As my Year of Zero approaches it’s halfway point, I must confess that I have bought a book! Yes, a brand new one! Not even second hand! It’s a bit of a Catch 22 really. I said I was not going to buy anything new but then this book will help me with one of my other goals, which is to be more of an eco-warrior princess. The book The Less Waste No Fuss Kitchen, by Lindsay Miles was published this month by Hardie Grant. It is a common-sense, no-nonsense guide on how to cut down or maybe even eliminate kitchen waste. (depending on how warrior-like you choose to be!)
I have been following Lindsay’s blog, Treading My Own Path, for a few months now and I found her advice there very sound and helpful, so thought the book would be a good way to help keep me on track to achieve my “be less wasteful” goals.
Lindsay approaches the less waste issue with a huge dollop of realism. She is not into naming and shaming. She sets out her philosophy in her introduction:
“ [the] purpose [of this book] is to give you ideas and tools to make changes and feel positive about the things you can do and not guilty about the things you can’t do”.
The 223-page softcover book is full of practical ideas. It is divided into five chapters. There are lovely pastel illustrations throughout and plenty of charts and tables to make things easy to understand.
Part 1 gives a recount of our modern industrial food system and why it is no longer sustainable. (If it ever was) Supermarkets are full of abundant and relatively cheap food which is available all year round. Fruits like cherries which were once only available at Christmas time are now shipped in thousands of kilometres from the Northern Hemisphere. Hardly sustainable! While there is a lot of food, our choices are limited to those species ‘selected’ for their high yields, durability and size not unfortunately for their flavour.
The next three chapters look at separate categories where the consumer can take planet-positive actions.
Part 2 looks at how to reduce or remove packaging and plastic, Part 3 introduces carbon-friendly food choices and finally, Part 4 shows how you can reduce your food waste by careful storage, and using as much of your food as possible. This incidentally will save you money as well.
The final section Part 5: Getting started in your (less waste no fuss) kitchen, gives the reader ideas on how to plan meals, how to avoid single-use items and simple recipes for things you can make yourself.
Lindsay does not suggest that you start with an all or nothing approach but rather tackle what you feel most comfortable with first. That may be as simple as remembering to take your own bags to the supermarket or buying from a bulk food store. As you master one thing you can move on to include something a little more robust like reducing your intake of animal foods or buying only plastic-free produce from the farmer’s market.
Lindsay categorises potential actions by ”fuss level” from Fuss Level + to Fuss Level +++.
For instance, if you want to concentrate on reducing plastic packaging, a Fuss + option would be to “Take a stand: pick one grocery item that only comes packaged in plastic and stop buying it altogether.” The Fuss +++ version would be to make the item, like crackers for example, from scratch.
It’s an easy, enjoyable read that I’d recommend dipping in and out of as often as you like. It’s a reference book rather than a novel. Keep it handy in your kitchen. Lindsay’s writing style is unpretentious, friendly and encouraging.
My goal is to make more from scratch and reduce the amount of food I throw out. To this end, I am planning my meals more carefully, sticking to a list and buying what I can in bulk. I’ll definitely be trying out some of Lindsay’s cracker recipes! My biggest stumbling block is reducing the amount of plastic packaging I have, even though I am making a conscious effort to reduce it. It’s everywhere! My next action will be to try a home delivered fruit and vegetable box. This should reduce my packaging a bit.
Go to Lindsay’s website to see where you can order your copy.