It was just over a week ago that I (and many of you, my readers) got all fired up about the Food Network’s “Big Waste” special.  I live-chatted with a number of you during the show, I wrote a follow-up post, and I vowed — both to myself and publicly — to do something, even in small measure, to combat food waste in my own little corner of the world.  That “something,” to wit, happened to be a moment of madness in which I said I’d keep track of all the food wasted in our house each week between now and March 21, and chronicle that waste here for the world to see.

Gulp.  It’s time for the first report.

First, the caveats: I am NOT good at keeping track of stuff yet, so I may, quite honestly, have missed one or two things along the way.  I’m trying to get better, I promise, but it’s hard to develop a habit of keeping track of what you previously considered to be trash.  Secondly, after some consideration, I decided that I’d measure the waste by general portion/measurements (most of which are educated estimates), rather than by a more scientific and exact method like weight.  Frankly, that’s somewhat motivated by laziness, because if I had to haul out my kitchen scale and weigh every scrap before disposing of it, this project would fall apart in a hurry.  However, I’ll also point out that since I rarely think of my food in terms of POUNDS, but rather in terms of portions, cups, tablespoons, etc., the whole exercise is probably more meaningful to me anyway if I look at our household food waste in terms that have a functional translation to my brain.

So here goes…food waste, week one, in no particular order:
1 small bunch beets.  I found them in a bag in the waaaaay back of the fridge.  They were NOT edible any longer.  Trust me.
1 1/2 small bunches cilantro.  This burns me a little.  I had a bunch of cilantro in the crisper, which I somehow overlooked.  I bought another and only used half of it.  By the time I’d found the first one, it was too late…and before I could make myself do something to preserve the other half-bunch, time had become my enemy.  Purely, purely my fault.
1 cup greens.  This is an assortment, a round-up if you will, of little odds and ends from various packages of salad greens and cooking greens.  We usually use things like this completely, but there was a little kale here…a little mesclun there…and a few leaves of baby spinach that just never got eaten.
1 cup assorted vegetables — tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers.  This is the sum of all the vegetables that were either included in lunchboxes or on dinner plates that ended up neglected.  The lunchbox ones couldn’t be salvaged by the time they got home; the dinner ones just didn’t get saved, because I’m not good at managing our food waste yet.  This much I’ve learned.
1/4 cup fruit salad with yogurt topping.  Leftover from P.’s lunch one day.  Sat in a warm cubby all afternoon.  ‘Nuff said.
1 whole carrot.  This one slipped out of my fingers as I peeled it, fell into a dish of soapy water in the sink, and as I tried to retrieve it, I dropped it down the drain.  I’m motivated to manage our food waste, but not that motivated.
1 dozen small (51-count) shrimp.  I’m SO angry with myself about this one.  Shrimp are EXPENSIVE, damn it, and not something I am prone to wasting in any case.  Unfortunately, I’d made shrimp to bring to a party, and these dozen didn’t fit into the dish; so I popped them in our refrigerator with the solemn vow to myself that I’d cook them up for J. and me the next day.  You can see the result of that vow.
2 chicken drumsticks.  We cleaned out the fridge; they were in a mysterious foil package.  Yup.
1 piece broccoli quiche.  Forgive me for this one.  I must confess, it’s a simple matter of nobody really wanted to eat it.
1 banana-sunbutter slider on mini-English muffin.  P. took two of these sliders in his lunch one day; one was eaten, the other appeared to have been…licked.
1 pepperoni-spinach calzone.  Another lunch casualty, another afternoon in a hot cubby.
1/2 cup oatmeal (prepared with milk and maple syrup).  I made too much the first day, saved it, reheated and ate it again the second day, and frankly couldn’t see how it would continue to be edible after another reheating.
2 falafels.  Well, most of 2 falafels.  The kids nibbled, gnawed, smashed, and otherwise mangled them in the course of dinner.
1 cup cooked whole-wheat pasta with garlic butter.  I was so good!  I saved a whole bunch of this pasta.  I ate it again.  And reinvented it and ate it again.  And the last bit just didn’t quite make it.
1 slice whole-wheat bread.  J. thought it seemed a little stale, so he tossed it.
1 ounce (give or take) grass-fed beef.  P. didn’t finish the second slider he asked for at dinner one night.  We did save the scraps, dutifully, but when he asked for them again at lunch he still didn’t eat them.  I’ll only go so far on this one.
1/2 cup organic yogurt.  P., again.  He wanted it for breakfast, ate only a little, left the table, and we were in such a rush leaving the house that we FORGOT IT WAS THERE.  Ew.  Don’t come home to old yogurt on your dining table.  Just…don’t.

And that, my friends, is it.  The first week’s accounting of wasted food, laid out in black and white, in horrible detail.  We could have probably fed another PERSON, quite seriously, given what was cavalierly thrown away after our family was properly fed.  And now it’s your turn — give it to me straight.  Did I do better or worse than you expected?  How do you think this amount of waste stacks up against your household’s food waste in a given week?  And have any of you been keeping track for yourselves?