Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Left behind

Posted By on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM

LEFTOVERS:  Left behind
Something’s been bothering me a lot lately. Maybe it was the way I was raised or having to deal with being poor as a young TV producer starting out… but the idea of wasting food bothers the tar out of me.

I’ve noticed this a lot lately. Happened a little while back when I was dining at Za Za. It was busy. I was hungrily awaiting the delivery of my pie. The three people dining at the next table got up and left — and left a whole lot of food on the table. I couldn’t fathom that… Za Za is one of those places where there are takeout boxes and bags everywhere for you to use. I kinda cringed at that.

Happened again yesterday. I was catching a bite at Silk Road in Fort Smith on my winding way back from Northwest Arkansas. There was a group of five sitting at the table next to us when we came in. They all got up and left a huge table full of food — almost untouched salads, entrees that had been eaten halfway through, untouched naan. I was already hungry and looking at this and thinking there was enough left on that table for another meal for that group.

Now, I’m not advocating that you go over and eat what’s been left behind by others. This is not what I did in either case, though I did commisserate at Za Za with the sweet guy who came over to buss the table. I just can’t understand why you would order food and then waste so much of it.

Is it a matter of portion size? Maybe. But if that’s the case, why in this era of home refrigeration would anything ever be left like that on a table? Not a few bites here and there, I get that — but massive amounts of food?

It reminds me of the tradition of not leaving food on your plate, else you insult the cook. Or as we grew up hearing, “clean your plate.” How do you feel about this? When there are substantial amounts of food left after a meal, should they be taken home or left behind?

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