We typically eat all the leftovers....finish the milk before it expires.....that sort of thing.
Grapes...for whatever reason, the last few grapes never get eaten before they shrivel up.
But in the last month or so, our food waste has been extreme. Not happy. Not happy at all. We can divide the waste into 3 categories: Didn't eat/use, Appliance Error, and *sigh* Learning Experience.
This is self-explanatory. This is by far our smallest category. Despite saying we finish the milk before it expires just a few lines ago....I did spill out at least 1/3 of a gallon last week. But that was the only thing in this category last week. And in fact...possibly in the past several weeks. I clean out the fridge on Thursday night (Trash pick up is Friday), and there has been very little I had to clear.
However, Sassy has gotten into a bad habit of throwing away food because she simply doesn't want it. She eats 1/2 a cup of yogurt, and tosses the rest. Or yesterday...when they were home from school...she ate the lunch that she had packed for school. She ate all the "snacks" in there (and she packed her own lunch.....), but didn't want her sandwich. So she just threw the whole sandwich away. (The answer I got when I asked her why there was a whole, uneaten sandwich in the trash was: it isn't a big deal because it will decompose and return to the Earth. Apparently a lesson on "landfills" is in order, in addition to "waste of food and money.")
Most specifically....Refrigerator error. The fridge has started to freeze things in the crisper drawer (no control on the drawer...just the general control for the entire unit, and it is on the 2nd warmest setting). The fridge is 23 years old, and as a whole...works just fine. But whatever regulates this drawer isn't working properly. I bought a bulb of fennel....went to use it and it had totally frozen solid. As did my mushrooms. My lemons were ok though. I let the fennel thaw a bit, but it was a gonner. It was just a pile of mush. Rest in peace, fennel.
This by far has been the the hardest hit category. It is a combination of the kids and I having to come to terms with factors such as new things, responsibility, and plain ole on-the-job training.
With G-man gone....I have been forced to do a better job with meal planning (which I still hate). As the only adult, I am the only one who can go to the store, drive kids to appointments, etc. I try and schedule things for after school, to limit missed time at school and work. Additionally, the kids are home on vacation days, snow days (or rain days as it turned out yesterday....ridiculous). I have to make sure there is food that they can easily make or heat.
My learning experience....as much as I need them to be a few steps further down the learning continuum, they just aren't there. And despite explaining things, having them tell it back to me, and writing them notes....sometimes they just don't know enough to complete the task.
Case in point....the pot of meatballs. I prepped a big pot of meatballs and sauce. The plan was to have them for dinner over pasta, meatball subs the next night, and freeze the remainder for another meal. I went over everything with the kids....what time to turn on the stove and what "number" to put the dial on. That it should simmer (little bubbles....not alot of them....if there are alot of bubbles or big bubbles, turn the number down....). I got home, and was greeted to a smoke filled home (no fire or anything like that). But a pot that was SCORCHED. Like 4 inches of burnt, charcoal-esque sauce and meat.
Somewhere along the line of instructions....the "turn off stove" was missed. Additionally, the definition of "little bubbles" was also not the same between kids and Mom. They boiled away all the liquid, burnt the entire pot of food, and almost ruined my pot (it took me 3 days to clean it out). So we threw out 3 dinners worth of food....valued at about $20-$25 for all ingredients. OK...so that task was beyond their capability....lesson learned.
But along the "responsibility" line of thought....that is totally on the kids. We have had several accidents because they aren't paying attention to what they are doing. The biggest one....my now shattered Pyrex dish. I made 2 stromboli (one for dinner...one for kids to eat during vacation week). They pulled it out of the fridge, and then changed their mind. Instead of putting it back where they found it, they just shoved it in. The next time they opened the door...it came tumbling out. Shattered into 7,000 pieces. Sassy got a very minor knick from cleaning up the glass (and on top of that...she didn't wash it out, or put a bandaid on it.....sigh), but both kids were largely ok. They did a decent job of cleaning up the mess....and by how far away from the fridge I still found chunks of glass....it had to have been a MESS. But obviously, that food got tossed as well, along with my broken dish.
I am conservatively estimating that the food waste total for the past 6 weeks is about $100 for everything (there is more than what I mentioned here). Not good. Not good at all. So....Sassy will make a better effort to not just toss whatever in the trash....I am not putting stuff in the crisper drawer.....and I have scaled back on what I have asked the kids to do unsupervised. Let's hope the coming 6 weeks goes better.....