I just finished reading the last two Freakonomics books, Think Like a Freak and When to Rob a Bank. I’ve also been listening to their once a week podcasts during my walks and workouts. I’ve re-thought a lot of things since listening to their podcasts and stories, ideas that most people would be against. Some examples include not thinking big (who would have thought? But actually, this makes a lot of sense to me since I’m into the micro and the details, so I suppose I am biased), failure is not always a bad thing (seems to be a relatively new thought given tech startups and the new ways that we raise our children today to test different things out to find their passions and strengths), and that drunk walking is actually far more dangerous than drunk driving. I enjoyed their first two books a lot, but the third one just seemed like a recycling of their podcasts and blogs, so it was a bit disappointing.
One thing that they brought up that I’ve been pretty cognizant of since I was young thanks to my frugal parents is food waste. As much as 30 to 40 percent of food is wasted in this country — you know, the food that you scrape off your plate at the end of a meal, food that you tried at a buffet that you realized you didn’t like (then why did you take so much of it to begin with?), the vegetables that you left in your vegetable crisper in the fridge for a week too long. As much as 40 percent, I thought — holy crap, that’s a lot of food! Preserving food and trying to make use of all of it has been a slight obsession of mine since I started living on my own. I chop up and freeze leftover vegetables and chicken bones for stock. I freeze buttermilk from desserts I make to use for future pancakes. I even store the little bit of cornmeal I have left in the fridge in the little hope that I will use it in the future for something. The fridge and freezer are like my food waste helpers. Thank goodness for modern technology.
We live in a country of plenty here, so no one really thinks anything of it when they eat just half their plate at dinner at a restaurant and don’t want to doggie bag it. The restaurant just throws it away. When fruit rots in their fridge, it’s no big deal — into the garbage it goes, and then they can go to the market to buy more fruit that they may eat half of and then throw out the rest once it starts molding! It’s a frustrating thing to think about since I’ve been so aware of it from a young age. It’s one of those things that has stayed with me, my parents’ constant reminder that they barely had enough food to eat when they were growing up, that in their mother countries, there are thousands if not millions of starving children, so I try as hard as I can not to waste as much as possible.