In honour of the Food Cycle Markets, I want to tell you the story of Bobby Banana.
Photo: Marie, VitaLucida
Bobby was born in the tropics. He had a happy youth, soaking up the sun’s rays with all his friends. They chatted and sang, thinking they would live forever. Until one fateful day, when the banana harvesters came who tore him away from his family.
He was still a pale yellow colour, too delicate to travel, when they shipped him off to Europe to be sold in the Albert Heijn. Since then, Bobby suffered from stunted development and a huge sense of embarrassment. Displayed carelessly in the discount bin, he was forced to appear before the world in his unripe state. He watched thousands of his unripe fellows go off to their new homes with owners who appreciated small features he couldn’t distinguish – the shine of their skin, or the cut of their stem.
For some reason Bobby couldn’t understand, he was passed over time and again until finally he was thrown unceremoniously onto the rubbish pile. There, in the landfill, as the sun came out one morning and the worms started to gather round, Bobby finally earned his spots and died happy, a bright, healthy yellow.
Think about the last time you picked out vegetables in the supermarket. Both the peppers looked tasty, but you probably went for the one that was more symmetrical, didn’t you? Or the potato that didn’t have the tiny little beginning of a sprout in the left-hand corner, which you could see clearly if you held it up to the light and examined it sideways (FYI – sprouted potatoes cook even easier and have more flavour!).
These fruits and vegetables last only a short while in the supermarkets before they get thrown away, because the stores know that people won’t buy them. This means that every day, thousands of good food gets tossed. Our wonderful Wednesday community dinners take advantage of this and create veritable culinary masterpieces from the food that was passed over. But every Tuesday, we give you the chance to do this for yourself, to engage with the food and find your own creativity!
When you hear about a market that gives out free food, you think there must be a catch. You imagine heaps of rotting root veggies, slimy spinach, aardvark-eaten apples (ok, maybe not. It was important for the alliteration). But what might shock you is that the food at TBYW’s food markets is still good. It’s still quality. It just happens to have not been “chosen” by the Foodie Experts that are your average-Joe shoppers.
To make things even better, TBYW has the adorable goodwill to match the goods of the week with inspiring spices, to help you brainstorm for your dinner. As someone who is quite capable of having a full fridge and still not knowing what to cobble together for dinner, I find this ingenious.
Everything in this world is a cycle. TBYW recently hosted a clothing swap where people could bring in their unwanted clothing and find some new gems of their own. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, said every delighted person ever who found designer clothes at a discount store!
In the same spirit, we encourage you to bring your own unwanted food to the food markets. Perhaps you tasted one brussel sprout from the enormous discounted package and reaffirmed that you HATE BRUSSEL SPROUTS. The rest of them are still good, so why throw them away? We’re not asking for your rotten food – Taste Before You Waste can’t keep everything either, and we aim to provide healthy, tasty options. But anything long-life you don’t use is welcome – rice, pasta, flour, use your imagination! (Mine seems to be stuck on carbs, as usual). At the very least, these things can also be used for the community dinners every Wednesday.
Through sharing ideas and creating a community cycle, we can ensure less things get wasted. What dishes will you create with this week’s food market goodies?