Last week, I drove up to Washington, DC to help celebrate Food Tank’s 2nd Anniversary. I’ll have more on that in another post. Suffice it to say that the group seems to focus quite a bit on issues concerning sustainability and the economic impacts of food. With my first degree being in finance, this approach makes a lot of sense to me.
Don’t get me wrong, health reasons are a big part of why you should look after your food habits, but, for most of us, our pocketbooks control what we eat until that first major health scare. I was particularly interested in visiting the website, I Value Food, and learning more about just how much food we waste in this country. I was amazed, but not particularly surprised.
About the same time, we were finding out that our daughter, Sophie, might be allergic to certain preservatives. She occasionally breaks out with hives all over her body and it only seems to happen after regularly eating certain types of processed food. Our plan is to reset a little, checking labels more and being on the lookout for certain types of preservatives. It’s amazing the number of products that are just full of preservatives!
So, fast forward a few days and we are going through our cabinets checking to see what Sophie can and can’t have and checking expiration dates while we’re at it. I’m just disgusted with us! We filled our dining room table 3 times!! Once with snacks, once with baking supplies, and once with canned and boxed goods.
We threw out over six trash bags worth of food that had expired or that no one would eat. Our oldest expired product expired in 2009! GROSS!! I won’t even guess how many hundreds of dollars we pissed away, but I’m not thrilled about it. It’s kind of funny on the one hand because I know that most of what we threw out was extra “stock up” items that we had bought on sale, trying to save money. It’s hard to save money when you throw it in the trash.
Still, we can’t change the past. We take this hit as a lesson to use what we have, to plan dinners from the pantry before we go shopping for new stuff, and to buy what we need and not necessarily what’s on sale.
Have you cleaned out your pantry lately? What’s the oldest item that you are still hanging onto? Leave me a comment and share your story.