I hate to make this a habit: quoting again from the Sunday Times, I mean but I guess there’s no running away that it does provide some fodder for food chat.
So, here I go again. On Sunday, (Aug 24), I found something really worthwhile in the papers, a link from its usually rubbishy Hot Clicks section: the Love Food Hate Waste link, which the paper described as providing “food-saving tips and even recipes to recycle the remnants of last night’s big dinner into yummy snacks or even a complete lunch”.
Without more ado, I clicked on the link and found myself at a website that’s right after my own heart. So, I promptly provided a permanent link in my foodblog for easy reference (see above pix), for myself and visitors to this blog.
If there’s one thing I hate wasting, it is food. Yet food is so plentiful for some many people in Singapore and because it is also so perishable (as compared to a piece of wood or a bar of steel, I mean), there are many who junk food at the slightest excuse.
Someone I used to work with (whose family owns a large piece of land in River Valley Road and whose home is in a cavernouse house with a massive garden off Farrer Road) told me she never eats overnight bread.
Reason is that the yeast in the bread gives out a poisonous toxin, harmful to those who consume it. She was unconvinced that bread stored properly in the fridge can be eaten, even if it’s a couple of days after it’s use-by date.
Of course, cold bread isn’t fun but there’s where the toaster comes in handy. For my ex-colleague however, she won’t eat overnight bread and she won’t buy just enough for herself. Instead, she buys a whole loaf, eat a couple of slices and let the rest go into the dust-bin or kept to feed the swans at the Botanics.
I’m the other extreme, I guess. I try to extend all food, so long as I don’t suspect it of likely to give me food poisoning. So, if milk or a curry has gone sour, I avoid. Or if a fish, which should be firm after cooking, becomes mushy and smells more fishy than is normal, I too will pass.
Otherwise, I wld happily recycle. At restaurants, unless it’s a buffet or if I’m a guest and the host isn’t someone I know well, I always ask for any left-overs from my plate (or my immediate family’s) to be packed.
I still remember when as a new and gauche member of the Tanglin Club many years ago, I committed the then faux pas of asking for some food I couldn’t finish to be packed. And I was eating at the Wheelhouse, mind you, not the Churchill Room.
The waiter was mortified and said he needed to check. Returned to say “we don’t have anything to pack the food in”. Since it was just some sandwiches, I suggested letting me have some paper napkins. He went away and after much consultation passed me some paper napkins, leaving me to do the ignominous job of wrapping the leftovers.
But how times have changed and me many years older. Today, while lunching at the Wheelhouse, the two very pukka couples sitting next to me (I know them to be pukka because no less than retired banker and OCBC director Wong Nang Jang went up to their table bowing and smiling in his friendliest best) asked for leftovers from their lunch to be doggy-bagged.
And the waiter was happy to do their bidding, as he was happy to do mine a few weeks ago, when I even asked for two baked potatoes I couldn’t finished from my Ikan Kurau choice to be packed (and which incidentally went very well with other leftovers I had in my fridge).
However, not everyone is an old-hand like me where doggy-bagging is concerned. The two pukka couples were perhaps a bit uncomfortable with their own request as one of the men declared that the food wasn’t for him but for the security guard at his condo.
To which the man from the other couple replied that there were many, many people who would only be too happy to have such food.
I wanted to interject (altho I didn’t of cos): Relax fellas, in these days of high inflation and runaway food prices, it’s the new cool to practise waste not, want not. Even if you are applying that to help those in so much want that they don’t have anything to waste.