5000 Cookies

cookies-003I am in post-vacation food coma.  During President’s week, my family went on a Disney cruise, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.  The food was great—but as is the case on every cruise, it was far too abundant, far too accessible, and far too bad for my health!  Naturally, there were plenty of healthy choices, and I was sure to eat lots of deliciously fresh fruit and wonderful salads.  But you have to be a robot to be able to resist all the other not-so-healthy options!  The desserts alone were enough to make you go home feeling guilty.  It didn’t help that there was a self-serve ice cream station, French fries all hours of the day, and poolside waiters enticing you to order the fruity “drink of the day”.   And then there were the chocolate chip cookies.

On the last day of our cruise I took a galley tour through the huge kitchens onboard the ship.  We learned that the pastry kitchen bakes 5000 chocolate chip cookies every single day (and I’m pretty sure I ate at least half of those).  That is on top of all the other desserts, of which there were dozens of different types.  The whole thing was quite an impressive operation.  These kitchens (we toured just two of five) serve over 2700 people at every meal.  And what amazes me most is that unlike in a restaurant where people are sitting down at all different times, they manage to serve everyone at once.  And, the food is actually hot.  Granted, they do have two seatings for the dinner service, but still.  Unlike a wedding reception where there is a set first course and one or two entrée choices, all of the restaurants onboard had full-sized menus.   So, they were churning out dozens of different dishes all at the same time, and did it well.  It exhausted me just thinking about it!

The other thing I learned is that not surprisingly, there is a LOT of waste.  Based on what they were telling us during the tour, I can’t even begin to imagine the number of tons of perfectly good food they literally throw out every single day.  Anything left over on the continuously replenished buffets…garbage.   If there is any remaining food from the first service, they do not serve it at the second service only hours later….into the trash it goes.  They said occasionally they will let the staff take the leftovers, but there is a totally separate kitchen and staff cooking for the crew, so it mostly goes unused.  It is really a crying shame that so much perfectly good, perfectly delicious, high quality food prepared by highly trained chefs is literally being dumped into the garbage every single day. 

I understand that from Disney’s perspective they want to provide exceptionally fresh food to vacationers who have paid a premium to escape from reality for a few days.   I get that.  But what I don’t get is that there isn’t some way for all that food to be recycled in some way.   It seems that if people knew that on certain days  when the ship was in port (whether that is in the U.S. or the other ports-of-call), that perfectly good  food was available for the taking, they’d have a line around the corner.  Especially during these tough times, I’m sure there are plenty of people who could use a free meal for their family.  But my guess is the Disney legal team would never sanction giving away unused food, even if it going to waste anyway. 

So, while joke that I am in a food coma, I can’t help but think of all the people who would give their eye teeth for the luxury of feeling full, even if it is from day-old chocolate chip cookies. 

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