Imperfect Carrots

Being a Food Hero Sometimes Means Choosing Ugly Produce

Many Americans don’t give their grocery shopping another thought, but more and more are paying closer attention to what they are buying, where it came from, and what exactly is in it. This is especially true for those of us at Bon Appétit.

My daughters think tortilla masks go great with Dad’s World Famous Chili

My daughters think tortilla masks go great with Dad’s World Famous Chili

Not long ago, we had a very cold weekend in Colorado, and I went to the grocery store for provisions. (In my household, winter and cold weather mean chili! My 8-year-old daughter calls it Dad’s World Famous Chili.)

The first stop was produce, and I absentmindedly grabbed a yellow onion and garlic. Next, I went for the peppers. As my eyes scanned over them, I found myself looking for the most perfect ones — and scolded myself. I had a vision in my mind, a picture I’d seen before, of a huge pile of rotting, wasted food that had once been the not-so-perfect produce that had been rejected and discarded.

For some reason, the phrase “pick the ugly one” popped into my head. So, I began searching for imperfect peppers and quickly found a few that I knew most people would shun but that would be just fine for my needs. Really, we are talking about a couple of bruises that were smaller than dimes, but I knew that those would be the ones to be rejected and rejected again until they would be thrown out.

I don’t consider myself a hero, but I am proud to have saved those peppers! They seamlessly became part of a wonderful batch of Dad’s World Famous Chili and my entire family enjoyed them. Of course, no one complained that the peppers tasted funny, and no one could see what they looked like once they were chili.

I’m sharing this so that you might be moved to be a “food hero” too. Think twice the next time you’re picking out your groceries, and pick the ugly one. Even if every person who reads this adopts my idea, it won’t solve the problem of wasted food in our country, but it will make a difference — a difference that Bon Appétit as a company believes is worth making.

Submitted by Derek Whitney, General Manager, Oracle – Broomfield, Broomfield, CO