A taste for trash: City event teaches locals to serve scraps

A taste for trash: City event teaches locals to serve scraps
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

Call it junk food!

The city showed Brooklynites how to turn garbage into gourmet fare at an event in Greenpoint on Tuesday that was arguably the borough’s scrappiest culinary fair yet.

“I personally have had a very hard time getting my friends to even care about food waste,” said Windsor Terrace resident Tina Ye as she ate a cake made with flour from old bread. “They just don’t think it’s a problem to throw away half a carrot if it has a blemish on it.”

Attendees of the Department of Sanitation’s inaugural Food Waste Fair at the Brooklyn Expo Center browsed booths manned by recycling experts and watched chefs — who included Joel Gamoran, host of the television show “Scraps” — demonstrate how to craft culinary concoctions from reused remnants, including biscotti made with old coffee grounds.

The pros also taught people that banana peels are edible if cooked — they taste like salted caramel — and that all of an onion is usable, according to Ye.

“I learned you can use the root end of an onion, which I always threw away because it was in the ground and had dirt on it,” she said.

Red Hook-based yogurt company White Moustache promoted new ice pops made with whey, a liquid byproduct of curdling milk that businesses typically pay to have carted away because it will deplete oxygen from water sources if poured down a drain.

But the sustainably minded producer prefers to reuse it, according to an employee who equated tossing whey with dumping another perfectly good pantry item.

“We don’t like to throw away waste,” said White Moustache’s Jennifer Anderson. “You wouldn’t buy a dozen eggs and throw out the whites.”

And one local pol — who this paper found standing near a floral arrangement made with old wedding flowers — said that while he does not usually dine on scraps, he does try to compost, and is interested in cooking with food waste and other simple ways to help the environment.

“It accounts for a lot of our carbon footprint and we should do something about it. It’s very easy,” said Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint).

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill