April 2015: Cooking for four, but shopping for eight

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Every year in America, about 66 million tons of food end up in the garbage. This is according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which did some more math to conclude that the food we throw out—whether it’s from our homes, our restaurants, or our grocery stores—is worth, in total, $161 billion. Put another way, each person in America throws out 1,249 calories of food a day.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

I’m embarrassed to say I’m part of the problem: I love to cook, but with just my wife to eat what I make (my two preschool kids are loathe to try anything that involves more than cheese, bread, pasta, or bready, cheesy pasta), we end up either not using our extra ingredients (no, I do not need that entire bouquet of Italian parsley) or worse, throwing out leftovers that have gone bad. It’s sinful.

So when Evan Mah, our food editor, was looking for volunteers to test-drive two meal services for this month’s Bite section, I invoked Editor’s Dibs and put myself at the top of the list. You can read how it went, but the thing I most appre-ciated? When I was done, there was barely anything to throw away. Contrast this with my usual haul from Costco, where produce is sold in quantities suitable for a fraternity house or Columbus’s voyage across the Atlantic. Yes, pound for pound it’s cheaper, but if it goes uneaten, it serves neither your appetite nor your wallet. Nor the planet.

This month also features the second annual edition of our Food Lovers Guide. When we inaugurated the concept last year, we focused on creating a shopping list, from A to Z, of some of the most unique cooking ingredients and products you could find in Atlanta. This year we wanted to hone our approach even more: to explore the many resources Atlanta offers to help make us better cooks, better party hosts, and better shoppers. It was so fun I invoked Editor’s Dibs again, signing up for a basic butchery class at Pine Street Market. We got to take a ton of meat home, and, I’m happy to report, what wasn’t eaten is in my freezer. Waste not, want not.

This article originally appeared in our April 2015 issue.

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