from the editor
Every year, 34.7 million tons of food — at an estimated worth of $165 billion — end up in landfills. About 40 percent of the food we grow in this country is wasted on the journey from farm to fork. And this unconscionable waste continues to grow. The amount of food waste in the U.S. has actually tripled since the 1950s. Sadly, we live in a throwaway culture, which extends to our food supply. That — on top of the fact that about 49 million Americans live in food-insecure homes — is staggering, embarrassing, and just plain awful.
But I was inspired by our cover story. Writer Barbara Twitchell made this grim picture bright with tales and tricks from local chefs who have taken matters into their own hands to curb this trend. They have some great advice for home cooks (page 28).
Much of the food we toss every day actually is fresh, nutritious, and perfectly good. In terms of produce, we can use the entire vegetable, root to stalk. It just requires a little planning, education, and creativity. Just remember to buy only what you need, use what you buy, eat your leftovers, and compost.
Who knew that watermelon rinds are extremely nutritious? I also discovered that strawberry leaves have more antioxidants than the berries, and lemon rinds have more vitamins than lemon juice. I learned that stalks and stems are just as nutritious as the leaves and florets. Add them to salads, slaws, and stir-frys, and make them into broths, juices, and stocks. My overall takeaway is that whole-plant cookery is not only environment friendly, but also more nutritious. So there is no excuse. Instead of throwing food scraps in the trash, make good use of them!
In this — our seventh — Cooks! edition, you’ll find more cooking inspiration from five local home cooks (pages 38, 40, 43, 47, 51). You’ll also gain tasty twists on brunch (page 57), tips for cooking with (local) beer (page 20), and — now that the weather is finally warming up — even instructions for building a solar cooker to use those sunny rays (page 69).
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Now get cooking!