Introduction: the Meal Without Plastic Challenge
Observing the quantity of food and beverage garbage on our streets and in our waterways has been a bit eye opening, so I decided to channel that anxiety into a creative challenge: make a meal with (little) or no plastic packaging.
It's harder than it sounds, trust me! Your grocery store is a sea of plastic in and of itself, including the produce aisle. While this might make sense in the meat/seafood section, where that thin plastic layer is all that stands between you and parasites or salmonella, your cauliflower and white onion is not quite so deadly, y'all. We as a society need to CALM DOWN.
We as a society need to CALM DOWN.
I'm super excited to share that a number of foodie gurus have accepted this challenge, and I can't wait to share their tasty, eco-friendly recipes with you! (As a reminder, food-grade plastic becomes degraded in the recycling process, and is mostly reused for other, lower quality uses. That means most food-related plastic items you pick up are brand new plastic items in our global eco-system, guys. And there are plastic fibers found in 94% of US tap water. Think about that when you grab a glass next.)
But what sort of wanna-be hippie would I be if I didn't take the challenge myself?! It wasn't easy, but I've got my first delicious, 100% plastic packaging free recipe for Stuffed Bell Peppers for you in the link below!
The first obstacle? I'm not a chef.
At all. Not in the slightest.
The first obstacle? I'm not a chef. At all. I love food, but I'm super neurotic about cooking meat, I don't know how to use a grill, and I set a muffin on fire in a microwave as a teenager on accident.
Second obstacle? Finding ingredients packaged without plastic. It's so incredibly pervasive in our culture. I for sure got some weird looks loading my cart up with produce not swaddled in individual plastic bags. THAT'S RIGHT, I'VE GONE ROGUE! I LET MY PEPPERS TOUCH MY ONIONS IN MY GROCERY CART. MADNESS.
I discovered that virtually every brand of olive oil - even if it's a glass bottle with a foil lid - contains a plastic piece designed to keep you from over pouring.
And then, once I thought I had nailed everything down, I discovered that virtually every brand of olive oil - even if it's a glass bottle with a foil lid - contains a plastic piece designed to keep you from over pouring. So excuse the olive oil in the opening shot; it didn't actually make the cut. Don't get me wrong: any reduction of plastic packaging in a recipe is a HUGE SUCCESS and the point of this challenge, but I really wanted to prove it could be done for my first recipe. Even then, it was only 100% plastic-free with the help of a friend's herb garden.
Speaking of which, to anyone considering taking the challenge: feel free to get creative! How you achieve a plastic-free meal is up to you, just make it a good story if you're going to get arrested.
Rosie over at A Green and Rosie Life did a post on her adventure grocery shopping to avoid plastic, and that's a great window into a greener mindset! Check it out!
And finally, it would be plagiarism to pretend I didn't modify a recipe I've been meaning to try off Epicurious for a minute now. But scroll down for the link for both my first Meal Without Plastic Challenge (and here's the link to the unmodified Epicurious recipe)!