How a Little Bit of Imagination and Innovation Helps in Tackling the Problem of Leftover Food
Food waste is a shame, especially when more than a billion of the world’s population is starving and undernourished. Today, people are turning frugal geniuses by following the age-old honourable Italian tradition of ‘Cucina Povera’ (‘Poor man’s food’) and using leftover food in resourceful ways.
In the last few years, there has been a rise in never-seen-before food hacks to create delicious dishes from leftover food. Planning ‘leftover nights’ each week is a great way to tackle home-cooked leftovers. For instance, mashed potatoes, which are a food favourite, can be used to create potato cakes, pie toppings, pancakes, British croquettes or even a potato and leek soup. Leftover Wienerschnitzels, which are thin, pan-fried veal cutlets, can be refrigerated overnight and reheated the next day to make yummy sandwiches. Layering leftover Moussaka with a runny egg on top with a dash of hot sauce gives the leftovers a fresh spin. One can even use leftover mashed potatoes and serve them hot with the Moussaka.
Leftover Danish meatballs, or frikadellers, can be sliced up and teamed up with smorrebrod (rye bread) to create burgers and sandwiches which are filling as well. Similarly, vegetable scraps can be used to create stock, beet and carrot tops can be fashioned into salads, citrus fruits’ rinds and zest can be used as seasoning and stale bread could be used to make croutons. So as long as it’s healthy and safe, leftover foods can be best used in soups, casseroles, smoothies, stir-fries, frittatas, sauces, pancakes and even more dishes to create something delicious. This is one of the best ways to tackle home-cooked leftover food.
That is not all that can be done with leftovers. As a new digital era kicks off, it is the internet that has emerged with a solution to tackling with leftovers. Across Europe, there has been a rise in websites and start-ups that are involved in distributing excess and leftover food. Some of the most popular websites and apps are Piqniq (Budapest-based), Cookisto (Greek), Shareyourmeal.net (Netherlands), Leftoverswap.com, Foodsharing.de (German), and Love Food, Hate Waste (UK). These websites are majorly focusing on stopping people throwing away leftovers and looking for new ways to use up leftover home-cooked food, while following hygienic practices.
In fact, Foodsharing.de claims to have saved 35,000 tonnes of food in the country alone. Also, a recent survey of more than 30,000 internet users by Nielsen found that 54% of European respondents were more receptive to the idea of selling or exchanging items online, as compared to the global average of 68%.
Clearly, the idea’s working, and it seems we’re one step closer to resolving the issue of leftover food in ways that benefit not only the environment, but the people too.