Ten years ago if I watched a movie called "Wasted" it definitely would have been about drinking a bit too much. But last night I decided to rent the movie Wasted!: The Story of Food Waste narrated by Anthony Bourdain.
Watching this movie is sort of a continuation of my journey into better understanding food and what I actually put into my body. But this movie looked at it from a different way, not what we consume, but how the entire food industry generates way too much waste and how that impacts the globe itself. The generation of waste was looked at in all aspects of the food production pipeline from farming, to grocery stores, to restaurants and finally home kitchens. It also provided solutions to handling food waste at the different levels.
Farms can provide their waste to be recycled and used in other means like food for livestock. This provides the benefit of having livestock fed with healthier options which then provides a better product to the end consumer. (I found this interesting based on the idea of flavor as discussed in details in The Dorito Effect)
Chefs can look into ways to use what was previously considered waste products, especially in produce. Many chefs are already using what used to be "waste" in what we now consider delicacies, for example uni which used to be known as whore's tooth per the movie. The movie highlighted Dan Barber of Blue Farms at Stone Hill Farm in New York and one poignant scene was him eating the leafs of a cauliflower which he said was extremely flavorful, but never makes it into stores. This showed how much waste can happen in farms.
But the largest place of food waste was grocery stores. They highlighted just how much food is wasted there with sell by and use by dates. Pushing the idea that these dates are not standardized and really are not meant to be final and we should use our eyes. They also showed how much produce was still good, but being thrown out. They highlighted a non-profit store that picked up these 'bad' products and sold it to those in low income neighborhoods. Both reducing food waste, and providing a cheap healthy food alternative for those looking for it. Amazing way to handle this.
When it came to what you throw away at home, yes this has an impact. But it seemed they were working in this to less shame home cooks than to more look at the other places that can be addressed. Yes, they brought up composting and how long food stays in landfills, but I think they were trying to make sure those that would watch this (people like me) didn't feel bad about what they were doing at home in throwing out food. As an example, I cannot compost in a New York City apartment. But I can do more to try to use everything.
All in all, a very interesting and entertaining (yes, entertaining). The most entertaining parts were with Mario Batali. His personality really stood out as it did when he was on Emeril's Eat the World, another great show.
Quick Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars