Zero Waste Party


We had a dinner party this weekend. I cooked meat, so it wasn't truly zero waste, but everything I bought was package-and-plastic-free. Whenever we invite guests, I visit En Vrac (69 rue de Maubeuge, Métro Gare du Nord) for natural wines, local spirits, olive oil, and vinegar, then Causses Saint-Martin for zero-waste aperitifs and ingredients. The staff at both shops complimented my bulk bags, bottles, and jars. "C'est marrant, vous économisez le papier!" "C'est mignon!" "C'est efficace!" We invited twenty people, borrowing plates and cutlery from guests and wine glasses from the shop. If you don't have enough glasses, have guests bring their own jars. Here's what I brought shopping / what I bought:

In the panier

  • Five 1-liter glass bottles from home filled with pinot noir, white wine, Maison Nuage vodka, sparkling water and whiskey, all made in France. My husband went to Montreuil to get beers in refillable containers at Deck & Donohue.
  • Five 5x7 handmade linen drawstring bags, two 11x14 upcycled muslin bags, two filet bags
  • Four cloths
  • Six Weck jars

5x7 bulk bags (ingredients purchased at Causses)

  • Goji berries
  • Cinnamon apple chips (dehydrated slices, so simple and good)
  • Veggie chips (dehydrated carrot, sweet potato, parsnips, green beans, golden beets)
  • Raw and roasted almonds


  • Chèvre
  • Mimolette
  • Gouda
  • Turkey breast
  • Olives
  • Yogurt
  • Cream

Produce bags

  • Red onions
  • Purple garlic
  • Red chard and pousses d'épinard
  • Baby radishes with greens (radish for aperitif, greens for the salad and butter chicken)
  • Blood oranges
  • Limes
  • Cauliflower
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Butternut squash
  • Rice
  • Mango
  • Tomatoes
  • Vitelotte (from the marché earlier that morning)


  • Rocket (from the marché)
  • Coriander (from the marché)
  • Côte de boeuf. My husband actually bought this, from star butcher Le Bourdonnec, where the owner said to wrap the meat in cloth and keep it out of the fridge
  • Two blocks of unpackaged soap (from Biocoop)

Including travel time, errands took an hour and a half. Somehow, this manages to be faster than going to Carrefour, wading through crowded aisles, suffering in line, and rushing down Rue Cler trying to get the rest of this stuff. One bottle of whiskey or vodka at Carrefour is more expensive than what we spent on all the alcohol combined, and our foodie friend- who produces excellent wines from his own vineyard- raved about everything we got at En Vrac.

Using these ingredients and what we already had on hand, I made mango salsa, butter chicken (which contained neither chicken nor butter), mashed vitelotte, tandoori roasted cauliflower, fresh salad with chèvre and homemade vinaigrette, côte de boeuf with pesto mayonnaise, a cheese board, and chocolate mousse with chantilly, which my husband shook to perfection in a mason jar. I started preparing food around 6 pm and vacuumed at 6:18. By the time guests began arriving at 6:30, I could relax, eat, and enjoy their company because dinner was practically done. When everyone left- after 3 am, long past the last Métro- clean-up was easy. Without trash to take out or leftovers to put away, I washed the napkins and went early the next morning to deposit food scraps and recycle guests' bottles. My husband woke up to a clean sink and spotless apartment, which sounds smug because it is.

Secondhand Ikea towels used as napkins, similar here

We ended the evening on the balcony, watching the lights go out one by one from Invalides, Trocadero, La Defense, Tour Montparnasse, and the Eiffel Tower. "When we come here, we see all the sights of Paris," commented our friend Clement. Everyone was sweet, complimentary, and gave thoughtful gifts and thank you cards. After all that meat, my husband decided to go vegetarian!

Paris to Go


  1. Your grocery shopping is so beautiful! Is it bad that I feel like switching to zero-waste, for the sheer aesthetics of it? Gorgeous post, thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Grace, it's not bad at all- zero waste is beautiful.

  2. Curious as to what was in the butter chicken, if not butter or chicken? :)

    1. Turkey breast, olive oil, yogurt, homemade tandoori paste, tomatoes, onions, garlic and butternut squash. The farmer I like for poultry products at Bastille market said it was too soon to separate the hens from their chicks, so he only had turkey.

  3. This is beautiful! Very inspirational. I love the Weck jars. Do you have a different version than the Williams Sonoma ones? I noticed yours are missing the orange rubber rim and metal clips. :)

    1. Hello! Thank you! They are the same ones, but I only use the rubber rim and the metal clips when I'm canning or taking food to a friend's house or a party or something. I keep the rubber rim and clips in a separate jar until I need them.