Friday, March 9, 2012

Dive- A Documentary About Food Waste

This is an eye-opening documentary about food waste in America and one man's campaign to help stem that waste and locate others who are doing the same. The film is long  (48 min) for a you tube video but is not too long as it moves along at an interesting clip. I watched it in 2 sessions, just pausing and coming back when I had more time.
As I watched this video, I kept thinking about all the ways we saved food when I was growing up. I remember peeling wrinkled Irish potatoes with sprouts in late winter-the ones we had grown in our own garden for our own use. We used them all, breaking off the sprouts, cutting out the rots (there was both a wet and a dry kind of rot), and peeling away the green skins of some that had gotten too much light. They were some trouble to peel, unlike their smooth plump skinned relatives from the store, but they were ours and had been grown and harvested by our own sweat. Those potatoes were also without one ingredient that worries us now. They lacked the poisons that are used by commercial growers to ensure perfect potatoes, more than half of which will be thrown into the landfill.
The preservation technique was easy. After the potatoes were dug, they were placed in a dark shed , spread out on the floor so that no potato touched its neighbor. A light coat of lime was spread over them as a preservative.About once a week someone, usually me, checked the potatoes and threw out the ones that were beginning to rot. It was easy to tell which ones were bad as they had wet spots under and around them. Also they smelled, and you know how bad that is! I guess the lime kept the rodents at bay, because I do not remember any significant loss from mice or insects.
When they were washed, peeled, and cooked, they were the same as potatoes the world over. They were wonderful, a staple of life. Even the wrinkled ones had the same flavor, maybe a little sweeter.
In January I planted a few potatoes myself. They are just breaking the ground now and my mouth waters just thinking about it.

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