Friday is generally informal team lunch day here at the office, and the chosen venue is Chinese food at least half the time.
Now, its a fact of modern food economics that at your average restaurant much of the cost of your bill springs from the cost of renting and staffing the restaurant rather than actually obtaining the food. Modern agriculture provides our country with such a ridiculous surplus of food that one of the easy ways for an establishment to make people feel better about paying $7-9 for a lunch entree (which is necessary in order to pay for the cooks, waitresses, busboys and square footage of the restaurant) is simply to provide 2-3x the amount of food that one person could possibly need. One lunch portion at any of the local Asian eateries amounts to more food than many people who actually live in rural Asia get in a day.
The solution that most of my coworkers gravitate towards is to leave aside the bowl of rice that comes with every mean, and which one is expected to mix with one's stir fry. Now, given the general disrepute of starch among the sedentary class these days, I understand the reasoning behind this, but wasting rice has always struck me as a particularly offensive form of excess since so many of the poorest in this world live almost exclusively off rice. It seems rather let-them-eat-cake-ish to leave one's rice to be thrown away by the busboy.
So here's my thought: Some conscientious eatery out to sprinkle around "give your rice away" placards on all their tables. Provide an explicit option to order your meal without rice (the price would be the same) and for each order without rice, donate $0.25 or $0.50 to some charity such as Food For the Poor which (at third world prices) can probably turn that in to 1-5lbs of rice for some poor family somewhere. Over by the door they could post a tally of the number of pounds of rice donated each month, which would probably amount to enough to feed a medium-sized village.
That place would certainly have my business, and my rice.
Learning Notes Week of March 20
3 hours ago