Category Archives: Fat Saturday

Saturdays are reserved exclusively for food related features, because we’re all people and we all eat food. Find out what to eat, what not to eat, and why you should or should not be eating it. How to cook it. Where to get it. Why you need it. Right here on E.Y.

Savor the Taste of Zero Waste

Having grown up in the U.S., I have established a clear and rigid understanding that any food I purchase must be pre-portioned and each portion individually enclosed in some kind of packaging or wrapper or container, that ultimately I must throw away, and that is essential to the foods’ preservation and, by extension, my survival. If I want cereal, I must purchase a box of cereal (which is recyclable) with a plastic bag of cereal inside it (not recyclable). And even though I only want a bowl or two, I have to buy the box. I probably won’t finish it, and it will expire. I might throw more than half of it away.

Humans today waste in the same manner we breathe in. We inhale oxygen because we need it to survive, and we replace each breath with CO2. We consume food and other products because we need them to survive, and we replace them all with waste. We consider the waste we create (and the carbon dioxide) an unfortunate side effect of an unconscious, involuntary, life-sustaining function — (…breathing, and) Consumption — our Wonder bread and butter.

It never occurred to me until recently that waste-free consumption could exist. What would a zero-waste world even look like? I’m glad you asked. For starters, there wouldn’t be islands made of garbage that are twice the size of Texas floating in our oceans. The ground you walk on might not be carpeted with litter, for a change. A zero-waste world would simply be more healthy, clean and beautiful.

But what the fuck would a zero-waste grocery store look like?

Good question. Don’t worry, we’ll show you, but before you scroll down and find out, try to imagine… How? How could products be contained and displayed without packaging? How would the shopper transport them? How would the cashier ring them up? They need to scan the barcode, which is on the label, which is on the packaging, which doesn’t exist. So how do they do it?

A grocery store in Germany — Original Unverpackt — has stepped up to the plate to show us how it’s done. Instead of aisles divided by towering walls of shelves stocked with boxes, cans and bottles, O.U. simply displays its fresh produce in crates and stores pasta, grain, cereal, beverages, etcetera in dispensers. The shopper comes prepared with their own reusable bags, bottles, jars and containers and fills them with any desired quantity — as much or little as they please. Like this:

Image source: http://original-unverpackt.de/supermarkt/
Image source: http://original-unverpackt.de/supermarkt/

Follow this revolutionary grocer on Instagram @originalunverpackt for regular reminders of what a waste-free life would look like:

Image Source: https://instagram.com/originalunverpackt/
Just wait until you get your hands on some coffee beans that are green in more ways than one. Image source: https://instagram.com/originalunverpackt/
Consumers, consider this our long-overdue I.O.U to planet earth. These girls O.U. ...Do you? Image Source: https://instagram.com/originalunverpackt/
Consider this our long-overdue I.O.U to planet earth. These girls O.U. …Do you? Image source: https://instagram.com/originalunverpackt/
Waste-free cheese? Yes, please! Image Source: https://instagram.com/originalunverpackt/
The cheese stands alone, indeed. Image source: https://instagram.com/originalunverpackt/

If you have to see it to believe it, there it is.

So ask yourself, if this were available to you, would you take advantage? If Original Unverpackt opened a location close to you, would you shop there? How would you shop there? What would you need to do to become a waste-free consumer? Ironically, it turns out the first step to becoming a package-free consumer is purchasing your packaging. Reusable, of course. Including:

  • Jars: An ungodly amount of jars of all shapes and sizes that are durable, sealable and easy to clean. Use them to contain items like sugar, flour, pasta, rice, cereal, jelly, coffee beans, tea leaves, spices, etcetera.
  • Reusable Shopping Bags: To carry your groceries.
  • Reusable Produce Bags: To contain your produce.
  • Bottles: Durable, and easy to refill. Maybe a nice set of jugs, if that’s what you’re into.

Try adopting some of these zero-waste customs into your daily practice. Our world needs zero-waste, or as close to zero-waste as we can give her. So be conscious of the waste that you contribute. Reduce it when and where you can. Original Unverpackt makes zero-waste look easy. Cute, even. Germany demanded it; Original Unverpackt supplied it. If we could generate that same demand locally, and ultimately globally, just think how much waste we could eliminate.

The Butcher

Fixin’ for some fiction? You’re in for a (trick or) treat.

Also, quick question… How do you like your meat?

Short Story, Written by Dakota Snow

THE BUTCHER

Three racks are waiting in the walk-in when I arrive this morning. It’s going to be a busy day. The holidays are coming, and everybody wants a slab of meat to serve with Christmas dinner.

