When you live overseas, you learn lots about yourself that you didn’t know before; you learn that you can be totally independent, that you don’t really mind spending time by yourself, that even if you are lonely or alone you can still have a good time. You can also learn ridiculous things like you are able to have speak entirely in broken English/Thai/Spanish etc and sign language and the conversation doesn’t suffer, it’s about the moment and the people over the language. And you can learn the sublimely ridiculous, like learning to love ugly fruit.
In North America and Europe so much fresh fruit and vegetables are scrapped because they aren’t pretty enough to put on the shelves. Perfectly straight carrots, bright green broccoli, non blemished apples. People won’t buy ugly fruit or vegetables, like having a wonky carrot is going to ruin the taste of your salad. I used to be the same. I’d sort through the veggie baskets at the grocery store looking for the ‘best looking’ items to cook with. But moving abroad I realised that a lot of fruits and vegetables aren’t these magazine perfect things. They are weird and misshapen and that’s okay. Grocery stores or markets in developing countries don’t care if the carrot has two legs or if the pear isn’t pear-shaped. It’s food. It’s not rotten. It’s consumable. It doesn’t taste any different to beautiful fruit.
According to statistics over 300 million tons of food waste is thrown away every year and I wonder how much of that is ugly food? I’m not meaning to make this a political post nor do I claim to be perfect “because I eat a funny shaped apple”. I throw out my fair share of food, that I didn’t eat and it went bad. I’m just saying that living outside of your culinary comfort zone can really make you think about stuff that you do at home. We simply consume too much or buy too much in one shopping trip. I’ve tried to learn to embrace small shopping trips like small loads every few days. It might not be as convenient as loading up the car with your two weeks of groceries but it helps to cut down on wasted food. Also walking to the grocery store and carrying back the bags. If you can’t carry it, you can’t take it. I know this obviously won’t work for everyone but it’s worth thinking if you really need that extra bag of something.
Peace K xx