We’ve all been in that situation before. It’s lunchtime with your friends and you arrive at the restaurant famished to the point of silence. You’re ten minutes away from crumbling into a heap in your seat and you’re so lethargic you can barely hold up the weighty menu. But you pull through and order anyway after a tiresome and lengthy inner monologue weighing the pros and cons between two of your favourite dishes. After the meal you lean back in your chair, satiated and satisfied, suddenly looking at the world with heavy lids and a happy stomach—when suddenly, you see it.
In front of you, your friend who’s busy yapping away, has literally pushed her plate to the side with half her beautiful meal left intact. Abandoned and forlorn, the grains of rice stare back at you with dull eyes as their once-hopeful but now-futile future in the trashcan lies ahead of them. The ignored sauce and the cold pieces of chicken all stare at you with sad eyes begging for you to give their existence meaning. You stare at them and your friend and then them again in disbelief and horror.
“Are you not going to eat that?” You ask, like the busybody you are. “No, I’m full,” your friend retorts as she pushes her plate even further away from her. You continue staring, torn between asking her if you can eat it and looking like a hermit, or if you should just leave it, avert your eyes and move on with your life. And this is just one example of a situation that happens all too often to someone who loves food all too much. Here are three others:
Sometimes, despite our intense love for food, our stomachs are just like anyone else’s, in that they are not bottomless pits and that they too become full from time to time. However, in our valiant efforts to save the world from even more food waste, we often find ourselves forcing down more food (whether its our own or someone else’s) down our gullets, despite overcapacity warnings going off in our tummies. It’s tiring being a hero, but we gladly do it so that food doesn’t get cooked in vain.
2. Experiencing food guilt
When most people associate guilt with food it’s often as a result of overindulging in something sinful and unhealthy. But with us, our food guilt lies in leaving even the driest piece of chicken uneaten, for fear that it will come back to haunt us in the middle of the night when the midnight munchies are kicking in. It takes a certain amount of willpower to be able to know when to put the cutlery down and say, “I’m no longer enjoying this delicious meal as much as I should be. But I know I’ll enjoy it better when the right time comes along”. Speaking of which…
3. Our takeaway game is strong
Understanding the right amount of food to leave on your plate that is an acceptable amount to take away, without getting annoyed looks from your server is a skill that requires careful balancing and precision. Five to six pieces of sushi is ideal, four is riding the line and three is just being petty.
Note to habitual “take-awayers” (we all have that one person in our group) who frequently ask for the remnants of their meal to be doggy-bagged, for the sake of pacifying their guilty consciences: It still counts as food waste if the last thing your doggy-bag or styrofoam container sees is the darkest recesses of your fridge, left eternally forgotten and coagulated until the next spring clean.
So, word to the full, don’t waste food. And don’t even get us started on the topic of starving children in Africa.