What do I and one of the richest men in the world have in common?

“Go to any major chain supermarket and think about that tower of perfectly stacked, impeccable oranges or tomatoes, and understand that the supermarket by design has already figured and costed-out the fact — the immutable fact — that they will throw 30 percent in the garbage just so it will look cool.”

 Anthony Bourdain, The New York Times

In my last article, I told you one of my many tricks to become a minimalist and conscious when cooker. This time, I decided to share another one with you. If in “Cakes, Feminist and Minimalist”, I told you about the planning and containment when it comes to accumulating cooking recipes and cookbooks, today I will speak to you about waste and products validity.

I don’t know if you are aware of the amount of food that is squandered per year. In Portugal alone, around a million tons of food is thrown away. Some, because it doesn’t comply with the norms and regulations of commerce and services, and others because when shopping, people don’t have a mind-setting to buy just what is sufficient and eventually they bring home stuff that will end up in the trash.

Often when cooking we don’t take advantage of peels, stems or seeds. You can always wash, dry and bake and season (at a not very high temperature) pumpkin seeds, turning them into a nice nutritious snack. As an alternative, you can also dehydrate or sauté them in olive oil. The pumpkin bark is also consumable, but only if it comes from organic production.

You can also use the potato peels. The first time they served me potato chips in a fashionable restaurant in Lisbon, we all stared at the served plate. The silence was broken by a friend, when she thanked the servant for the potato peels and asked if he could bring the potatoes that had gone to the garbage. He didn’t notice it was supposed to be a joke.

Nowadays, we know that expiration dates are indicative guides for stores to market their products. These indicate the highest point of the food freshness and not necessarily the day when it should go the trash. Contrarily to what my grandma usually said, if I eat a yogurt, one day after its deadline, I will not rush in to the bathroom because the same yogurt decided to wake up spoiled.

The Portuguese newspaper “Observador” published some time ago, a very interesting article on this very subject. You can find there, much of what already has been spoken and the comparison with Portuguese initiatives. I strongly advise you to read it and inform yourself properly about it. Because, you know, information is power. In my humble opinion, they only forgot to mention the incredible work that Fruta Feia and Refood do in the management and equitable redistribution of food, that would otherwise end up in the trash.

What I like the most in this “Observador” article, is that I got to realise how I can be such a unrecognized and devalued visionary and entrepreneur. I only lack the grey t-shirt for public recognition. What the IKEA founder and I have in common is a very similar habit of savings. When I go to the supermarket, I also like to do some research in the expiring products shelves and I frequently bring them home, either because I want to try something that is sold low-cost or because, otherwise they will throw it away. Yes, these pour expiring products are still very stigmatized. After that, I verify their quality, check if they’re smelling or if, speaking of fresh products, the consumption is closer to the deadline.

That’s how I brought a silky tofu packet, which otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it (because it’s not a very common product in my kitchen) and I enjoyed making a delicious, vegan pie by avoiding to waste it. Enjoy, because there’s still a lot of fresh tomatoes out there, even though we’re near Christmas. As much as we try to avoid (with small gestures) the degradation of the planet – and we must continue to do so (especially now) – global warming exists and has come to stay.

Tofu Vegan Pie

Adapted recipe from Taifun-Tofu.

  • 1 base of puff pastry
  • 1 sliced vine tomato
  • 10 cut in a half cherry tomatoes
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 packet of silky tofu
  • Fresh  oreganos.
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of herbs of provence
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Turn the oven at 180º Celsius. Open the puff pastry package and use the baking paper to stretch the dough in the pie form pan. Stick the fork into it and take it to the oven for 10m.

Meanwhile prepare the stuffing. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the tofu with the olive oil and the seasonings.  Add the celery and the tomato chopped into slices.

Remove the dough from the oven and fill it with the mixture you’ve just done. Over the top put the half-chopped cherry tomatoes. Put the pie in the oven for about 30m, until it gets golden.

Enjoy your meal!

This post was originally written in Portuguese. Click here for the original text.

Clique aqui para ler este texto em português.