During a cold December night, Vienna Shares and Foodsharing Vienna hosted the NoWaste Xmas Cooking Workshop at WUK. A group of international students gave their best in collecting nearly wasted food and turning it into a delicious buffet dinner.
We started gathering food which was would otherwise have been thrown away as unsellable. Reasons for a food product to become unsellable is because it’s nearing the expiration date, the package looks damaged or, in case of fresh fruit and vegetables, it doesn’t look fresh enough anymore. After all, when we stand in a supermarket and we have to choice between a shiny apple and dented apple, we usually pick the shiny one. And the dented one, which is still is fine to eat, lands in the trash.
Foodsharing Wien has a large network of food-selling partners such as bakeries and and organic supermarkets. Together with them they try to prevent that these foods are thrown away. Everyday the members of Foodsharing make their rounds and save food that is still safe to eat from the bin. Their large network and re-distribution system works so well that some members never need to go grocery shopping and still enjoy a varied and healthy menu.
After collecting the foods and transporting them to venue at WUK, we started the cooking process. It is noteworthy that there was no pre-made plans or proposed recipes, because you never know what you will get. The cooking workshop was all about improvising, communication and cooperation. Which brought different experiences and tastes from all over the world to the table. All ingredients used for cooking were chosen from our stack of gathered nearly-wasted food. During the process many productive talks about sharing and waste food took place. After all, it is quite astounding to find six crates and a full fridge of food that can still easily be cooked into a tasty dinner. Who would have thought we could make this wonderful buffet out of ‘waste’:
* Anti-pasti plates with vegetables in oil, tofu snacks and mini sandwiches
* Two kinds of traditional Austrian dumplings: sweet with fruits, cinnamon and berry sauce, savory with cheese and herbs.
* Italian oven baked meatballs with cheese
* Curried veggie stir-fry with apple and organic pork chops
* Stuffed red peppers with fried topinambour
* Banana poppyseed pancakes with buttermilk
* Sweet French toast (or ‘Arme Ritter’)
The evening was closed by a fun FoodTalk offered by a.o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martina Kaller, who illustrated the complexity behind ordinary food by explaining the international journey of the ‘Wiener’ sausage.
So with our bellies and heads full – and still enough of dairy products, fruits, veggies and baked goods for everybody to take home as much as they could carry – we closed the a successful dinner with the one drawback of nights like these. The dishes.
By Ehsan Bazafkan and Mirjam de Klepper
If you want to know about more about Foodsharing Vienna check out their website
Watch the movie Taste the Waste to see what shocking amounts of food are thrown away each day, even before they reach the (super)market.
To find out more about Viennese food expert Martina Kaller and her publications click here