UNITED STATES─I know what you are thinking, this column has to be about romance and cooking. It is indeed about cooking, but not romance America. I’ve always wondered why is it when we cook; we tend to cook more food than we actually need to cook. Listen to me for a second before you go off the handle. Very rarely does food come in portion sizes that fit a single individual. It’s always for at least two, three or four people. Why is that?

Is it more difficult to package a single chicken breast, a burger, a pork chop, or smaller portions of carbs than what we have out there? The reason I have this gripe is I sometimes feel that I waste food because more is cooked than I need to cook. While I’ll be the first person to tell you I love leftovers (and I actually do), but after maybe 2 days I don’t want to eat that same item anymore. You get a bit of fatigue from having lasagna, spaghetti, chicken, pork chops, meat loaf or some other dishes several days in a row.

So I have started to utilize a familiar concept when it comes to purchasing meat: I go to the meat counter. Yes, I love fresh meat and fresh seafood. Especially seafood; you will NEVER see me purchase frozen seafood; it’s just not as fresh people. As for meat, this saves me from purchasing more than what I know I can eat, but at the same time, it allows me to save a bit of money as well. Why get a pound of ground chuck, when I can get a half-pound to craft the dish that I’m planning to make.

I always thought it was silly to purchase less than a pound of anything, until I realize I’m someone who hates to waste money. I hate it, like I seriously do, and when we look at the world around us with so many people struggling to make ends meet and so many Americans struggling to put meals on the table, we have to stop wasting food like it doesn’t matter.

Place ourselves in a predicament as to not knowing where our next meal might come from. That is not a good feeling to have at all, so we need to do more as a community to be conscious of our waste, especially when it comes to food America. Cook what you know is going to be eaten, don’t purchase more than what you need for the pantry, the refrigerator or the freezer.

Look, I totally get the entire notion of “Hey, it was on sale, so I wanted to load up on it.” That’s good for non-perishable things, but when you’re dealing with fruits, veggies, diary, meat, bread and seafood, all those things have expiration dates, so you never want to purchase more than what you have to. When most people cook it’s never for one person, it’s always for multiple people, but there are those occasions where you are indeed cooking only for yourself.

It happens when you least expect and if that is the case, you want to have enough to where if you wanted a second helping its available, but not where you have 6 or 7 additional helpings and you only plan to eat one. Why? Those leftovers go to waste, and with that food being thrown out, so is dollars from your wallet. So often we are cooking meals for two, but on rare occasions you might be cooking for yourself and you don’t need a pot of chili, you just need a bowl.