Ribollita. (Rey Lopez for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Regarding Tamar Adler’s March 14 Tuesday Opinion essay, “We’re thinking about food ‘waste’ all wrong”:

Food waste in the United States is and has been a problem of worrisome degree for quite some time. Most people in this land of plenty are too young to remember a shortage of food. The Great Depression is known only via history books. My wife and I, on the other hand, are immigrants and have experienced not only a shortage of food but also a total nonavailability of many staple foods that one takes for granted in a land of plenty. I applaud Ms. Adler for pointing out that “food waste” is not always unconsumable, but it mostly is very much so.

Ribollita, a soup whose name means “reboiled,” is an excellent example of how leftovers can be reused. However, it is not only a soup made from bean broth, dry bread and olive oil. It is also a term that describes a plethora of Tuscan bread soups, panade, porridge or potage made with bread and vegetables, often from leftovers. In other words, in the English vernacular, it is a collection of comfort foods.

Martin A. Mayer, Silver Spring