Reduce food waste while eating what you actually need / 5 rules

Today is 21st of August and I threw in the garbage the first potato after 3 months of been in charge of the kitchen while managing a hostel. I feel proud that my methods worked and I want to share some (maybe well known) tricks but not really followed by the most of the people. That happends beacuse we need to live fast on the end and some advises for washing up or preserve something imply efforts or time. We don’t want to put an effort on the food cause when we come back home we want just to relax and eat something quickly. We don’t take “time” for food cause the last thing we want to do after work is standing up in front of the stove, unless you have a serious passion about it. We can cook for lovers, we can cook for friends but on the end we don’t put this effort for ourselves and even the best intention ends up with lots of side effects such as waste of money, food or time.

Since I hate to spend time cooking I applied some tricks to reduce it while I committed to eat things that are good for my own mental and fisical health.

Rule number one : Don’t buy compulsively.

Some of us, once in a market or super market get the fever of stocking up. This is dangerous for our wallet and for our time. Going in a supermarket to watch around and buy chips or drinks with friends has nothing to do with a proper shopping. I love to do both and I love to go shopping with a plan. I observe myself or those who I’m cooking for and I have a clear idea of what I want every time I’m shopping. Maybe you can get wrong once, but twice is hard if you just do yourself the favour of having a “quite” specific diet. Doing this mistake is intolerable especially when you end up in a supermarket and you spend 3hours there, watching the emptyness most of the time. As I said, it’s fun, when you step into it just for fun. Leave the stocking up issue for stuff on sale and that can’t expire, soaps or shampoos but not for food. Observe what you need in one week and go at the market with a clear vew once per week. If you do so, It takes no more than 15 minutes to check out.

Rule number two: being aware.

As long as it might seem boring, tidying up makes yourself aware of what is going on in your fridge and when you do it frequently you will notice it is not that hard. Put the new stuff at the end and the old ones ready to be used as first. In This way you won’t deal with stinky, sticky, messy crap. By the time your going to have the next shopping you’ll realize things have been shifting in the fridge with a meaning and this organization is clear in your mind and you won’t feel the panic of not knowing what’s going on behind.

Rule number three: Don’t cook following recipes

This is a tough one, because it touches our feelings or perhaps our wickenesses.

Following a recipe is the first step through a organic bag full of waste and the impossibility of learning the properties and the behavior of some foods. If your mind, eyes and hands stick always at the plan, soon or later your dishes will become boring and static and you will never see the beauty and risk of acting “outlow”. Some food just need to be handled differently by different people. I’ve eaten more creepy things coming out from recipe then from creativity.

I stopped to follow recipe when I started to understand the food better and how I like it, but, most important, I always found recipes something you can afford to follow when you can afford to buy all the ingredients from the scratch. I Never really got the chance to afford it, while other kind of food is dying in the fridge. It turned up that this was an essential skill, travelling and especially sailing wild. I still love sometimes to make some beautiful cake or tiramisú especially when I’m cooking with my friends.

Rool number four: Cook on forehand.

One thing I hate doing while I’m starving is cooking. When I’m hungry I want to eat, not to cook. I guess this is one of the main reasons why we end up eating junk food. Well, I admit I love junk food too but I try to keep it for fun not to feed myself with it. So, instead of feeling guilty because I put rubbish on my body I’ll feel good because I did my job and I fullfilled that need of crashing it sometimes. And here is how I fullfill my duties: I cook when I have time to do it and when I’m not hungry yet. I noticed that when I do this I’m focused on what I need/want to put on my dish. I also multitask instead of praying in front of the pan, because I can’t wait to eat. We have a proverb for this in Sicily : “pignata taliata un vugghi mae” that means “pan is never going to boil if you watch it”, so make sure you get busy with some other stuff while you cook. Cooking is also multistasking and being patient. I love to have the food ready when I’m hungry, I don’t like that feeling of not being hungry anymore when I cook for a long time and somehow I feel full just by the smell. I love instead to prepare several dishes to share or save for the next meal. I even love more when I take care of the leftover because I know that next meal, than, is going to be various.

