Leftovers. Leftovers can be the key to saving the planet.
During the pandemic, there were a lot of chicken. Chicken thighs with skin and bones and chicken thighs free of both. There is a rotisserie, bought pre-cooked at the store, and whole raw chicken roasted with onions, carrots and potatoes. It‘s almost all dinners. But dinner is not the solution to climate change. It‘s lunch.
My kids, Max, who just turned 11, and Zoe, who is 15, have lunch in my kitchen with me every day now. In the Before Times, they cooked their own meals, took them to school, and ate in the privacy of their own cafeteria. And before that, I packed their breakfasts with cheese sticks or yogurt tubes, berries, pretzels, granola bars, tiny nut Tupperwares, goldfish crackers, carrots.
But now I work from home while they are homeschooled, and between Zoom meetings we each make our own breakfasts. Yesterday I ate slices of chicken breast with avocado on it. Max made himself some sliced apples and some sharp cheddar cheese. Zoe did what she always does: mixed greens, a red pepper, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, nutritional yeast, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, and sliced chicken breast. She tries to get nine colors on her salad. She remembers the game we played when she was 3 years old. Nine colors of vegetables are hard to touch, but it comes close. Sometimes she adds corn.
This is all very healthy on his part. Compared to Max and I, it’s a walking multivitamin. But her pandemic accomplishment is that she doesn’t let food go to waste. She remembers her half-cut red pepper from yesterday. She roasts four sweet potatoes on Monday and eats half of them every day. For breakfast, she made Gen Z breakfast famous: avocado toast. She only uses half of an avocado, saving the other half for the next day. Max, though less invested in consuming color, makes cheese rice from last night’s dinner topped with leftover cheddar cheese and leftover baked potato topped with a bunch of lettuce.