Food wastage

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
I care for my father.

His appetite is minimal.

We eat very different diets.

A huge amount of fresh food gets wasted in our house.

It is impossible to buy half a tomato. A "proper" white loaf costs £1.25; he eats two slices, the rest goes to the birds. I eat mostly brown or wholemeal bread.

He wants a "proper" Shepherd's pie. A lot of prep, then he eats two tablespoonsful. Either the dogs eat the rest, or it goes in the bin. Oh, I can freeze it; it'll be six months before he wants any more ...

It's not possible to purchase less than one slice of beef or ham from our local butcher. Again, the dogs get lucky.

Tiny, tiny quanties ... high wastage.

What do other people do ?

A good sized freezer., and cling film

Freeze sliced breads and only take out the number of slices needed each time.most baked goods freeze well, and can be refrozen e.g. crumpets, muffins, buns, cake

Make mince as for shepherds pie then divide it make (say)2 portions of shepehrds pie and keep other 4-6 portions frozen ready for spag bol, chilli, lasange, plain mince, pies or pasties etc. freeze in small portions, foil trays can be brought cheaply and reused, or save plastic boxes from ready

A pack of (say) 6 pork chops bought fresh then individually wrapped and frozen. Ditto chicken pieces. Also sausages

Sliced meats bought fresh can be frozen in smaller portions

All frozen food keeps much longer than packets say.

Half a tomato wrapped in cling film will keep in fridge, or freeze and repeat until you have several and then use in recipes.
Thanks for the repky ... yes, that would be my solution too ... except that things that have been frozen "don't taste right".

Bread's a typical problem. It has to come from the bakery that day. By the next morning, it's "dried out" or "stale" or "tastes funny". Frozen bread wouldn't even be considered.

The usual request is for "a bit of proper food". That literally means deep-frying four chips. The rest of the potato is wasted. Or griling one rasher of bacon.

It's not the cost; in reality, that's trivial. It's more the waste.

I guess it's just an excuse not to eat. He's type II Diabetic, but unless I watch over him, his food intake would be just chocolate biscuits and crisps.... not helpful.
I was going to suggest what Mrs A says, but I suspect the root problem is not really about your dad wanting fresh food etc, it's about him controlling you.

It's a tricky issue, but how long would he actually go without food? You don't mention dementia, which can often mean the elderly have no appetite (ie, they don't feel hunger any longer), but surely even with diabetes at some point your dad will actually feel 'hungry', won't he?

As most parents say to small children who are 'fussy eaters' - 'You'll eat it when you feel hungry!'

So, personally, I would call his bluff over the frozen food. Just tell him that in a hungry world, where people are starving to death, you are not prepared to insult them by wasting perfectly good food (which you've gone to the trouble of making, just as others have gone to the trouble of picking from the fields, and packing it up and selling it, et).

Serve him the 'frozen' food, and if he doesn't eat it, wait until he's hungry, and then serve it again.

You could 'reward' him with a 'treat' afterwards (eg, half a biscuit or whatever he craves.)

All that said, I'm afraid as they age, the elderly very often return to 'nursery food', and, in a way, why not? What they want is 'sweet starch' - and yes, although obviously you have to take into account the diabetes issue etc, at the same time, why not let him eat - within those limits - what he actually enjoys? He's an old man, he may not have many other pleasures, so trying to nag him to eat 'healthily' may simply be 'unkind' in the end.

I fear that 'we' fuss far too much over trying to get the elderly to eat 'sensibly'. Why should they at that age? Let them enjoy what they can, while they can!

PS -re the birds, I find the magpies in my garden ADORE 'left over meat' so I'm sure they'd gobble up your shepherds pie.......
My mum, in her eighties, didn't seem to like the taste of anything other than Mr. Kipling's cakes. She had various meal companies deliver things, but it "all tasted the same". One of the things about getting older seems to be the loss of taste. Try not to think of dad getting at you over this, it's probably just his age.
How old is dad? Is he very ill? An elderly body that can't move doesn't need much food. A body which is slowly shutting down knows what it can cope with, so you are right to just let him eat what he wants. (I too hate waste, as a child was made to eat all my first course (which I often didn't like much) before I got my pudding (which I always loved!)
If he only likes fresh bread from the bakery, why not just buy a small roll instead?
As for tomatoes, the scrummiest ever tomatoes are cherry tomatoes, Piccolo. They are available most places now, certainly Tesco and Waitrose. If I leave a bowl in the kitchen table they disappear like sweets!
before mono sodium glutamate (msg) got such a bad name they used to use it for people with poor appetites to encourage them to eat.
sensible idea about the roll and tiny toms!!
If things "don't taste right" or are drying out, it's usually a problem with the packaging for the freezer. I wrap items individually (chops, rolls etc.) tighly in clingwrap and then put in plastic bags or wrap in foil. (I've found that the proper blue-tinted heavy-duty freezer bags can taint foods after a while if it's not first wrapped in clingwrap, so now just use the cheapest clear ones.)

I learnt my "freezing skills" back in the 1970s when domestic freezers were just becoming popular and every other cookbook showed you how to cook, freeze, defrost and reheat! (Where are they now?)
[quote=Pennie post_id=370152

I learnt my "freezing skills" back in the 1970s when domestic freezers were just becoming popular and every other cookbook showed you how to cook, freeze, defrost and reheat! (Where are they now?)

Still on my cookery bookshelf !!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Jon, I'd be tempted to keep him out of the kitchen and tell what we call "kind lies" e.g "yes Dad, it is from the bakery you like, yes Dad it is fresh " . Is it the time or the money or the waste that bothers you most?
How about frozen bread rolls that you finish off baking at home? Can't get fresher than that and taste far better still warm