A family in Uganda could be sitting down to a plate of Australian depression-era rissoles for dinner tonight, courtesy of Sydney’s Holroyd Council.
More than 60,000 people have downloaded the western Sydney council’s free cooking phone app, Love Your Leftovers, since it was launched in 2013, including people from countries as far flung as Uganda, China, Canada, Jordan, the UK and Norway.
The app is stuffed full of recipes ideally suited to using up leftovers, like chicken fried rice, bubble and squeak, rice custard or chicken curry. It also gives information on how to store fresh food and leftover ingredients so that they keep longer.
Food waste is a serious issue and a serious burden on councils that deal with it. NSW residents throw away more than $2.5 billion worth of edible food a year, which amounts to a horrific 800,000 tonnes of dumped food and takes up one-third of the space in household garbage bins.
The Love Your Leftovers app is a light-hearted response to this serious issue and it grew out of a recipe book of the same name produced by the western Sydney Council in 2011 after the council decided to attack food waste and contact locals to ask them for imaginative recipes using leftovers.
They made a particular effort to find older residents who might remember recipes handed down by their parents or grandparents from the Depression era, where people were forced to use every scrap of food wisely and their leftovers creatively. Residents were also asked for tips on preserving food.
Carmen Bennett, a Waste Education Officer at Holroyd Council, said the app had brought the cookbook to life and made it much more interactive.
“The app is a digital version of the cookbook. It allows people to look at the recipes and to put in your leftover ingredients [and search] or put in a category, like cakes or savoury. It has photos of the recipes and it encourages people to submit their own recipes,” Ms Bennett said.
Brooke Littman, also a Waste Education Officer at the council, said the app targeted a different audience that may not be aware of the cookbook: 18 to 24-year-olds, young families and wealthy households.
Ms Littman has been trying out some of the recipes herself.
“I’ve got a few favourites. I cook the pastizzi triangles and put them in the oven. The kids really like those, that’s probably their favourite, but even just making garlic bread with a bit of garlic butter.”
The app is currently available for iPhones and iPads but the council hopes to secure funding to develop it for Android phones in the future and to publicise more widely.
The app and the recipe book were funded under the NSW Environmental Protection Agency’s Love Food Hate Waste program and has been named by City of Sydney’s Green Villages website as one of its top 10 green apps.
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