‘Pooling parties’: the new way to eat up leftovers
Been spending too much time umming and ahhing over the contents of your freezer recently? Feeling uninspired by all that carefully cooked and stored food? Don’t let leftovers languish through lack of inspiration. Recruit some foodie friends and try out this money-saving and sociable idea…
>> Host a leftovers ‘pooling party’
Just like the contents of friends’ wardrobes, other folks’ leftovers are vastly more interesting than our own. If you’re not relishing the prospect of a glut of things that need eating up, why not invite some pals to bring their leftovers around to add a few fresh flavours to the mix?
Just like the contents of friends’ wardrobes, other folks’ leftovers are vastly more interesting than our own
1) Choose your invitees with care
With guests handing round their best half-eaten foodstuffs, this won’t exactly be an elegant affair. Base your selection on who’s mostly likely to enjoy chipping in and chowing down the most. Perhaps Mr Picky-Eater shouldn’t be top of your invite list; go with Ms Will-Try-Anything instead!
2) Let your guests know what to bring
Once you’ve worked out who’s up for a relaxed ‘pot luck’ style meal, extend a welcome to any tasty leftovers that can safely be reheated, including frozen home-cooked foods, restaurant doggy bags, batch cooked bakes or eyes-too-big-for-your-stomach takeaway boxes. Newly made dishes created from leftover ingredients also meet the criteria.A couple of important points:
>> FOOD SAFETY: Ask everyone to double check that the leftover food is within its ‘Use By’ date and has been stored according to food safety guidelines. You’re here to have fun whittling down that food waste, not send everyone home with dicky tummies!
>> ALLERGIES, FOOD INTOLERANCES AND DIETARY PREFERENCES: Similarly, check beforehand with your invitees whether they have any ‘do nots’ food-wise. If yes, one way to make the evening go smoothly for all concerned is to put relevant signs on the dishes to indicate their ingredients or which are ‘free from’. Bear in mind that with severe allergies, you may have to ban a specific ingredient, such as nuts, from the pooling party.
3) No leftovers? No problem!
I know, I know! Apparently it’s possible to have a fridge and freezer that’s not full of leftover bits and bobs! If someone’s not a cook or sticks to some kind of super-efficient menu plan, they can still join the fun. Tell the guest to download the wonderful Karma and Too Good To Go food waste prevention apps, and let them know that if they log in on the day of your leftover pooling party, then they can pick up perfectly lovely uneaten food at 50%-80% off the going rate from nearby coffee shops, restaurants and bakeries. Posh leftovers for your party!
4) Keep to zero waste if you can
Put out real plates, glasses and cutlery for your guests. No throwaways! After eating your fill, anything still uneaten can go back home with the bringer, be swapped for other treats, be left with the host for future meals. If food safety is a factor with certain items, they always have a home in your food waste recycling collection caddy (if you have one). Wash, squash and recycle any disposable food and drinks packaging; send home any reusable containers and bags.
5) Combine your leftover pooling with other swapping ideas
Now you’ve done the work to set up this event with like-minded people, take the opportunity to cut even more waste! Ask everyone to bring along three items for swapping: clothing or books that they’re finished with, leftover hobby and craft paraphernalia, unwanted gifts, useful household items. Anything unclaimed at the end of the night can be packed off to the charity shop.
That’s it! We hope you enjoy bonding with friends over well-developed flavours, new use-it-up recipes and general zero waste geniality. Regular leftover pooling parties could become your new family or friend group tradition!