Inspirational Midnight Bite

Ever heard of social surplus? I did. But only in economic terms, where it refers to the oversupply of products or services, that are not consumed, but instead stored, held in reserve, traded, reinvested or.. wasted. This last category is adopted by Nils Roemen – a “hyper optimist”, as he calls himself – who strives to redistribute as much social surplus as possible, because he believes that there’s enough to meet our needs, it’s just – among other things – a matter of redistribution.

One way to do that is to organize a Country Upgrade. Yes, an Upgrade. Nils initiated 7 days of inspiration (watch an animated movie here), a week wherein, all across The Netherlands, social surplus is made available, for free. This surplus is not monetary, but could be any stuff, skills or services. Whatever is left over, can be missed, and is valued otherwise, elsewhere. This led to all types of autonomous initiatives across the country.

My personal fave initiative was the Nightly Restaurant in Amsterdam, also supported by Dutch food-trendwatcher Marjan Ippel, where a number of professional chefs presented tasty bite-size foodies, made from their restaurant’s leftovers. But, it has to be said that some dishes did look way too good to be made out of leftovers – which was, for the sake of taste, not a problem. My taste-buds were impressed.

The metaphorical take-away of the night was of course how to be creative with your excess food. Personally, I realized that the root veggie chips I’ve first laid my hands on during a summer-holiday in London in 2007, are actually a great solution to any excess veggies that didn’t make it into your previous night’s dinner. Meanwhile, the (in)famous Martha Stewart still manages to surprise me with her straightforward recipes. So, give her take on Root Vegetable Chips a try (I would do without the weirdly looking Wondra flour), and fry yourself the perfect midnight bite!

2 thoughts on “Inspirational Midnight Bite

  1. My answer to your tweet and the alternatives mentioned in your post…
    – restaurant managers and cooks should be able to manage their stocks and avoid waste as much as possible. You’re right, some of the leftovers seen at NachtRestaurant looked far too good to be leftovers.
    – for the food that stores and restaurants are not ‘allowed’ to re-use or do not want to use, I thought about this nice initiative in France. ANDES is a network of social grocery stores (epiceries solidaires in French), that fight for the right to food. They salvage leftovers/waste from a network of markets and supermarkets, then they sell them at a low price to people in need. Here is the link to their website (also available in English) http://www.epiceries-solidaires.org/
    – at home, as consumer-actors, we should be responsible enough to not over consume and creative enough to find different ways to use the same ingredient or to extend the life-cycle of a product.
    What do you think?

  2. I agree. Of course, restaurants offer – in essence – a product-service, whereby service is the added value. A good cook is a cook that wastes the minimum amount of food. The only thing, upstream in the chain, that I can think of is the pre-ordering of food, or offering exclusively season-based fixed menus. But customer remains king.
    The ANDES initiative looks promising, if restaurants want to be associated with a social impact – it can be part of the solution. Lastly, we have our responsibility too. I wonder where our fetishism with ‘fresh’ produce comes from – doesn’t a lot of food’s taste increase with time? We don’t seem to wait for an avocado to ripen until perfect for guacamole, or for a banana to turn a little brown.. Sometimes I feel as if we lost our senses. Or I lost mine.

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