Rule number five: make a choice

Don’t go out for dinner if your salad is going to die in the fridge. Or don’t buy the salad if you are lucky enough to know when it’s going to be a busy week. If it is totally unexpected and I can’t help with it, I prefer to leave the food cooked so I can give it an other chance the day after (boiling eggs up to expire, using the yogurt for cakes or desserts, cutting fruits and turn them in a salad, baking veggies)

Highlights on Pipa beach in 5 points

This stunning place is about 80 km south from Natal, capital of the State Rio Grande do norte. It’s a cute village with many restaurants and hospitality facilities due to his recent growing in tourism. Pipa is actracting people for surfing and kite surfing, but the truth is that this place is just one of the most beautiful in Brazil. To get there by car it’s quite easy (even by bus). Just need to go off from the highway at the Goianinha little town and you will be right in the Tibau do Sul municipality.

1 Coming from the village you’ll reach the beach from above. Little colourful buildings around you are houses, shops and restaurants. During the low tide, the beach unveils rocky spots that create little lakes and sandy lagoons in wich you can chill sitting in the clear waters.

     I loved to take a photo shoot in there. The place is so various that looks like a water park where people are passing by looking for their own “lake” among the rocks. Water is calm due to the reef that protects the seafront from the big waves of the Ocean.

2 The village is tiny but fervent. There is a high presence of Argentinians business and tourists. It looks almost like an argentinian enclave. It’s very common to hear spanish speakers in Pipa because of that. Night life is nice especially thanks to the live concerts offered by Taipa, restaurant and bar.

     I was there during the low season and I was quite surprise that during those (just) three months of low season there was still a lot going on.

3 On the side of Pipa beach there is a big, long and gorgeous cliff at least 10 meters high. Its colours vary from red to yellow passing by pink and orange. The rocky wall is coverd by a forest, and some of this vegetation is part of the Santuario Ecologico.

     I loved to appretiate the differences in between the tides in this place cause the cliff seems higher when the sea is going almost against it and lower and some sort of smoky or smooth when you see the moisty air on the seafront space when the sea is less pushy!

4 Praia do Golfinhos lays straight after Pipa beach (heading north). It is just superb and when you are pacient enough you can even spot some dolphins around. The shore was so huge and flat that people where arranging football fields and games in the wet sand during the low tide. The cliff here looks even more majestic. Swimming in there can be a bit rough because of the waves: in this part of the cost the reef is missing.

     By the time I came back from the walking to praia do Golfinhos what it was a diversified space with ponds, sand and rocks has become a whole normal beach. The sea (the tide) took over.

5 Chapadão. At 15 minutes walking from the village (heading south) there is a very special lookout: a big system of terraces going flat but steep to the sea.

     I went there to enjoy a nice sunset watching the ocean. Obviously, the sun is going to set behind your shoulders but this is the little compromise you need to accept when special places in the world are facing Est.

The magnetism, the island, the tree. A tale from Magnetic island.

It’s weird to write down this part of my trip because it makes me think that actually there is a bit of chillin’ even in “my way” to travel: it’s not fight everyday. Sometimes you just need to accept that life is simple and beautiful like it is and you need to enjoy what is in front of your eyes.

I was passing by Townsville in Australia with my travelmate going south from Cairns, and that was the only plan we had got. Actually none of our stops was planned. It was just me asking: “well, since we are here. Why don’t we go to Magnetic Island?” So we did. We found the port, we dropped the car in a parking area and we went took a ferry. First thing I realized was that I’ve been missing islands’ air. It was quite a while I was on a “mainland”, almost one year, and “yes” watching an island while you get closer and closer gave me very good vibes. You smell it, you reach it, and finally you arrive in a paradise. I think islands give me such a good feeling because I’ve always appreciated the simplicity and the idea of a little and cozy space all for you but actually opened to the beauty of a 360 degrees of freedom, wild, purity; basically …. The Ocean

Magnetic Island ferry

Most of the people thinks island is a prison and a place where every good is hard to find and expensive. I honestly think the opposite: in the island my needs are so low that even if I spend a lot of money for little goods, I have very basic claims and since I don’t feel the stress of “civilization” anymore, I can easy reject some of the very “must to have” objects of the commodified society. It’s not that in a island you are immediately isolated, cause it actually doesn’t change very much especially in those inhabited places, but ideally the separation makes you projected in a necessary wildness, in a detached mood. And that’s enough sometimes.

