“Flashfood, a new app developed by Toronto-based Josh Domingues, promises to connect consumers with food at restaurants and grocery stores that would otherwise end up in the dumpster, allowing them to buy these foods for cheap right before they expire.”
Most of us see a problem and say “Oh dear!” and “Isn’t that a shame?”. Discarded food from restaurants and grocery stores, is an enormous problem. Perhaps we resolve to be more determined to use the produce that we carefully selected at the peak of freshness only to let linger in our fridge till it’s dubious. Not quite noble and actually does nothing to solve the huge problem of food waste on our spoiled, bloated continent.
People like Josh Domingues think big. He’s invented a means by which people who have food can connect with people who would like to eat well while saving money on the cost of food.
Our local vendors try. They discount and label perfectly good food with “enjoy tonight” tags.
They are trying to move beyond “Oh dear!” and “Isn’t that a shame?”.
Perhaps the main reason that the problem exists in the first place is that the population at large, (certainly not you or me) is careening around obliviously in invisible Rolls Royces of entitlement.
When we shop, we expect and demand only the best, the freshest, the trendiest.
Many shoppers are not even aware of what “in season” means. We may have a vague notion of seasons, but like the indomitable Violet Crawley of Downton Abbey fame asking “What is a week end?” we blithely assume that meeting our demands for raspberries or asparagus in January is someone else’s problem. And we don’t bother our pretty little heads with the fact that our demanded delicacies were grown in some distant fantasy land, packaged in protective clamshells and rushed to us at breakneck speed only to end up on a landfill because we weren’t in the mood. I don’t mean us, of course. Not you or me. But rather the collective “we”.
Nothing is simple. We can’t just say we’ll live on dried beans and save the earth. Many people all along the supply chain are dependent upon each and every step of this convoluted construct. It would be quite a disruption to dismantle it all.
But I do think we should be aware of our good fortune and not just take it for granted, demanding and fretting and complaining about the cost. Perhaps let’s support local vendors who offer a discount and keep perfectly good food from being binned by suggesting that we “enjoy tonight”. And let’s encourage Josh Domingues and his ilk as they find ways to match food to customers offering a handy means of eating well while saving a bit of money. Win-win!
That’s not to say that every now and then a dried bean doesn’t make a lovely change.
The food section of the Family Studies class, under the careful guidance of Mrs Decker, would occasionally make a chickpea dish that has become a staple for me for those days when I can’t seem to decide quite what I feel like. “Curried potatoes and Chickpea” never fails to hit the spot.
This one is from the Food Network, but I generally just bash around with whatever is handy:
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (I prefer paste, readily available locally)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you’re brave)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups fried onions (They are thinking those crunchy fried onions in cans, but whatever is handy)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for topping – unless you hate it.
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds for less heat)
Put the potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt and enough cold water to cover in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 3 to 6 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the potatoes.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the curry powder (or paste) and cayenne (or just hot curry paste) and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
Add the chickpeas, 1 cup fried onions and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water; cook, mashing the potatoes with a spoon, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add more cooking water, if needed. Season with salt.
Mix the yogurt, chopped cilantro, lime juice and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl. Divide the potato-chickpea mixture among bowls. Top with the yogurt sauce, the remaining 1 cup fried onions, the sliced jalapeño and cilantro leaves.
This, with whatever modifications suit your handy supply, time-frame and mood, is immensely satisfying, even if it’s just a can of drained chickpeas, a roughly chopped sweet onion and Patak’s Curry Paste, fast fried and skip the garnishes. But if you are really on your game, start from dried chickpeas. Haul out your Instant Pot and reconstitute those babies and you’ll have kicked any chickpea dish up a notch. Yes. Hummus as well. No kidding.
I implore you to give this a go. With a movie. Beer. Never wine with curry. But a fruity rosé if you must.
We won’t solve the problems of the world by eating dries beans, but we’ll have a lovely dinner. In a bowl. With a movie. Or a game. Hold the asparagus.