First thing this morning, seeking to identify ingredients which’d contribute to this evenings culinary masterpiece, I undertook an impulsive audit of refrigerator items. Among these comestibles were half a bottle of coke, a half bottle of Pinot Grigio, three-quarters of a lemon, along two cheeses that’d seen better days….. Although, I suspect those better days probably weren’t in 2021.

On the lower shelf of my fridge, adjacent to half a tray of mushrooms, a dozen Piccoli tomatoes, two garlic bulbs, a bag of shallots and a pint carton of out of date milk, a jar of green pesto caught my eye. This glass container seemingly destined to become the latest victim of being utilised once, its remnants refrigerated and eventually binned when six months past use by date.

My infrequent addition of pesto as a pasta dish ingredient rendering the Italian sauce an underused and oft wasted purchase. I suppose this indifference at using the basil leaf, garlic and parmesan cheese paste and olive oil mix raises a question of why the chuffing hell I habitually buy it…. Especially when taking into account I don’t even add pesto to my pesto chicken recipe!

An inquiry I’m unable to answer with a response other than on occasion, but not often, yours truly enjoys pesto mixed with cooked penne. I realise this isn’t the most riveting of blog topics, and the cost of a small jar of pesto isn’t gonna break Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, however I wanted to raise it from a food waste perspective.

The throwing of perfectly good food, or ingredients, has become a big bug bear of GJ Strachan. A mantra which’s seen me significantly reduce my impulse purchases when food store in situ; along with a strategy of undertaking the weekly shop after lunchtime.

Its not a good idea for me to procure comestibles prior to lunch, when feeling peckish. A state where I oft purchase, with misguided notions I’m capable of consuming as lunch, four sausage rolls, a Cornish pasty, a selection of cooked hams/cheeses, three bread cakes, a Pot Noodle, two bags of crisps and a snickers bar. Predominantly perishable fodder, some of which will doubtless be eventually despatched into a refuse truck, not my stomach.

As a kid, my siblings and me paid little mind to our mum’s protestations that kid’s in Africa would love any meal we’d not completed. Prior to Live Aid and Bob Geldof’s raising off the profile of Ethiopia’s starving in the early 1980’s, we knew little of the scale of lifestyle differences.

This childhood indifference not borne from any lack of humanity, which I’d like to think without intended hubris my brother Ian, sister Helen and I have in spades. Of course, we knew from news bulletins mum’s words bore some basis in fact, however the chasm in lifestyles between the two continents wasn’t really apparent to me until Geldof and a bunch of musicians educated yours truly to the contrary.

A selection of performers dressed like “scruffy bleeders” (as the matriarch was prone to posit) pricking our consciences through conduits of music and video. Witnessing a deeply moving VT of starving Ethiopan kids to a backdrop soundscape of The Cars melancholic refrain ‘Drive’, in between 1985 Live Aid acts, still indelibly etched on my mind 35 years later.

That 3-4 minute video, along with my dad’s proffering to his whiny and hormonal teenage son (me not Ian) he should think himself lucky to be born in this country, two major life lessons I took from my teens/early 20’s.

Anyhow, talking of being peckish, yours truly needs to procure a tin of tuna fish from the local food store. One of the ingredients, including the pesto I’m resolved not to waste, that’ll make up this evening’s pasta salad supper.

Incidentally, would anyone like (gratis) four sausage rolls, a Cornish pasty, a selection of cooked hams/cheeses, three bread cakes, a Pot Noodle, two bags of crisps and a snickers bar?