Several years ago now, I was at a restaurant trendy with the University crowd I was peripherally involved with, and, as usual, could not finish my meal. One of the guests in our party said, ‘you’ll take that home, yes?”.
I stared at him with an odd expression and said, “I hadn’t thought of it, no.”
And he said, “then may I?”
Figuring he was Strapped For Cash, I pushed my plate toward him and told him ‘by all means’.
Months later, at a different restaurant, with a different group of peripherally-known University friends, I saw the same dinner guest, with a couple of other folks at the table. I began to wonder how he could afford to eat at restaurants so frequently if he was so Strapped For Cash that he had to ask *this* group for *their* leftovers. Turns out he was not Strapped For Cash at all. He was appalled at the incredible waste (of food) he saw in North America. He was, as you might have guessed, a student From Away. He would later talk to me about the scarcity of food in many of the places he’d been in his short life (a discussion that left me feeling like a complete asshole for not having joined the foreign legion at age four). I hadn’t really thought about it, except for that time I worked at Burger McFlippin’s for a summer and balked at how much food they threw out each night into the dumpster that they locked so that hobos couldn’t, God forbid, eat perfectly good food FOR FREE.
Well. Not perfectly good food. Really terrible McFlippin’s, but even that’s better than nothing if you’ve not eaten in a week.
Anyway, I got to thinking about all the times in my very privileged life when I’d turned up my nose at overcooked vegetables, or left the table with a mound of food I couldn’t eat. Ever since then, I’ve asked for take-away containers if I cannot finish my meal. Most of the time I remember to eat the leftovers. And when I forget, and it ends up in my compost, I feel *incredibly* guilty.
Which brings me to something that made me *really angry* tonight. I dunno if you’ve seen this television programme – the kids love it – called Wipeout. It is based on a Japanese game show in which people (who I can only assume are three sheets to the wind) compete in an obstacle course made of giant padded battering rams and hydraulically powered movable sidewalks, etc.. Apparently the whole point of the ‘game show’ is to see how ridiculously folks can embarrass themselves by face-planting into every obstacle. Admittedly, sometimes it’s pretty funny.
But tonight, one of the obstacles involved people in a tower throwing food at the contestants. An entire five-litre bucket of tomato sauce; cooked spaghetti; pizza; meatballs. It was horrible. All I could think of was some poor kid watching this on TV, who hadn’t had a good meal for months. Which then reminded me of this book I just read, the name of which I can’t recall at the moment, about a girl growing up in a really effed-up family.
So yeah. That show pissed me off.