Anchorage cafe feeding minds and stomachs but not the trash can
Feeding the mind and stomach but not the trash can, that's what one business is trying to do here in Anchorage.
Writer's block in Spenard reduces their waste, saving them money and food through its menu.
A study from Feeding America found that more than 72 billion pounds of food are wasted each year.
Vered Mares, one of the four owners of the bookstore and cafe, says in her kitchen they work to have more on the plates and less in the trash.
On any given day one can hear the rhythmic chopping of tomatoes, the sound of eggs frying in the pan and see Mares running around in the tiny, but busy kitchen.
When the owners opened the Writer's Block Bookstore and cafe a year ago they had one mission:
"Feed the body, feed the mind," said Mares. She notes while creating as little waste as possible.
"Just because you don't use a part of the food or vegetable to plate doesn't mean there isn't a place to use it other than the trashcan," said Mares. "There is always better use than the trashcan."
She says it takes more effort for her to carry all the trash out then it is finding ways to use the scraps.
For the group of home cooks, they say this was passed down from their families generation after generation.
"My mother was almost on the extreme end of not wasting things and I think that spills through how you view food," said Mares.
Her secret to saving so much food is only using so many ingredients.
"We use the same ingredients in 500 things which is why we don't have a walk-in cooler," said Mares.
Tomatoes that aren't eaten are reduced into soups. They use every part of the jalapeno in multiple recipes. Bread and cookies crumbs turn into bread pudding, croutons or pita chips.
If they can't be used for a meal they are boiled down into a broth.
Mares says almost everything has a second life. Even when something can't be used it has somewhere else to go other than the trash.
"When it's finally used up and there is not much left then I take it home and feed it to my chickens," said Dares.
The restaurant does not have a dumpster. They use three residential cans per week, but one will only see paper towels or eggshells in their trashcan.
Dares says if anyone needs help with a recipe or wants to learn more about how to get the most out of their veggies or produce, she is always open to questions because she wants to help people's minds and their stomachs by keeping food out the landfill.
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