28 November 2012

No Thanksgiving leftovers here

Last week I listened to a segment on Marketplace Money that talked about how much food Americans waste at Thanksgiving and throughout the year in general. Looking at turkey alone, Americans throughout $280 million worth a year. The thought boggles my mind, especially right now when I am unemployed. I'm not trying to say that we are poor; even without my income, we are above the poverty line. However, expenses like tuition and healthcare put a strain on the budget and food is the category where we tend to cut costs first. The idea of buying so much food that there is enough to throw away later is outside our experience.

There are two things that we do that prevent us from having a refrigerator full of leftovers that we are sick of. The first one is fairly obvious: don't cook so much. Like many families, we have certain dishes like baked ham that we only cook for special occasions. Having ABM's special macaroni and cheese makes the meal feel so much like a feast to my kids that we don't have to load the table down with 13 other dishes.

The second thing we do is spread out the Thanksgiving meal over the entire weekend. We started doing this about 10 years ago and it was originally a way to respond to ABM's desire to go eat at his grandmother's house on Thursday but still have leftovers at home. With my recent unemployment issues, it has also become a way to still have food for the weekend instead of blowing all our food money on the Thursday meal. For example, this year I had a menu for what I was going to cook but then ABM had some different dishes he wanted to make and started cooking them on Wednesday night. There ended up being so much food that it didn't make sense for me to try my recipes that day. I ended up cooking my food on Saturday, which was a good thing because the ham was practically picked clean by Friday evening.

You can enjoy your Thanksgiving meal and celebrate your blessings without buying and wasting tons of food.
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