We have previously covered one of Refuse’s pop ups in Durham and I vowed to keep an eye on what other events were planned in the future so I could go along and show my support. Last weekend Mim, Nikki and the team hosted another fabulous evening, this time in North Road’s Methodist Church. We popped along to sample a three course menu that was originally destined for the bin. It is mind boggling the food that is discarded by supermarkets, restaurants and homes all over the country that could be repurposed or used simply because of ‘Best Before’ dates.
Everything served up was donated to Refuse before it was sent off to landfill. Knowing what we do about those in third world countries who are starving it is criminal that perfectly good food should be discarded in this way. With a huge rise in people using food banks in the UK it is also sad to see food that could be given to those who are in need of help and support rotting at the dump.
We’re trying to be more conscious of our own food waste at home and have cut down on the number of times we eat out each week. We have also started to buy more tinned and frozen foods to stop overspending on fresh fruit and vegetables. Often what you’ll find in the freezer aisle are fresher than fresh, having been picked at peak ripeness and treated to preserve their flavour.
We were happy to see that vegan options were offered alongside meat alternatives on the night, as well as a choice of desserts. The drinks were ‘help yourself’ and there was definitely a relaxed atmosphere. A number of musicians had donated their time and were performing and the dining room was set up in a communal fashion. We started with Carrot & Coriander Soup and Grilled Asparagus, followed by Stir Fry and Bean Burgers. Some of the chips were undercooked and others over but that didn’t matter. The burgers were very flavorsome and filling.The Udon Noodles with Tempeh were delicious and definitely inspired me to give this a try at home. We waited a while for our Banana Fritters to arrive which gave us a chance to chat with others who had come along for the evening. Dinky made friends with a little boy who was also in attendance and it was very cute to watch them wander round the church hall together. The batter coating the fritters was vegan friendly and was made by mixing almond milk and flour. It was another recipe I took away from the event and vowed to try myself at home. One of the lovely things about a PAYF (pay as you feel) event is that those who cant afford to pay can offer their services in other ways. Non-monetary donations of time or talent are encouraged by Refuse, either by singing for your supper as some did or by helping with the washing up. Collection tins were dotted around the venue and there was a table filled with food items that hadn’t been used for the event.
I was able to pick up some Peppa Pig spaghetti and a few other tinned goods I knew would come in handy during the week ahead. It certainly gives food for thought seeing all these perfectly fine items piled up on the table that local supermarkets and shops were going to discard because of the flawed rules that exist surrounding food ‘waste’. 65 people were fed on the evening and over 80kg was saved from the landfill for this evening. I’m looking forward to the next event already.
Thanks for reading,
Mr. Canny x
Want to know more about Refuse CIC? Check out their Facebook page for more information about how you can also get involved.