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How a weekly menu can reduce food waste

Posted by on Jul 14, 2011 in Moneyville, Quality of Life | 0 comments

By Sheryl Smolkin

Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca 

Fellow blogger Peggy Mackenzie says her family is going to save money on groceries by getting tough on food waste . Since shortly after our wedding I have waged the same war with some success by making weekly menus and grocery lists. I even have holiday menus and shopping lists on my computer that I bring up every year, update and recycle.

My weekly pre-shopping ritual is to clean out the fridge, check the freezer and check with the head chef (that would be my husband). Then I decide what we are having for dinner on the nights we are home. Usually I will list the main courses and figure out how many salad vegetables, cooked vegetables, fruit etc. we’ll need for the week. Leftovers are recycled for lunches.

Menus are posted on the fridge and the grocery list includes the usual core items plus any unusual ingredients for recipes we want to try. I buy kosher meat so I generally load up the freezer every couple of months and in between I fill in as required. We typically eat fish on Sunday nights so I can buy it fresh on the weekend.

I must confess that I “wing it” more often now that there are just two of us, particularly in the summer when we are away on so many weekends. And we still have our share of moldy fruit, yucky vegetables and mystery tidbits to toss every week. However,we waste much less when I “stick with the program.”

I figure that over the last 35 years I’ve made over 1,700 menus and thousands of lists. In fact, my menus and lists are frequently the butt of family jokes. When my daughter did a stand up comedy routine for her Grade 10 drama class, she started her monologue with, “My name is Ariel and my mother makes lists. At any time of the day or night you can find out what we are eating by just checking the menus on our fridge….”

She had the whole audience in stitches, and I think I laughed louder than anyone else. But I guess some things are just genetic. She is married now with a home of her own, and I’m proud to say she is a “queen of lists” just like me.

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