Guest Post – The Four Pounds of Cheese Project

“Waste not, want not!”  Isn’t that the saying?

I waste too much good food in my kitchen!  There I said it!

I am a happy baker, fun loving chef, and all around lover of food.  So why do I waste so much?  Since baking more for people lately, and for the  catering events, I actually cringe every time I waste food.  I see dollar signs flash before my eyes….seriously!

I was asked the question today, “what is the one thing most difficult about being a food blogger?”  Well because I am a recipe developer too, it’s the hope that each recipe will turn out the first time.  I hate having to waste a dish, I want it right the first time.

During my internship for my dietetic program, working at the hospital, the amount of waste I observed was beyond anything I imagined.  When watching Food Revolution with Jamie Oliver, the first season- in the school lunch room…..seriously what was the point of making all that food, it’s amazing how much is thrown away…

When I received the invite to participate in the Four Pounds of Cheese Project, I jumped in immediately.  I will be traveling a few days, so I will try to take pictures of what I throw away when I’m on the road.

I decided I really wanted Jenni Field the creator of the project, and fellow food blogger who I just love, to share what Four Pounds of Cheese is!

Reading her post, I see the passion she has for cutting food waste, and showing how very important it really is for everyone to understand.  Jenni is a beautiful Pastry Chef, who shares delicious recipes!!!  I cannot wait to meet her someday soon!

Please enjoy, and join us August 1-7th!  It is fun, important, and definitely a real eye-opener!  Thank you Jenni for sharing your passion with us, and letting us be a part of it with you!

4 pounds of cheese
First of all, I’d like to thank the delightful Terra for allowing me to write a guest post over here at her cozy place! Thanks, Terra, for helping me to spread the word about this important issue.

“And what important issue might that be?” you ask? Friends, I’m talking about food waste. The evidence of food waste is all around. You have but to look in any garbage can almost anywhere to find food that has been tossed out–either partially eaten, uneaten, stale or…fuzzy.

It has long been an open secret that restaurants and grocery stores waste enough food to feed thousands of hungry people. While I think it is a critical issue, I don’t really think that is something that I personally can have much control over. Besides, there are already people On The Case. Check out Lovin’ Spoonfuls and Dive to see what’s being done in that arena.

What I do have control over, however, is what goes into my own garbage can. I recently read an article in National Geographic that stated some pretty sobering facts regarding food waste. The one that really stuck with me is that on average, each American wastes four pounds of cheese a year! It’s almost inconceivable to me. I mean, I love cheese. I currently own four pounds of cheese right this very moment, and the thought of wasting any of it? Well, I won’t even discuss it. It’s just not gonna happen.

Then I started considering all the other food we waste in our house. I had to compost a fuzzy tomato just yesterday. No excuse for it, really. I could have sliced him up last week and had him with some salt and pepper on a sandwich. Or lightly dressed with some balsamic vinegar. I could have chopped him up and tossed him with some pasta. I could have made a caprese salad. I could have done any one of these things–or about 100 more–but I didn’t. And while Mr. Fuzzy Tomato will go into our compost bin and help our garden to grow next year, I still know I wasted him.

I believe that when you know better, you do better. But apparently not always. I think knowing something isn’t necessarily enough. I mean, I know that in a right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides, but that doesn’t mean that the Pythagorean Theorem sits in the forefront of my attention every day. No, for that to happen, I’d have to have right triangles all around me. And the theorem artfully stenciled on the walls of our home.

So, when it comes to Mr. Fuzzy Tomato and any other food that I sometimes cavalierly waste, and when it comes to the over 1.2 Billion pounds of cheese wasted in America per year, I need to do something to keep “Waste Not” in the forefront of my brain. A brain stencil, if you will. Hence, The Four Pounds of Cheese Project.

