The Re-enchantment of Frugality

Massimo Bottura
Food for Change
European Investment Bank

As the frenetic lives we are living might not give us that much time to think about food in a more conscious way, we have to slow down a little to think about food, because on the one hand, it belongs to our territory, to our earth, and, on the other, it will soon be in our bodies.

And so we take time to think about the inside and the outside:

Everyone can avoid food waste. It’s not hard. For example, if you are planning to cook a meal, keep in mind before you buy any ingredients to open your fridge first and see what’s inside. Maybe there is some basil, a piece of Parmesan, a little garlic clove hiding in a dark corner. Perhaps you have some bread from the night before that can be toasted and turned into breadcrumbs, and with some good olive oil, this combination can be made into a wonderful pesto for pasta. You can also start avoiding food waste with many other actions that not only involve your kitchen, your pantry and fridge, but also the market. Find creative ways to use what you already have, rather than always going out and buying more food. And when you do go to the market, try to buy seasonally and locally. Today, more and more people are talking about food. This is a positive shift because it means that there is space for a deeper dialogue, and hope for improving our food systems, from our everyday diet to agricultural practices at large.

And this is where I insert an ingredient from some other reading. I do so to link the idea of avoiding waste by linking it to the idea of how to manage resources well by not obsessively comparing oneself fiscally with others (advice given by Shannon Lee Simons as a necessary prelude to gaining sustainable control over one’s cash flow). Simmons is clear about the tax bracket the advice applies to (“Let me be clear. In this book — and most of the time in my office — I’m not talking about the finances of individuals and families who don’t have enough to pay for basic necessities like food, shelter and health care. That situation, while still hopeful, requires a different set of financial solutions, financial planning and support that we won’t dive into here.”) I contend that the advice she does give about managing cash flow scales up to caring for the planet and all its inhabitants by truly living within one’s means. She summarizes:

Gaining sustainable control over your cash flow is how you stop budgeting and start living without worrying about the future.

You do this by —

  • establishing how much you realistically can and cannot afford to spend
  • ensuring that your spending makes you happy; and
  • learning how to say no to overspending

Shannon Lee Simmons
Worry-free Money: The Guilt-free Approach to Managing Your Money and Your Life
[a work of moral philosophy disguised as a self-help book]

Here’s the link: waste is overspending.

And so for day 2557

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