“The food that we throw away in Europe would be enough twice to feed all the hungry of the world.”
This is the nugget (loosely translated from German to English by Google Translate, but without loss of meaning or passion!) that sets the stage for an Austrian reality show, Waste Cooking, on spinning straw — food waste — into delicious gold.
I usually find it tough to sit and watch videos — too busy and too much info to process. (I know I’m not alone!) But I adore these European dumpster-diving activitists who roam the city rescuing perfectly edible food from trash bins. The dialog of their videos is German; I watch them anyway. I can understand a lot of what they say, because their actions speak volumes! They’re running around in the dark, head lamps illuminating the trash bins, elbow deep in crap!
And o’ the treasures they unearth…
In episode one, they save dozens of unblemished tomatoes, carefully wrapped fennel, many bags of carrots, a beautiful eggplant, and whole onions from a certain trip to the landfill. The “waste” makes its way to food blogger and chef Tobi who cooks in an open plaza, lovingly preparing fennel in a white wine and cream reduction paired with fried polenta and a fresh ratatouille. Now for the fun part: As passers-by sample the dishes, they also learn where the food comes from. (Ha!) They get punked, fed, and educated on food waste all at the same time.
Americans waste 40% of the food we produce, and recent books, like American Wasteland and documentaries, like Dive! have tried to inspire us as a country to address this dilemma. Waste Cooking shows us we’re not alone — the issue is global. And these Austrians are doing something about it!
The team has also produced an English-subtitled short film, Days To Trash, that highlights what they’re all about. Take 11 minutes and 8 seconds out of your day to get to know them. Then go watch their videos, share their stories, and borrow their recipes. And don’t forget to say “danke schoen” by minding the foods you toss!
Image Credit and Inspiration: www.wastecooking.com