Scraps Worth Savoring

“Farm to Table” is now a well established movement but what about “Scraps to Plates?” Zero-waste cooking is gaining ground through the work of creative chefs and is in turn inspiring home cooks to take on that mission in their home kitchens. Tama Matsuoka Wong (an-eco minded wild edibles forager and owner of Meadows + More) and the Noma Chef, Mads Refslund, wrote their book, Scrap, Wilt + Weeds, to explain what zero waste cooking means, it’s impact on the environment, and how to make a difference with delicious recipes.

Tama Matsuoka Wong and Mads Refslund.

When Tama came to us at PRINT to see if we would host the book’s launch in partnership with the NRDC (National Resource Defense Council) we were thrilled to collaborate. The NRDC is on the front lines of the fight for environmental justice in our current political climate and food waste is one of their key issues. As their website states, “forty percent of food in the United States is never eaten. But at the same time one in eight American’s struggles to get food on the table.” They are working through various strategies “with communities, businesses, and policy markers to support waste reduction, recover, and composting across the supply chain.”

Zero waste is already a focus of what we do in the PRINT kitchen. We save all veg scraps for stock, butcher whole animals in house, and compost all our food waste. However, we are always interested to learn how to expand our zero waste kitchen strategies. Reading the book and doing the prep for various recipes sparked some great new concepts, like using coffee grounds to infuse into cream for panna cotta or ice cream, shaving cabbage cores for salads, roasting cauliflower stems, and adding value to citrus peels by turning them into cocktail syrups or other infusions for the bar.

To give you a taste of the book’s recipes here was the evenings menu and some snapshots:

Chef preparing salmon carcass with day old bread and celery scrap pesto.

Scrap Soup (Roasted Potato Peels, Kombu and Miso Broth)
Roasted Cauliflower Stalks and leaves with Brie and Black Pepper
Falafel Made from Juice Pulp
Cabbage Cores with Horseradish Buttermilk Dressing
Lettuce Bottoms with Wilted Lettuce Cream Sauce
Fluke Ceviche with Parmesan Rind and Radish
Salmon Carcass with Day Old Bread and Celery Scrap Pesto
Beer Porridge with Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Spent Coffee Ground Panna Cotta
Cabbage Cores with Horseradish Buttermilk Dressing.

We hope you feel inspired to take on some scrap to savoring concepts into your own home. To further make an impact and decrease food waste:

  • Join the NRDC and help shape food policy on a national level
  • Compost  (you can bring scraps to your local greenmarket or community garden)
  • Volunteer with food rescue programs like City Harvest
  • To hear more about Scraps, Wilt + Weeds and the book’s author’s listen to these public radio interviews on Science Friday and Leonard Lopate.