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Building people's appreciation and connection with the meal to reduce the food waste.

Creating a connection between the cook/food preparer and the food receiver (people eating) can harness this appreciation.

Photo of Wen Hsia Chang
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The food & love house party was for a beloved colleague of mine to celebrate his new opportunity. I volunteered to prepare all the food from scratch and documented the processes from planning, shopping, preparing, presenting and cleaning up or breaking down the event. I also included the monitoring food waste, the experience of other colleagues and friends as well as handling the leftovers at the end of the event for to go items.

Here are my observations and conversations before, during and after the food & love house party:

Goal: Reconstructing people’s perception with their MEAL by generating people’s appreciation with food through the meal creation process.

  • It’s easier to eat it than making it. It’s hard to show the person/people how much effort you put in to make the food taste/smell/look good if the person doesn’t cook. How might we involve or demonstrate part of the meal creation process to show the finesse of making the meal and the care put into it?
  • How might we tell people a story of the recipe in order to create people’s appreciation for the food? For example, I used my grandmother’s recipe for the meatballs at the party, which was her top seller in her restaurant in south of Taiwan. I brought you an inside peak into Taiwan’s food culture through the meatballs.

Goal: Understanding what your audience/guests want.

  • How might we spend more time to plan/ask/listen to each party guest’s need and preference of food before purchasing large amounts of food? How might we plan a meal most people would enjoy?
  • How the host (my beloved colleague) feels about the food? What the colleagues and friends feel about the meals knowing that the food was prepared by someone they knew?
  • Creating something your guests like will reduce the food waste dramatically. I also found out when the guests like the food so much that they eat so much they can’t eat anymore they tend to want to share it or eat it again later. This leads them to leaving with leftovers.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Hungry for your ideas and participation to create people's appreciation for food in order to reduce the food waste.

Tell us about your work experience:

I’m supporting myself as an Industrial designer, and living as a maker and entrepreneur.

This post emerged from:

  • An Individual

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Photo of Corey Bustamante

Hi Wen!

Reading your post, I found myself thinking about how popular food channels are and how much so many people LOVE to watch how food is prepared, even when they'll never eat what's on the screen! I'm personally not that much of a cook, and when the waiter/waitress tells me how a meal was prepared, I find that I don't really understand most of what they're saying. However, when I watch a show like chopped I can listen to them talk about what they're doing to the food and simultaneously SEE them do it. I actually feel like I learn something while I'm also salivating. How can we more visually show people the effort put into their meal? Not just for appreciation, but for actual enjoyment, just like watching an episode of Chopped!

I also thought about  your leftover point. I personally love leftovers, to the extent that I'll purposefully stop myself from eating if I know I'd only finish 3/4ths of the meal at the table and would rather eat half now and half later. I also realize some things lend themselves better to leftovers than others. How can we more intentionally prepare food in such a way that they can not only be easily packaged as leftovers, but maybe even make people WANT to save some for leftovers? That would have the added benefit of people stretching food AND wasting less.

Just thinking out loud!

Photo of Wen Hsia Chang

Hi!! 

It's really interesting point about being visual to showcase how the food is being made and served to you. It could be very educational, like you said you felt you learned something from the Chopped show. Some of the restaurants here have done it in a really compelling way (in your word is to create the enjoyment). I wonder: does it help to reduce the food waste by seeing how the meal is made? It will be interesting to find out more by visiting and having a conversation with the managers or business owners in some of the restaurants here in SF. (For example: Din Tai Fung in San Jose, SF and Boudin Bakery & Cafe at Fisherman's Wharf, both places you can see the chef handling the flower, dough, and techniques applying in the food. )

The hypothesis is: People will be more conscious and waste less food by learning the process of creation of the meal they are enjoying.

Your thought on leftovers is interesting. I wonder how other people handle their leftovers? Sometimes I like to use leftovers to create another meal as well. Taking leftover curry for instance, you can dilute the curry with some water and put some noodle and vegetable into it. It could become another dish that you could enjoy instead of wasting it.

I'm really appreciate your response to my article.
Looking forward to continue our conversation!