During the holidays, schedules are jam-packed and food is abundant. Many Americans can identify with celebrity Melissa Rivers’s situation in Save The Food’s new video: a fridge full of aging leftovers and half-full takeout containers, and a lot of guilt. At least one-third of food is wasted in the United States annually and, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, food waste costs consumers some $1800 per household per year on average.
In the video, “Orange Is The New Black” actress Alysia Reiner saves her real-life friend Rivers by conducting a food raid on that overfull refrigerator. They use the leftovers—and Reiner’s creativity—to create a menu that is delicious and reduces food waste.
Rivers watches in amazement as Reiner deftly transforms leftover salads, herbs slightly past their prime, a tomato with a bad spot neatly sliced away, and a half-full jar of salsa (“always good to smell”) into a zesty gazpacho. “I’m looking for things like this,” Reiner announces, holding up a takeout container, which she quickly scans to rule out rot before dumping it into the blender. Leftover pizza, cut into bite-sized pieces and dressed up with on-the-edge basil, fresh parmesan, and a spritz of olive oil, becomes focaccia bites. Reiner revamps a batch of nearly past-ripe fruit, quickly sauteed on the stove, into a cobbler topped with cereal from pantry containers. Rivers looks surprised when Reiner announces that mold on fruit is “my friend.” She can’t argue with the results as her friend carefully pares away the less-appealing parts and turns the rest into a delicious dessert.
Save The Food is a national consumer campaign to curb food waste from Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It aims to help Americans buy, cook, store, and share food more efficiently. The recipes in the video focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, the foods most likely to be wasted by Americans. Below is a sample recipe from the campaign.
KITCHEN SINK GAZPACHO
· 2 tomatoes
· 1 red or yellow pepper
· 1 large cucumber
· ½ onion
· 2-5 cloves of garlic
· ¼ jar of salsa
· A handful of cilantro or parsley + extra for topping
· A handful of leftover salad, veggies, etc.
· Chunk tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic, cucumber and place in blender with leftover salad, veggies, cilantro and salsa
· Blend until smooth
· Chill and serve; top with extra cilantro