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Dec 14, 2012 11:01 AM

Waste not, want not

It happens pretty much every year, I buy too much sour cream for the Hanukka latkes and wind up with leftover (usually around 1-1 1/2 cups). I try to eat healthy most of the time, so it's not a food product I have a great deal of use for normally. But I find it really difficult to throw it out, even if it cost less than $2.00. And to re-purpose it into baked goods - which I could give away - would involve buying more ingredients which I don't have in the pantry. Which seems like another level of waste.
How many others face ingrained guilt over throwing away "perfectly good food" - even if it is a stupid container of sour cream?

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  1. I too find it difficult to toss food...sour cream, however, is never a problem. Mashed potatoes with sour cream!

    Back on topic, tossing slightly to very funky veg is never a problem, as everything goes into the compost pile, as does stale/moldy bread, week old rice that migrated to the back of the fridge.

    1. I feel very guilty about it too. Sometimes I'll make a dish that's good when it's fresh, but we discover it's not so good reheated. So it sits in the fridge for about a week until Wednesday night when I toss it (trash comes Thursday). I always feel so so guilty about it. Awhile back I actually ate a whole 9x13 pan of butternut squash mac and cheese throughout the week, not because it was that good, because it wasn't, but because I had spent 20% of my food budget that week on the cheeses for it and I wasn't about to throw it out.

      The other day I threw out 2 containers of salsa that were barely used (hidden in the back of the fridge) and an unopened container of cottage cheese that expired a month ago. It KILLED me to do it. Ack!

      3 Replies
      1. re: juliejulez

        If I throw out veggies/herbs that have gone bad - then as long as it's not a huge amount I'm ok with that. Mostly because I figure that having a good selection of veggies to encourage myself to cook with them during the week is better than just getting a take away because I don't have enough in my fridge.

        However, when it comes to food I've cooked and intend to use as leftovers that I have to throw out, that's when it bothers me. The combination of the expense, the time, and the waste just kills me.

        For the past 9 (!!) days, I've had this horrible intestinal infection, so I've slowly had to throw out the entire contents of my fridge of normal food. Medical reasons take away the guilt, but it's still unpleasant.

        1. re: cresyd

          Cresyd, I agree about always having a good variety of ingredients on hand. But I am (slowly) learning to buy less--the smallest butternut squash, not that nice big one. (I mostly cook just for myself.) Also I am trying to cook smaller amounts, even though I love the idea of having leftovers ready to eat. Variety, again. I find it only takes one unexpected lunch or dinner with a friend and maybe one of those occasional and necessary nothing-but-dessert meals to throw all my leftover plans out of whack. True, I spend more time cooking this way, but none of it is wasted!

          1. re: Mona Williams

            As a single person, I have always found that "cooking for 1" to be a lot more work and always a bit difficult to eyeball. Also as all of the kitchen duties fall to me (shopping, cooking, washing up), having leftovers is vital for me to not eat out too much.

            However, one thing that I've done to help with wasting so much is planning on multiple shopping trips through the week. I work close to an open air market, so I keep in mind a midweek shopping trip which has helped in not relying on one large trip a week to determine everything I'm eating for the next seven days.

      2. I dislike wasting food (but never feel guilt) and try not to. But sometimes, there just isnt another sensible option but to bin it.

        But it's never really wasted. All vegetable matter goes on my compost heap. And all other food waste goes into the council's recycling bin.

        1. i never throw out "perfectly good food" no matter what it is. i keep it and try to use as much of it as i can. if it goes bad before i can use it up i still feel a twinge of guilt, but at least i tried.

          BTW in addition to mashes potatoes, you can use that sour cream for other savory dishes like chicken paprikash, beef stroganoff, potato or egg salad, deviled eggs, enchiladas, or even just a basic dip for veggies (mix in some chopped fresh herbs or a little dry soup mix).

          1. One of the "perks" of an office job is that I can always leave food items in the kitchen and they'll be consumed. I'd buy a packet of dried onion soup mix and a bag of ridged potato chips, make some dip and put the whole thing out for coworkers. Or give to some sports-viewing friends/neighbors.

            8 Replies
            1. re: tcamp

              I do tend to turn it in to dip, mixing with some salsa, but I'll eat it compulsively...although I got a little sampler pack of popcorn seasonings which may be good to mix in for quick dip...argh!
              Hubby has requested turkey meatloaf, perhaps this weekend those mashed potatoes will come in to play.

              1. re: BeeZee

                A couple of times I put a bit of leftover ricotta into my meatloaf, just to get rid of it, and it was a nice addition. Made it much less heavy.

                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                    Yeah now I'm annoyed when I make meatloaf and don't have any ricotta on hand. Now that you mention it, I tried other dairy products like yogurt but only ricotta did the trick. Not sure about sour cream.

                    1. re: coll

                      Mmmm...ricotta in meatloaf. Now that sounds good.

                      Oh, and when I have leftover sour cream, I make more chili (and probably buy more sour cream).

                      1. re: coll

                        I am thinking about making it his weekend, What is your ricotta to meat ratio? Do you alter the amount of bread crumbs?

                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                          Not that much, around 1/2 cup. The bottom of the tub, basically, whatever's left. I don't use bread crumbs in my meatloaf, I do use 1/4 cup oatmeal and 1/4 cup crushed Ritz crackers to 1.5 lb meat, just as I always did.