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Heartbreaking. Horrifying. Profoundly preventable.

Cheery fellow I am, I like to play a game called "Would I Eat This If It Was World War II?"

The "game" goes like this: Before I throw away food, I imagine I'm a starving civilian, soldier or prisoner of war and, if I'd eat the food in question in that situation, I get over myself and eat it in my present situation.

Basically, if it's not going to make me sick, I'll try to work it into a casserole or stir-fry, toast it, roast it or juice it (dinner at my place, anyone?)

If the bread's mouldy, I cut off the mouldy piece. If the fruit's bruised, I eat the good bit. If the chicken, steak or cheese is anything less than "restaurant quality", I remind myself I'm not in a restaurant and utilise one of the many methods our grandparents used to make stale food palatable.

Understand, I'm in no way trying to trivialise the deaths of the millions who died from starvation during WWII. In fact, this "game" began after reading Primo Levi's staggering account of his survival in the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, If This Is a Man.

Levi's descriptions of hunger - how a ladle of soup taken from the top of a cauldron (just broth) or the bottom (perhaps containing some vegetables) could mean difference between having the energy to work the next day and thus avoid execution - made me realise just how privileged is my relationship with food.

It also made me understand I have never felt true hunger, like the desperate Russian citizens of Leningrad during the two-year-long Nazi siege (them again) who cooked leather belt soup and mustard cakes, ground tree bark into flour and crushed pine needles for vitamin C.

True hunger is not missing a meal, writes Levi, it's having no idea where your next meal will come from, when you've been hungry so long you can't "imagine not being hungry".

Walking the aisles of our supermarkets it's easy to forget - or try to forget - there are people just like us, our lovers, kids and grandparents experiencing this sort of hunger right now in countries as diverse (and close) as Indonesia, India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ethiopia.

According to UN's World Food Program, more than 900 million people go to bed hungry, many of them children who'll be permanently cognitively and physically damaged by malnutrition, if they're lucky enough to live.

A few years ago, the Ghanaian philosopher and Princeton University professor Kwame Anthony Appiah asked in The Washington Post: "What will future generations condemn us for?"

He argued once upon a time "beating your wife and children was regarded as a father's duty, homosexuality was a hanging offense", slavery was condoned and women forbidden to vote.

"Looking back ... it is easy to ask: What were people thinking?" wrote Appiah.

You'd have to wonder if future generations will ask the same of us when they regard our attitudes to world hunger, what Oxfam's Duncan Green recently called "one of the most extraordinary and humiliating aspects of living in the modern world".

"Providing the additional calories needed by the 13 per cent of the world's population facing hunger would require just one per cent of the current global food supply," writes Green.

And while there are complexities to this issue such as infrastructure, war, corruption and climate, let's not delude ourselves the chips and salad we leave on our plate in a restaurant or the chicken we discard because "it's smelly" don't contribute to this problem.

The more we use, the less for everyone else.

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