Six years ago I spent three months in Ireland and stayed with a lovely family in Limerick for a few weeks. During this time I did not only fall in love with Irish soda bread and tried bread and butter pudding for the first time, I also made “Knödel”, a traditional German dish using leftover bread. “Every country with a bread-making tradition has their own unique way of using up leftover bread”, my host mum Deirdre noticed. I totally agree. But for some reason leftover bread does not seem to be part of our diet anymore.
In most western countries bread is the or at least one of the most thrown-away food (see here for example) – although there is so much you can do with leftover bread – French toast, breadcrumbs, croutons and the above-mentioned bread and butter pudding or German dumplings. I can only guess that one of the reasons people don’t use leftover bread is time. So my following recipe is dedicated to all those who have little of that – and my wise Irish host mum who knew so much about bread. So that none of us ever has to throw out bread anymore – plus the recipe is of course plastic-free.
Breakfast tomato bread
a slice of old bread
a medium-sized tomato (or two small tomatos)
a tsp of olive oil
green pesto (optional)
a clove of garlic
Mix olive oil and pesto (or just use olive oil). Brush the bread with the olive oil mix and rub the bread with garlic. Chop the tomato in small slices and put it on top. Bake in the oven for about 5-10 minutes and add some fresh basil or other herbs – so easy and good!
By the way, if you are looking for some inspiration: Love Food Hate Waste and Zu gut für die Tonne are great resources.
Why we should all love “Culinary Misfits”
Can you remember the last time you entered a supermarket and bought an oddly shaped potato or a carrot that didn’t look perfectly straight? I can’t. For a long time I did most of my shopping at the supermarket next door – just because I was a little lazy. Since I became more aware of environmental issues, it really bothered me that fruits and vegetables always looked so artificial and perfect. I asked myself: What happens to the odd ones out? What happens to non-perfect-looking fruits and vegetables?
I guess we all know the answer: They get thrown out. No matter how much you standardize and industrialize the process of food production, you will still end up with “products” that don’t match the criteria and end up in the bin. The Berlin-based initiative “CulinARy MiSfiTS” draws attention to this problem. Their conviction: Fruits and veggies do not have to look perfect to be perfectly healthy and delicious. I totally agree.
All shapes are beautiful
So while “Culinary Misfits” try everything to convince supermarkets to sell “odd produce” and to educate people about food and cooking, we can all do our bit next time we go shopping: Choose a place that sells all shapes fruits and vegetables and choose a product that does not look perfect. I bet you can’t taste the difference!
Btw: You can even do that at your local supermarket: Buy a banana that looks a little bit too ripe, choose an apple with a brown spot, take a potato with a tiny imperfection. What helped me overcome the all to natural feeling of going for the best was the following thought: If I don’t buy it, the chances are it gets thrown out.