Come Dine Sustainably

4th Jan 19 by Isobella, Feedback volunteer

Keen advocate for ending food waste, Isobella arranged an insightful evening with delicious food made from surplus and salvaged ingredients.

One evening, seven friends gathered in a student flat in growing anticipation of what on earth they would be concocting for their supper. All they knew was that it was a ‘sustainable’ evening of food innovation.

Waste not

The array of potential ingredients were laid out, including excess fruit and veg salvaged from a local greengrocers (by Feedback’s Gleaning Network coordinator Heather), scraps from the fridge and a few dry, cupboard items. Items of interest included pumpkin, plantain & pomegranate…and some suspicious looking surplus wine.

Teams of 2 were formed for starter, main and dessert and the eager cooks competed for ingredients as they plotted what to make. This was a perfect number for us, as it worked in the space and quantities we had. The criteria was to make something delicious, producing as little waste as possible, and minimise food miles. In the end, no one bought any extra ingredients – all the courses were formed from the original stocks, which was amazing!

Let’s get cooking

It was such a fun atmosphere whilst everyone was cooking and crafting their dishes, especially in utilising all components of an item. The starter team were the most creative with presentation, utilising the pineapple as a vessel for their pomegranate chutney and salsa, accompanied by plantain fried in Toast beer – a wonderful product which we all loved, which uses surplus bread to produce a delicious brew.The main course won on taste, with curried cauliflower, veggie fritters and a red lentil dahl, followed by pumpkin pie with banana and beetroot swirl ice cream for dessert – a beautiful harmony of fruit and veg! We created sub-categories under ‘food’ and ‘sustainability’ including taste, texture, quantity of waste and environmental impact to name a few for the recipients to vote on after each course.

More than just eating

Throughout the evening we played games including ‘guess who – the food waste version’, in which we each had a food item stuck to our heads which others had describe what they would do if they had surplus amounts of that item to help them guess. Discussions were also prompted by real life scenarios in which decisions about minimising food waste were chewed over. It was really great to be able to have intentional conversation surrounding food and how we can buy, cook and eat more consciously and sustainably, after we had proven to ourselves how much could be done when you have imagination and intention.

All in all, everyone was really impressed and proud of how inventive they had been, and the joy that it is to share wholesome, home-made food with friends. I firmly believe that seeds were planted that evening, and that each person left feeling inspired, well-nourished and encouraged to cook from scratch and from scraps and better understand the journey their food has taken before it gets to the plate.

I hope this acts as an encouragement for others to host their own, with friends or strangers – you can be the catalyst!

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