eat your crusts

At some stage in life you're going to have to face up to the big question. Do you pander to the whims of a 5 year old and cut them off, or do you force the wee shits to 'eat their crusts'.

Approximately 20 loaves a year… wasted. Work that out over the entire lunch eating population and you have an Everest of dough.

Recently I got caught up in the whole crust debate. I make the lunches for two of my kids every morning. To hear a 5 year old demand that the crusts be removed sort of makes the blood boil, well maybe not boil but there's certainly a warming of sorts. “When I was your age I ate my crusts and was glad of them”, but truth be told I never ate them. I simply repeat what my Dad barked at me.

I hated them. All kids hated them. No one ate their crusts. What could possibly be the appeal of burnt, charred dough anyway. It must be like oysters and olives, as you get old you palate either gets more refined, that or you just turn into a slob and you'll eat just about any old muck.

Each day a pattern began to form. I make the lunch, crusts firmly attached to the rest of the slice, pack them in the lunch box and place in the schoolbag. Home comes the lunchbox full of half eaten sandwiches. After a while I wondered if they simply weren't hungry enough to eat all the sandwiches or were crusts really so toxic to children? So I tried a few days with crusts off. Home came the lunchboxes completely spotless, licked clean and crying out 'please sir can I have some more'.

So I began wondering how much bread, good bread, is actually wasted by keeping the crusts on. In the UK 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year. Maybe by cutting the crusts we can cut the waste. It sounds counter intuitive, but here's the science.

Here we have two sets of sandwiches, pre-lunchboxed. The left has crusts attached. The right has the crusts removed, cut as thinly as possible so as not to waste the good bread. The wastage from this surgical crust cutting was 18g.


Four hours later the lunch boxes arrive home again. As I suspected the left box comes home full of 'toxic waste', the right crying out for 'more'.


The offending articles are weighed.


Forget Al Gore and his Inconvenient Truth, this is the real inconvenient truth. A full 28g of inconvenient truth. Truth that a 5 year old might have the key to unlock global warming!!! Ok, maybe I'm taking it too far but here's the thing. I've two kids. That's been 28g x 2. 56g of bread every day. 280g a week. That's a loaf and a half a month. Approximately 20 loaves a year… wasted. Work that out over the entire lunch eating population and you have an Everest of dough.

So the next time your child asks you to cut the crusts, don't treat them like some bourgeois brat. Thank them for their insight… and get cutting.