Does anyone else think it's strange that Thanksgiving-a holiday meant to commemorate the moment when white settlers in America were essentially saved from starvation-now involves the biggest day of overeating in the calendar? (Actually, no, that makes perfect sense.)
- Be realistic about how much food you’ll actually need to serve your guests—and don’t be afraid to be a little stingy. (Seriously, have you seen the size of the average American?) The Love Food Hate Waste organization has a “perfect portions” planner that can help you right-size your meal.
- Create a list before you go, to cut down on the risk of impulse buys that will empty your wallet and swell your table.
- Use smaller utensils and smaller plates to encourage smaller portions, thus reducing waste. Guest can take second or third servings, but the very act of having two reach for more food could be a discouragement. In other words, just do the opposite of what a fast food place does.
- Encourage self-serving, which let guests choose for themselves whether they really want the Grandma’s bricklike potatoes au gratin.
- Store your leftovers safely, to keep them tasty for the future, and to avoid, you know, killer foodborne illnesses.
- Compost your food scraps instead of simply throwing them out. It helps to have a garden or to live in San Francisco, which encourages citywide composting.
- Create new meals from those leftovers—again, the Love Food Hate Waste site has a number of useful recipesfor food scraps.
- Donate whatever you can’t use to your local food bank.
- Support food-recovery systems like New York’s City Harvest, which will actually collect leftovers from you.
- If you’re giving food as a gift, steer clear of highly perishable items and try to pick foods that you know the recipient will actually enjoy. In other words, skip the fruitcake.