Thanksgiving: A Beautiful Holiday To Waste Tons Of Food


Thanksgiving old-time favorites: turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, and pie Source: Dana Gallagher

Bruna Vila Artigues, Assistant News Editor

Over 150 million pounds of turkey, 14 million pounds of dinner rolls, 29 million pounds of vegetable sides, 30 million pounds of gravy, 45 million pounds of green beans, 40 million pounds of mashed potatoes, 48 million pounds of sweet potatoes and 38 million pounds of stuffing.

Americans love Thanksgiving. It is one of their favorite holidays, probably only because of the food that comes with it. However, would they love it as much if they knew that, according to United Technologies, these numbers are not the amount of food consumed, but the amount wasted? And they did not even take the deserts into account.

I have only experienced four American Thanksgivings in my life and, although I will not complain about the soft, warm cornbread or creamy macaroni and cheese, I will criticize the amount of food present that day.

Why do people feel the need to cook for 20 mouthes when there will likely only be 10 real people attending? There is no reason for three different dishes of sweet potatoes, buying massive turkeys like there is no tomorrow and baking a pie of every kind of fruit.

It is like American society has set these standards that say: Holidays require tons of piles of stacks of food.

And guests are expecting it. In fact, everybody dives into Thanksgiving knowing that there will be more leftovers than food eaten. People’s mindsets are to get themselves into a food coma and unable to get off the couch. But, again, why are we aiming for this much food if the leftovers end up thrown away too?

Americans waste up to 40 percent of their food each year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 37 million people struggle with hunger, which translates to around 11 percent. Now, do the math.

This 40 percent of wasted food could help lots of families fight food insecurity. There are thousands of children who do not know where their next meal is coming from and thousands of adults that might not eat for at least three days, yet we are here buying extra vegetables just because we can afford to do so.

Do you know how much mac and cheese we brought back to school after the holidays? Do you know how much it is still sitting in our fridge and will end up in the garbage? And I will not even mention the amount of rice that was not eaten during that Friendsgiving I went to last week.

We could plan our shopping beforehand, maybe check our fridge beforehand to avoid buying duplicate ingredients. Rather than allow the ugly fruits to go to waste, we can bake those then freeze any extra fruit and vegetables. Along with that, why not tell the guests to bring their own containers to take some leftovers so that they may remake them into new, different foods.

Or we could just waste it all like we are doing. It is on us.

But remember: you are lucky. You are lucky to celebrate a feast-indulging holiday like Thanksgiving and enjoy the insane variety of foods and treats that come along with it. Here’s a not so subtle reminder that there is a five-year-old not too far from your house that did not get to take a bite of that warm and crunchy apple pie like you did.

Did you embrace it enough or did you throw some of that away too?