven't figured out how to quote back!) and she gave me too much credit for doing everything I could to deal with our waste problem. I think I made it sound like it was MY dh's fault. I didn't mean for that; it's just that dh and I have VERY different attitudes towards food. Not in a big-picture way; he understands why I care about local, sustainable, whole food and he certainly appreciates eating it! It's just that I've found, if I leave it up to dh, he will gladly make a meal--but it will be things like iffy sausages and eggs from the supermarket. It's just what he knows/thinks to cook. I am COMPLETELY over-the-top, gourmet/scratch everything. So I took over all things food. He does all the budgeting, etc. We do what we're good at, but it sometimes means we can get a bit inflexible with each other.

So while 15% waste from the supermarket might not be so bad, the idea of some beautiful veggies or cheese from the market going to waste is just awful.

It's a really hard one to know what to ask for help with, I find. It's a weird inconsistency in my own lifestyle and never-ending quest to maintain quality in our material lives while milking every last drop from our dollars. It's such an obvious area to work on.

For a couple of weeks I've been working on scrap night each Wednesday and that has cut the waste almost in half, right there.

Right now I'm setting a new goal each week and then forgiving myself for every other shortcoming. This week's goal was to label everything with contents and date, repackaged in reheatable (glass) containers, BEFORE it went back in the fridge/freezer. And guess what? Suddenly dh sees lunch options everywhere! So this week, he went to work with homemade chili and cornbread, leftover homemade pizza and Italian bean and meatball ragout. Just because he suddenly knew what it was!

Next week's goal will be to look at every single item in the fridge before deciding what to cook (and buy). This will be much easier now, since everything is labeled.

Oh, and psychologically I know where everything breaks down. I work from home; but It's a full time, 33-hours-per week job. Because I'm at home, though and would ultimately rather be a stay-at-home mom, I GROSSLY overexaggerate the amount of time I have available for domestic tasks. Thus, I buy way more food than I can reasonably prepare as meals. That's probably mostly at the bottom of the problem for me. So step-by-step rehab, lots of lurking on the meal planning forum and forgive, forgive, forgive has been my not-so-magic bullet so far.
What an excellent idea!!!! I think this would really help us out a lot...
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