As y’all may have noticed, I’ve been making an effort to avoid wasting food: at home, at others’ homes, at work, at restaurants — basically in all situations. My motivation is not simply thrift (though saving $$$ is a definite bonus), but the idea of acting more meaningfully in all realms. Instead of tearing through the grocery store, chucking boxes of Cheez-Its and bags of baby carrots in my basket, I try to make shopping lists centered around specific dishes. This practice not only helps me plan what I’ll be cooking, but also helps me avoid buying crap that will rot in the crisper. I feel more like an adult when I have thought-out dinners; I also feel better not having to clean veggie sludge from the fridge.
Even so, I end up with random tidbits that do not add up to one cohesive dish. That half-cup of quinoa, those two lone celery ribs, the silent can of tomato paste: what will become of them?
If you find yourself asking a similar question, check out My Fridge Food, a website that generates recipes based on the (dwindling) contents of your fridge or cupboard. Last week, Anna Newell Jones blogged about this site and I checked it out ASAP.
If you overlook the ho-hum interface, the site is decent. I entered the contents of my cabinets/fridge* — rice, beans, salsa, eggs, and some other odds & ends — and was presented a list of the many things I could make. Among my options were grilled cheese sandwiches, egg sandwiches, spaghetti carbonara…the list certainly wasn’t endless, but it was more of a list than I had before.
My Fridge Food may not provide the most cutting edge (or healthiest) recipes, but that’s not its focus. It will help you breathe new life into the sad, remnant ingredients you’d left for dead. Used frequently, it may help you reframe how you think about dinner prep. Give it a shot; it’s going to become one of my new internet frivolities, for sure.
*I hadn’t been grocery shopping in ages: DON’T JUDGE.