Not a bad month, here

Posted –  May 26

It seems like I have a few readers out there, glad you enjoy the blog, i shall ‘continue on’ as they say 🙂

In case you hadn’t read the ‘about’ page, I don’t actually dive into the dumpster, i skim the surface, & only occasionally tear a bag open. Enough of them are open, I don’t have to.

My 62 y.o. sciatic back couldn’t take the dive. And it’s not like I need whatever I find, but it sure helps. I’ve only worked part time for the last 8 years, and manage to squeak by thanks to small inheritance income. Haven’t owned a car in over 20 years, don’t have any debts to speak of, or other financial commitments. I think that living lean, and doing more with less is an interesting challenge.

On a related thread:

I’ve read a few things lately about how some people have built a home for a ridiculously low price. They are small to be sure, but ‘doing more w/ less’ is definitely the thing going on here.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/this-couple-built-their-own-tiny-home-for-less-than–10-000-162920658.html

I have done something similar.

22 years ago, I went from a 3 level suburban home w/ a 2 car garage, too many pets in suburban Virginia.. to a SRO (single room occupancy) hotel in SF, thanks to a divorce. Ya know what? Getting rid of everything that i couldn’t fit into a Subaru hatchback was a very liberating experience.

Made me decide what was really important in my life.

Here’s a good link/story along the same lines:

A New Memoir About What Happens When You Get Rid of All Your Stuff

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2014/05/26/the_minimalists_everything_that_remains_is_a_new_memoir_about_living_with.html

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And now, back to food!

(This may be a bit ‘off topic’ but we’re talkin’ ‘food’.. so why not?)

“Do you know where your fish comes from? A new study suggests that up to 32 percent of all seafood imported in the United States is caught illegally, which, if true, would mean that sustainability efforts are being torpedoed right under the noses of government inspectors.”

https://www.yahoo.com/food/seafood-fraud-may-be-an-even-bigger-problem-than-you-83445271343.html

 

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What a Waste: US Campaign Targets Why We Trash 133 Billion Pounds of Food a Year

By Ben Christopher

“No one likes to see good food go to waste.

Countless times we’ve been told to clean our plates or go without dessert, to equate “waste not” with “want not,” to “think of the starving children residing in some far away and unfortunate country.” Food waste represents not only money poorly spent and greenhouse gas needlessly emitted—more than a fifth of all landfill-bound trash is food, and landfills are the nation’s third largest source of methane gas—but lost potential and unnecessary suffering. The  leftovers in your trashcan tell you a story about yourself that you do not wish to hear: your grocery bill was overly ambitious, your after-dinner slice of cake was ill-conceived and gluttonous, your children who refuse to eat their vegetables are spoiled and ungrateful.”

http://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/just-in/2014-04-10/what-waste-us-campaign-targets-why-we-trash-133-billion

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(This one will make better sense RE being in this blog when you get to the last sentence.)

Africa’s Tech Edge

How the continent’s many obstacles, from widespread poverty to failed states, allowed African entrepreneurs to beat the West at reinventing money for the mobile age

Dayo Olapade – Apr 16 2014, 10:02 PM ET – The Atlantic magazine

In contrast to the stereotype of a poor and passive continent, the people I encountered across sub-Saharan Africa deploy clever work-arounds to make ends meet, and to keep the informal economy humming. A vuvuzela can be twirled in a bucket to wash clothes. Tire treads become sturdy sandals. Bottle caps are used as checkers. Forced to do more with less, African consumers rarely limit themselves to using products in the ways they’re marketed.

It’s called creativity and… ‘thinking outside the box’.

 

So let’s get back to food/whatever shows up in the dumpster!

4/23

a perfectly good lemon, perfectly good lime, two half finished onions, both in baggies. they look a bit old, but once you slice off the exposed part, they’re fine. also, a bag of chinese pea pods. half of them are moldy, but half are fine. separate the two, give the good ones a good wash, then soak in salt water for 15 minutes.

I guess that was too much work for someone.

And wouldn’t ya just know it? I had just come from the Safeway w/ one of those instant microwavable chow mein noodle things, it comes in a tub, it has remarkably little besides noodles – just a flavor pack, mostly soy sauce, and a small pack of dehydrated veggies. a really small pack. The onions and the pea pods will lively the thing up just fine. Also I’ll add some miso paste that i found a few weeks back.

A dull product just got a lot more interesting.

