I have really fond memories of sitting on the chest freezer in the kitchen and watching my mum cook when I was growing up. She was amazing in the kitchen, a real wizard. She stretched the family food budget, so we all ate really well. She taught me all I know and more than she could ever imagine.
I grew up in a multi-generational household, my paternal granddad lived with us. Food waste was unacceptable, not only due to the fact that food was and still is expensive but also because my Grandad grew up through the Second world war and my parents lived through rationing. My mum was an expert at turning leftovers into something new and delicious.
She taught me about bedrocks – where the main ingredient could be turned into a number of meals. So roast chicken on a Sunday becomes chicken curry on Monday and Chicken Soup on Tuesday. She menu planned before menu planning was popular. She did it to make sure that we all had delicious food on the table.
It seems that food waste is a generational issue. According to Sainsbury’s 18 to 34 year olds bin 12% of their food, which on average amounts to £461.76 a year. Whereas over 55’s waste £113.36 less each year.
Food waste is one of the biggest environmental issues of our age with seven million tonnes of food being binned and generated by households in the UK alone. This is why I am delighted to be working with Sainsbury’s on their Waste Less, Save more initiative.
It is also why I think it is really important to have a generational journey when it comes to cooking and I am blessed to have my mother’s recipes and some of my aunts too. It is one of the reasons that I believe in buying really great quality kitchen items as I am using my mum’s rolling pin and my cousin m Mum’s Kenwood Chef.
My mum has been dead six years, but her impact in my kitchen and my boy’s lives is still ongoing. My mum was the person that introduced my boys to traffic light jelly. She taught them to make scrambled eggs and how to crack an egg. We still cook her soupy stew on a regular basis. Infact, she even got maxi cooking his own 3rd birthday cake as I had only just got out of the hospital.
5 Ways to save on Food Waste I learned from my Mum
Don’t bin it freeze it. My mum had a big chest freezer and she used it a lot. Not just for freezer leftover portions of food, but also instead of binning food. Did you know that you can grate cheese and freeze it. It is perfect for using in baking or for topping pizza and lasagne.
Cook Seasonally. My mum taught me that using seasonal produce meant that you got the freshest food at a great price.
Use Bedrocks. By using main ingredients as the base of your menu planning you can have one main ingredient produce three meals. My mum would never throw away any meat. it could be a pie, a curry, a risotto and much more
Learn about food dates. Learn the difference between best before and use by dates.
Shop your home. Once a week have a potluck dinner where you take a look at what is in the fridge and freezer. I do this and only meal plan 7 out of 7 of our weekly meals.
I would love to know about your favourite family recipes. Come and share them with us and I will share with you some more of our family favourites.