Magnetic Island Map

We went through the forests with a bus first, to Horseshoe bay, and walking after, till Radical bay. Horseshoe bay is a beautiful and gently inhabited bay on the north shore.

From there, you can take a nice walk in the middle of the dry forest of this special island going a bit east. After our little sandwich on the garden on the seafront of Horseshoe bay, we went to explore this beauty: we even spot a Koala in the wild. We weren’t that into the tourism to be able and excited to pay for a visit at the Koala Sanctuary, but in the end we got our little wild present (with a little help). Since koalas are very silent, slow and often asleep it’s very hard to spot them in the wild, cause you wouldn’t actually realize they are around unless a very kind man crossing your way would tell you where to look

We had some pics trying to keep silent. I was wondering how they would do in the Sanctuary: if those animal are awake basically 4 hours per day, holding them it must necessary be while they sleep. I’m not an ethologist but I suppose it would be quite a stress for them, using the only few hours they have got to chew a couples of leaves to be held by a stranger.

The walking was not easy neither too hard. Radical bay was lush… I was almost tempted to dive, but I saw some particular ex-life on the sand that made me unconfident…

After walking by the beach I preferred to climb trees around and lay and chill. I got one of the best nap of my life. Alex was working on opening a coconut while I was dreaming about living a life on top of a tree. After he finished this hard work he reached me on the hall of my new “home” and we had some coconutwater together. It’s crazy how simple is happiness when you forget how unneeded is the effort to rush and accumulate in an ordinary life.

Borders, how to survive by car, by boat, by foot

When I started to study Anthropology some years ago, the word Border was passing by everyones notes like a ghost, carrying its historical and sociological meaning of wall, fence, division and exclusion.

In a certain way we were avoiding to use it, because we would have rather to talk about ethnic groups in a cultural relationship instead of using strange words like “identity” that was like a summit rising successfully from the pride of being forever diverse in a corrupted world, while becoming immediately corrupted itself. I must say, I could talk about this concept hours, especially when I see people misusing it and defining things just to divide instead of clarify. For me the word identity has been always dividing and find a substitute to it gives me the same pleasure of chatting about love and relationship in the society: null. That is why I never do that.

But borders are real and political and since I started to travel way out of Europe I had many experiences. I got familiar with some special deals in between countries, that is why even if you go many times in the same place, you can have very different experiences depending on where you are coming from, at that specific time. I got familiar with vaccinations, quarantine and the value that some countries give to the food, to the drugs, to organic products or luxury goods.

Crossing by car is very interesting, even if procedures are more intrusive (checking a whole car can take a lot of time). The behaviour of the frontier forces can tell a lot about the country you are visiting but also yuur own behaviour can compromise your staying in the country.

The most beautiful and sometimes long and boring “check in” is by boat, especially when you have to wait some hours or days before you can actually put your foot on land. The reason why I don’t enjoy this process is obviously related to the sailing itself: sometimes you are just busy to find a proper spot, put the anchor or approaching the deck that the last thing you want is talk with somebody. Sometimes the whole trip has been so rough that the boat is a mess (who wants to receive guests when the house looks like hit by a hurricane?) and the first thing you want to do is put everything in order, clean, have a shower, drink some water and wash the salt out of your clothes, cushions, sails, cabins (sometimes it happens) or just sleep for 12 hours. The reason why I like this procedure is because customs people, even if they seem to not understand how hard it is to arrive from sea, they are normally very relaxed and friendly. They don’t deal with millions of people per day and they come ready with all the papers you need. All they ask for is documents, passports and some signatures. In the end, is not a big deal and after that you can enjoy your sleeping time for many many days. It’s actually quite awesome the freedom you can access once you get all this paper sorted. Just try to smile, even if you and your crew know how many times you have been puking or messing around, even if you know how much effort it takes to stay on route and get the boat safe in a harbour. Just try to take it easy, smile and be always polite. People don’t know what you have been going through and neither do you about them.