Some salad stuff – caesar salad mix, half a cucumber, A 1lb pack of 5 sausages, and an 8 once package of smoked turkey slices. The sausage is unopened, the turkey opened but barely touched. ‘Sell or freeze by’ dates? Feb. 2014.

RE the salad: like alot of foods, they will tell you when they are going bad. Lettuce?…turns brownish. The cucumber has lost it’s relatively smooth appearance, but inside?, it’s fine. And most foods will tell you to back off… by smelling bad. The nose knows, ya know?

As for ‘use by/ sell by’ dates? what a crock of shit!

4/27

No one throws out pizza?… that’s what i thought… but it ain’t true.

I found two really wide ‘all the toppings’ slices. There was alot of jalapenos there, maybe that’s why it got tossed. So I take off the japapenos, chop ’em up, add em to a tomato salsa sauce i’m workin’ on, a small can of diced tomatoes w/onion and garlic, 50% off at Safeway.

A few nice candles, probably scented, i’ll know in half an hour or so…. I’m burnin’ one now.

PizzaPlus4638

also, a big box of chocolates! Yum! 2 lbs worth!

Chocolate4613

Some 3 tangelos(?) real  small, very tasty. Perfect addition to my usual vodka. 🙂

1 can of Modelo beer. Who tosses out a perfectly good beer?? I just don’t get it.

But i would offer up a John Hiatt song about…. a perfectly good guitar….

People trash things that shouldn’t be trashed. Stupidity is rampant.

One very sweet thing i have found… or should i say i was given?

A Bonsai tree, set out on the exterior of the dumpster, on a supporting rail, ’bout 4″ wide.

 

Bonsai

 

At least someone was nice enough to say, in so many words, ‘i don’t want it, but it’s not half bad, take it, give it a new home’

I did. I like it. It’s one of those things that if it lands in your lap, it forces you to think about what has landed (in your lap).

Be happy that you have been given something, gratis. Be happy that you are around to enjoy life, even the small things.

Especially the small things. This little tree is really sweet.

5/5

In the last week, a number of interesting items.

An orange w/ about 1/4 of the outside all brown mushy and moldy. Take a knife to it, and whaddaya got?

3/4 of a perfectly good orange.

A 2/3 full box of Triscuits, which I like. They’re a bit out of date, but still crisp. I know why they got tossed – they are black pepper and olive oil. I like black pepper, but these are almost too hot for me.

I should get some cream cheese to accompany them.

A bottle of India Pale ale – summer’s comin’ this will be perfect on a hot evening.

Two more things, but I don’t like them, so i left them be:

A partially finished bottle of Red Marsala wine, and a bottle of bubble non-alcoholic champagne.

Also, a half full 28oz bag of Stacy’s ‘simply naked/nothing but sea salt’ pita chips, all natural – best by date? June 2014.

5/10

Someone’s moving out again. A number of perfectly good pieces of furniture, I’ve got all i need, so they remain ‘trash’.

Food? An unopened bag of carrots – it looks like they are growing roots in the bag, they’re probably still fine, but since i worked on a similar bag a while back, I’ve had my fill of carrots for a while.

Two dozen eggs, dated mid March, probably still OK, but since I have a rather delicate intestinal tract and eggs can be ‘tricky’ some times, I’ll pass.

But consider this – what is the carbon footprint, the total waste here, of just 2 dozen eggs?

Chickens need to be fed, and the feed comes from somewhere. After the egg is laid, it gets processed, sorted, packaged, shipped to a warehouse, then to a store. There’s plenty of refrigeration involved, which eats electricity. So when a dozen eggs get tossed out, it’s not just a dozen eggs that are wasted.

5/12

More unfinished containers:

Otria Hummus Veggie dip, Roasted Red pepper humms, Cream cheese, unopened.

Also, three small bottles: Neutrogena skin lotion, Mandarin & mint conditioner ( swiped from a Sheraton Hotel), and a 1/2 oz stick of cucumber and green tea scent deodorant.

It’s funny how the powers that be give me stuff that’s gonna be on my shopping list, but after i find them, my list gets shorter. I was almost out of deodorant, the cream cheese is perfect for the peppery triscuits, and the hummus will go well with the pita chips i found last week.

And…. a big carry-out container of rice and baked chicken, nicely seasoned, Dinner for several days.

It wasn’t there when i went out to have a smoke an hour and a half ago, and it still smells OK.

