When you have some Middle Eastern heritage (as I do), you understand how food is such an important part of the culture. From Iran to Turkey to Yemen, copious amounts of food impart hospitality, wealth and generosity.
An evening at a Yemeni restaurant in Doha, Qatar, reminded me about the large quantities of food that are trashed on a daily basis. I should not have been surprised by the the size of my dinner (pictured above left, click to expand): enough bread to cover me like a blanket and a platter of rice that could have fed five people. There was no way I could have finished all that grub; and unlike what happens when you host a party or visit an Armenian or Persian restaurant in Los Angeles, that food is not going into a doggie bag. Too bad, that chicken maddi would have made some mean fried rice the next day.
Reports about food waste in the Middle East are hardly new. Last year Al Jazeera English reporter Suranjana Tewari discussed the ostentatious breaking-of-the-fast buffets throughout the region that resulted in gobsmacking levels of food waste--while eastern Africa suffers from food shortages. The amount of food waste in Dubai during last year’s Ramadan was enough to feed 40,000 people for an entire year.
Considering the fact that countries like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain import their food from afar, and that composting is still a very foreign concept here, citizens have got to do better.