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New food website launched devoted exclusively to “Expendable Edibles”.
Sunday, 26th December 2004
Source : ExpendableEdibles.com
Food experts, Nancy Gershman and Marlene Samuels have created the first known repository of recipes and treatments for “expendable edibles,” six categories of nutritious, delicious foods largely untapped for their gourmet potential except by restaurant chefs and culinary schools.

Foodies who love brilliant, gourmet rescues of “perfectly good food” will rejoice today at the launching of www.ExpendableEdibles.com. The brain-child of home chefs, Nancy Gershman and Marlene Samuels, expendable edibles are nutritious, delicious foods that in the absence of good ideas, all too frequently are destined for the disposal. They fall into six categories:
  • Stems, Skins and Stalks – fresh trimmings normally headed for the disposal
  • Past-Peak – bruised, overripe or dehydrated produce or stale breadstuffs
  • Once-Cooked – previously prepared foods with a window of only 3-4 days
  • Negligible Quantities – miniscule amounts of partially cooked/consumed foods
  • Nearly Expired – preserved foods, open and refrigerated, but with an end date
  • Ill-Fated Creations – foods damaged or aesthetically-challenged by wear and tear
Observing the Larousse Gastronomique’s “use it or lose it” philosophy, the site includes over 50 recipes and treatments, ranging from Jarred Olive Tapenade to Impressionable Avocado Vichysoisse. A precise window of opportunity is catalogued for each expendable edible. “Some foods, like an overripe mango or sushi salmon,” says Samuels, “demand your immediate attention. Others, like Chinese take-out rice, can take a number. And pretty much anything in brine” she adds, “will die sometime in our lifetime.” Other site features include a cross-referencing recipe index organized by ingredient (cooked and raw, from Anchovies to Watermelon); levels of complexity (from “Level 1 = your 8 year old can do it” to “Level 3 =extra steps for a showstopper”); plus insider tips on cooking, cookware and presentation.

All of the recipes and treatments compiled by Gershman and Samuels are drawn from their own experimentation, as well as from interviews with celebrated Chicago chefs, such as Todd Stein of mk and Will Eudy, Executive Chef of Shaw’s Crab House. “Once they saw how much we respected their secret work,” says Gershman, “it was like a confessional. Out it poured.” Content is also anticipated to grow based on write-ins from visitors eager to share family recipes or query us with “what do you do with ….?” questions pertaining to expendable edibles.

Perhaps the most appealing part of the content is the Level 1 flexible, forgiving recipes/treatments. With interchangeable ingredients and a touchy-feely approach towards quantity, intros encourage cooks to see what’s on hand, and “get unglued from the recipe card.” Not unlike what happens in Mom’s kitchen.

In the next iteration, www.ExpendableEdibles.com will include more recipes, treatments and expert advice from world class chefs across the nation and write-ins from visitors. In the meantime, the site serves as a beacon to a grassroots movement that’s lived far too long underground.
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