Most butchers receive their stiffs already skinned, but I order mine whole. I like to know exactly what I’m getting. It’s more work, but it’s worth it because customers always have specific preferences about their meat, just like their women—white meat, dark meat, leaner, fatter, older, younger, muscular, more tender, a particular ethnicity, perhaps.

I unwrap the first cadaver. It’s an older woman, maybe fifty. Divorcée. Oriental, very pale. Her skin is smooth and hairless, almost porcelain. Her hair is black, streaked with silver. Soft. Exquisite. It will be a shame to shave. Perhaps I’ll have it made into a wig.

I lift the body off the cart and lay it on the chopping block. I drain the fluids and remove the skin. The whole process has become such a routine operation it hardly requires any conscious effort anymore. In an hour’s time, the body is displayed, unrecognizable, neatly arranged inside the case. A tender, lean selection. Sure to sell. Except the ribs, which look a little pitiful.

I save the bones and slops for later. My first priority is stocking the case. The flesh is cut fresh every morning. Once I finish stripping all three bodies, leftovers are processed into pet food. As a butcher, efficiency is the art of my trade. Nothing goes to waste.

I clean the block and change my gloves before retrieving the next body. This one is young and muscular. Dark skin. African-American. Wiry hair. Late twenties, I would guess. Very athletic. Tougher meat. Thick arms and thighs. Tight abdomen. I prefer less muscle, personally—it’s too chewy.

I lift the body up and haul it to the block. This one is heavier and taller than the first. Most butchers purvey consistency, but I prefer to offer a variety. Each delivery is a surprise. Although, certain qualities are more profitable. White meat sells for more per pound than dark meat, even though it’s all the same under the skin. Young meat also sells for more than older meat. A raw vegan diet adds value. Grass fed women always sell for more. These details are included in the invoice with each delivery. The names are, by law, excluded.

The first two stiffs should sell for about the same. The first is white meat, vegetarian, but also significantly more mature. The second one is dark but young, and standard diet. The funny part is, at the end of the day, most of the customers would never know the difference. Age and diet are detectable in taste to some degree, but ethnic preferences are purely placebo. Men like to eat the same meat they lust after. The sickest part is when they send their wives to buy the groceries, and the wives are standing there describing the type of meat their husband wants, reciting a list of their own physical attributes, knowing their wedding ring is the only thing keeping them in the kitchen, making dinner, instead of on the dinner plates.

I clean the block once more and prep the cutting station for the final body. I unwrap the last cadaver. I recognize her instantly. It’s Olivia. My ex. Her eyes are shut. Her hair is long. Her lips are purple, almost blue. Her skin is cold and gray instead of golden brown, like I remember. We lived together just a couple years ago. She would have been thirty-two this year.

Her body is as I remember it, but lifeless. I remember laying next to her in bed. The warmth and softness of her skin. Her arms and legs all wrapped around me in the morning. Us tangled together in the sheets. The salt of her sweat when we were finished. The scent of her hair.

I lean in to smell her neck, but I smell nothing. She is cold and sterile. Not herself. I gently slide her eyelids open. She stares through me. Her gaze is frozen. Unfocused. I search her eyes for any sign of recognition, but she doesn’t see me. How could she? She’s dead.

“Olivia,” I whisper. My voice sounds strange against the silence. The absence of her answer rings in my ears. I lift her lifeless body, her familiar shape now hanging limply in my arms. I hold her there, imagining the wedding day we never had, remembering the woman who could have been my wife. That wedding would have saved her life.

Ever since Congress declared a state of emergency on all fronts a few years back— overpopulation, overconsumption, overuse of precious resources, excessive waste, etcetera—numerous solutions were proposed, each remedy more drastic than the last. Conditions were critical, and each proposal was accordingly extreme. Ultimately, it was decided that too many resources were being wasted raising enough livestock to accommodate our growing appetites, and the number of people inhabiting the planet was too immense for it to support. The answer was obvious.

Women are valued highly in our society. We depend on them to have our babies and raise our children. They provide pleasure for their husbands, and care for their daughters and sons, while their husbands are working. Women who don’t marry, however, are equally essential. We depend on them for food. Since animals are no longer available to eat, unmarried women are our meat.

Women are kept alive as long as they hold marital value, and harvested when they become expendable. Women have until their “prime” to wed, and if they don’t, they’re dead. It’s extreme, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I lay Olivia down on the block. Her arms fall limply at her sides. I trace the familiar shape of her body with my fingers. I regard her naked form in front of me, once more. I close her eyes and grab my knife. It’s time to get to work.