I’m a food waster

A trip to the grocery store recently made me have some serious thoughts about my food buying habits. While I’m thankful I have the means to buy food whenever we need it, I also think I’m starting to get out of hand with my shopping/cooking/leftover/trash habits.

I have a handful of frozen roasts and some remnants of the pig we bought at some point in my freezer. The problem with this is, I’m not really sure how long some of that stuff has been in there. It’s probably safe for human consumption, but what will it taste like?! It’s turned into a daily dilemma where I struggle with finding something to feed my family.

I think I must have a little bit of my grandmothers in me in that I don’t want to throw something out "just in case I can use it" and a little of my mother—"don’t waste that!" If this meat is going to ruin my dining experience because I can taste the freezer burn, then is it really worth it? The jury is still out on that one, and I’m leaning heavily towards no. I really need to do some research on how to use up this old meat or find somewhere to donate it to.

The other night I went grocery shopping after work. When I arrived home I was tasked with putting all this stuff away. In order to do that, I had to clean out and re-organize the refrigerator.  As I was tripping over kids and a dog, I was also trying to rinse out food containers that had once housed leftovers and had turned into science experiments.  The cats would dine on the bowl of leftovers that night. At this point I huffed under my breath, "I’m so glad I throw all this food away that I spend so much money on that no one eats."

The more I thought about it, the more upset I got. Sure, the cats got to eat the leftovers, and I was "saving" money on cat food for them at least one day, maybe two if they made it last. But I was throwing away food that I’d spent our hard earned money on. I was essentially wasting it—in my mind.

I am as much to blame for wasting the food as anyone in my family. There’s nights where I don’t want to cook and pick up something in town or the boys don’t want leftovers and have a bowl of cereal or PB&J. The youngest would happily snack on graham crackers, grapes, cheese and chips if I’d let him. I also have a tendency to grab fast food before I go home to let the dog out at lunchtime—because there’s "nothing" to eat at home.

But what really chaps my hide is that since we’ve essentially run out of home-raised beef I have been buying ground beef and other cuts of beef at the grocery store. I like the local butcher shop and the quality of their ground beef, but at more than $3 a pound I struggle with buying it. Most recently I’ve been buying 5 pound chubs of ground beef at Dillon’s and parceling it out into 1-pound packages. The last one I got on "sale" for $8.95 or $1.79 a pound. Sadly as much money as I’m "saving" I’m essentially cooking it away.

As hard as it was to write that check for $700 or $800 for the carcass plus processing, I sure wish we had a beef on feed at the moment. On my last trip to the grocery store I picked up a chuck roast for $11.80. It pained me so much to have to buy a roast from the grocery store, when for many years of my life I could essentially go to the freezer and pick one and not have to worry about it.

When I went home yesterday to let the dog out at lunchtime, I put that $11.80 roast in the crock-pot. I also picked up fast food on my way home because I didn’t have time to fix anything else. I sure hope that roast turns out good and I have leftovers to eat for at least a couple days. Or at least until the vicious cycle repeats itself.

Any tips for my dilemma would be greatly appreciated!