Up to half of all of the food produced in the world is thrown away, according to the United Nations. That's 448,000,000,000,000 pounds of food in a single year, much of it edible restaurant leftovers.
I hate that waste, which is why I routinely take my leftovers instead of letting a waiter toss them. That's especially true when I'm visiting a poor country. Why? Because I can expect to encounter at least one hungry person or animal as I return to my hotel from the restaurant.
My wife and I recently patronized El Cuartito Pizza in Buenos Aires. My wife chose the Prosciutto Y Arugula pizza. I selected the "Atomic" pizza, featuring a Tabasco-based pepper sauce, spicy sausage and ground red chili flakes.
"Too much food," the waiter grunted when we gave him our order. Not a problem, I said, we'll take any leftovers with us.
Fast forward. Half a Prosciutto Y Arugula and half an Atomic remained when we were through eating. The pizza went into a box and out the door with us.
It was about 10 p.m. and we'd not walked 50 yards when we came across a man curled up on the sidewalk, wiggling this way and that, trying to find a comfortable sleeping position on concrete. We offered him our leftovers, which he accepted with wide eyes and an energetic Gracias!
A day earlier, my wife and I had been to the city's historic Recoleta Cemetery, where workers and others leave food for the 40 or so cats that live among the mausoleums. My wife hadn't finished the salmon on her bagel for breakfast and two of the cats, including the sweetheart pictured here, were thrilled to eat the scraps of fish.
This KiVi is intended to be a friendly reminder that if you're unable to finish your restaurant food, please consider having it wrapped up if not for yourself for a hungry stranger—human or otherwise.