Waste Free cooking for a crowd

Wednesday 7th of November 2012

POSTED BY: Rebecca Prince-Ruiz (WMRC Earth Carers Coordinator)



Last weekend I headed down south with family and friends to compete in an adventure race so I needed to organise some delicious and sustaining food for the crew. With 9 adults and 4 kids to feed the key, as always, was to be organised in advance. I find that when I do my food shopping at the last minute or need to go to the supermarket I end up with lots of packaging.  


I decided to keep it simple and make sure there were plenty of carbohydrates for the hungry athletes so pasta was the obvious choice, and I could make up the sauce (bolognaise and vegetarian version) the night before, and of course serve with garlic bread. For breakfast, muesli, yoghurt, bread and homemade jam and for snacks fruit and our favourite cowboy cookies.


Several days before I stopped at Kakulas Sisters on my way home from work, my favourite dry goods bulk store. From there I purchased parmesan cheese in paper as well as some waxed cheese for snacks (I have been putting the wax in my compost which works fine). I also bought nuts, seeds, dried fruit, oats, rice puffs, coconut, flour, sugar and delicious belgian chocolate chips for the muesli and cookies. It all went into brown paper bags and my homemade netting bags. The day before I bought mince from the butcher (took my own container), butter in paper, milk in a glass bottle, pasta in cardboard boxes, 2 large tins tomatoes (all out of preserved tomatoes), a whole watermelon, veges and picked herbs from the garden.  I bought baguettes for garlic bread from a bakery down south and put straight into my calico bag.


The night before I made the pasta sauces, muesli (just put it all in a jar and shook it up), yoghurt, and Moosewood's cowboy cookies. As I knew I had a busy few weeks ahead I baked an extra batch of cookies and an enormous pot of pasta sauce so had 3 extra meals to go in the freezer. I find cooking in bulk is another great way to avoid food waste.

Enjoying the meal & what was left

By cooking in advance all that was needed on the night was to heat up the sauce, cook the pasta and mix up butter, garlic and parsley to go in the garlic bread.

At the end of the cooking and eating there was nothing to go in the rubbish bin. Any vege scraps, torn paper bags and cheese and butter wrappings were composted. The milk bottles go back to the dairy to be washed and reused, which left one piece of alfoil and the 2 tins and pasta boxes went inot the recycling. Not a bad effort for 13 people....and we did all make the finish line (I'm sure the food helped)!

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