How Jacques Pépin Reduces Food Waste

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Most celebrity chefs are best known for their avant-garde and innovative approaches to food. But culinary all-star Jacques Pépin may just be best known for his simplicity. Well, that and 30 cookbooks, a couple dozen James Beard awards, and having Julia Child as a close friend, but simplicity's included in there somewhere (via Jacques Pépin).

Pépin has written several cookbooks on cooking simply and on ways to reduce waste. In fact, his first cookbook ever was co-authored with Helen McCully and gives readers more than 180 different ways to use up the remaining egg whites or yolks from a recipe.

In several interviews, Pépin has talked about how food conservation was drilled into him while growing up near Lyons, France, during World War II. He has praised his father, who would never toss out old bread, and his mother, who would make do preparing meals out of cubed beef lung, onions, and the scrapings left behind in wine barrels.

Pépin makes the most out of every ingredient

Pépin has continued to pass on this conservative attitude in his cookbook, "Quick & Simple." It was originally released in October 2020, and gave exhausted home chefs, who still didn't know what to do with those beans they panic bought during the first week of the pandemic, new ideas to make simple dinners, but also how to use every part of their ingredients (via JSOnline).

According to WBUR, one of the highlights of "Quick & Simple" is the "cheese mishmash." He actually has multiple renditions of the mishmash and told WBUR that he probably has 30 different recipes for using up extra cheese. Cheese mishmash is a blend of old cheese, white wine, and garlic blended in a food processor, and spread on crackers. It could also be made with sunflower seeds, honey, lemon juice, and cranberries for a totally different type of savory spread.

Pépin has also been sharing plenty of quick and easy recipes on his Facebook page since the start of the pandemic as well. Even in these videos, Pépin can't help but give food waste tips. In a video for clarified butter, he recommends saving the solids to spread onto bread.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Pépin keeps all of his vegetable trimmings in a cleaned-out milk carton in the freezer. When he's making a stock, he simply cuts away the cardboard and adds the extras to the pot for an easy mirepoix.