Here’s how it works. For the first week in August, I will take pictures of all the food that we throw away in our house every day. I’m hoping that there won’t be much, but the pictures will tell. Then, at the end of the week, on the 7th or 8th, I’ll post my pictures for the week on my blog, along with any insights/revelations/reflections that I have about the exercise. As I started to formulate my plan last week, I realized that it is the perfect opportunity to invite others to participate in order to make the biggest impact possible. One friend suggested that I start an Event Page on facebook. Check. Another suggested that I make a badge for people to put on their blogs to show that they’re participating. Double check. I’m tweeting using the hashtag #FourPounds, and now Terra has allowed me to post the news here!

And you know what I’m finding so far? I mean, even before I have started taking pictures? I’m actually thinking more about my waste: coming up with creative ways to use up leftovers or work that last 1/4 cucumber into a meal so I won’t have to photograph them later, right before they go in the compost bin.

Please consider participating in The Four Pounds of Cheese Project August 1-7. I think if we all become a bit more mindful about how much we waste then we will all end up wasting less. And that leads to a happier planet. I’ll close with a tweet from another participant, Kimberly, that seems to illustrate the power of this project, even before it has officially begun: “Yeah I know the photos start on Aug 1 but I’ve started noticing already more than usual. Very effective.” See? Brain stencil!

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  • love this idea will be an eye opener for folks
  • Thanks for letting me guest post here, Terra.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!  I'm looking forward to meeting one day, too.  So glad you'll be participating.  I know it's going to be a little uncomfortable for me to share pictures of my waste, but if I show mine, maybe others will show theirs, and instead of all of us being embarrassed, we can all just remember to not waste so much. :)
    • Thank you so much Jenni for your wonderful guest post!  I am trying to catch up this weekend, behind on saying thank you!  I burnt a batch of cookies, and didn't have the heart to throw them out, waste not want not right? :-) Hugs, Terra
  • its amazing how much waste we accumulate. i really need to start composting.....:(
    • Thank you for your comment on my four pounds guest post with Jenni!  I always say I need to start composting too, I have the perfect backyard to do it too:-) Hugs, Terra
  • What a great project...I know I could do better with my food management~
    • Thank you for your comment on my four pounds guest post with Jenni!  I think we all could do better on waste, it is one of those things that gets forgotten, or out of sight I guess:-) Hugs, Terra
  • That's a lot of cheese! Great post!
  • Great post! Thanks for sharing.
  • EA-The Spicy RD
    Argh!!! I just cleaned out my fridge yesterday and am guilty, guilty, guilty! Love this idea and wish I could participate, but headed out on camping trip at the end of the week and will be free from electronics :-). Can't wait to see what you come up with. I think this is a great project and definitely one for me to tackle upon my return!
  • I love this post. I know Iam guilty as well. There are many times that our leftovers get forgotten or a lone tomato or cucumber go bad. I know I could do a lot better with food mangagement.
    • Thank you for your comment on my four pounds of cheese guest post with Jenni!  I agree, I forget about one or two pieces of fruit and vegetable all the time, I could do better for sure:-) Take care, Terra
  • SUCH an awesome post! I HATE to waste food. So, when I buy something I cook with it until it's gone and then move to something else. I usually stock pile blog posts so that I can mix up the dishes I post, but in actuality, I tend to eat the same thing for more than a few days, so that it doesn't go bad. Something else I started doing in the past year--buying bulk foods (i.e., arborio rice for that ONE serving of risotto I want to make, etc.) and bulk spices. Because I'm single, but cook like I'm feeding an army, I give a lot of food to my friends. When we go out to eat or for drinks, they usually pay, so it evens out... more tricks for not wasting. Anyhow... I'll stop rambling! Again, awesome post! (and hugs Terra!) 
    • You are sooooo good!!! I am the worst with waste, and yell at myself all the time.  I like your system for preventing waste.  My problem is, I get bored easily, and I am not a fan of leftovers.  I guess it depends on what leftover, pizza for example, well I will eat that anytime, anyday:-) Hugs, Terra
  • We have composting our waste products to help our plants grow, you'll never imagine how food waste can do wonder for your garden.
  • PeterKenneth24
    Wonderful job with the post! https://www.primescuba.com/essential-equipment/scuba-packages.html