5/13

A fruit tart – 2 lbs, best by date 5/10. It wasn’t in the dumpster when i went out for a smoke an hour ago. I’ll pass on the cream filling, but the fruit gets washed off, will go good w/ breakfast the next few days.

Also, a ton of clothes, i can’t use any of them, but Goodwill is just a few blocks away.

5/14

An interesting find: 5 cans of a six pack of asian breakfast cereal “Mixed Congee”

Congee_Breakfast

Ingredients: water, glutinous rice, oat, green lentil, pinto beans, peanuts, red bean, longans & sugar.

Glutinous means ‘sticky’…………. Longans are a southeast asian fruit.

I add these to my ‘earthquake supplies shelf’ – it sounds really nutritious, has a long shelf life

 

5/15

Went out for my early morning smoke, and when i checked out the dumpster on the way in, I found one shopping bag with all these things:

Jalapeno cheese samosas – unopened, should be kept frozen but it’s still early morning cool. A 24 oz bag, 25 samosas ( which are small little pies, they look kinda like ravioli except they are triangular)

an 8 oz conatainer of ‘muscle milk’ protein nutrition shake, chocolate.

a third of a bottle of Catsup.

A bag of grapes, they’re a bit wrinkled, but that doesn’t mean they are no good.

An almost finished jar of Jalapeno green salsa.

A head of romaine lettuce – brown spots on the outside leaves.

Take those off? the interior is just fine, a few days of salads here.

Last but not least, an 11 oz can of V-8.

Mind you all this stuff was in one bag, one household.

On the topic of ‘do the powers that be somehow fulfill your needs in some weird way’?

I think perhaps this is so.

I am a smoker, been one for 40+ years. I have a Bic lighter, a few months old, it is starting to get a bit low. I have a matchbook, w/ half a dozen matches, that’s my back up, which isn’t much of a back up.

I step out to have a smoke half way thru the morning at work, and what do i see on the ground but a matchbook. I turn it over, and lo and behold what is there but a mostly full book of matches.

*Purrfect*

And are people always wasteful and thoughtless?

Not always. On weekends when i am just hangin’ in the apt, i leave the door and opposite window open, and put the little bonsai tree i found a while back out on the breezeway to get some real sun. I don’t pay much attention to the sound of doors closing, i am right next to a stairwell that next to no one uses. So i hear the sound of doors closing several times, and when i check out the bonsai, what is sitting beside it but a box of plant food.

 

PlantFood

Whoever left it didn’t say anything, or introduce them self. They just did it. A very sweet gesture in an often times cruel and crazy world.

Thank you, who ever you are.

On the topic of ‘best by’ dates:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/what-do-best-before-dates-on-food-really-mean/article5381341/

The question: What do “best before” dates on food packages mean? Is it safe to eat foods after these dates expire? Are they still nutritious?

The answer: “Best before” dates refer to the quality and shelf life of an unopened food product, not safety. They tell you how long a product will retain its optimum flavour, texture and nutritional value when stored under normal conditions. In Canada, best before dates are required on foods that will keep fresh for 90 days or less. However, many foods show best before dates even though they aren’t required to do so.

Time limits for storage

The following list indicates how long you can store refrigerated foods to retain their highest quality – their freshness, taste and nutrient levels. Time limits for meat, poultry and fish also relate to food safety.

( This doesn’t address how much longer all these things are OK, just not ‘optimum’. I think the ‘it’s OK’ times are much longer than this.)

  • Milk: 7 days after “best before” date, opened or unopened
  • Yogurt: 7 to 10 days, opened or unopened
  • Cheese, hard: 3 to 4 weeks opened, 6 months unopened
  • Butter: 4 weeks after best before date, opened or unopened
  • Eggs, in shell: 4 weeks
  • Eggs, hard-cooked: 1 week
  • Fresh meat: 2 to 4 days
  • Fresh ground meat: 1 to 2 days
  • Deli meats: 3 to 4 days
  • Fresh chicken or turkey, whole or pieces: 2 to 3 days
  • Fresh ground poultry: 1 to 2 days
  • Cooked chicken: 3 to 4 days
  • Fresh fish: 2 to 3 days
  • Fresh shellfish: 12 to 24 hours
  •   >>> Fish and shell fish? I always soak in an iodized salt/water bath before cooking.
  • Leftover soups, stews, casseroles: 3 to 4 days
  • Jams and jellies: 3 to 4 months, opened
  • Mayonnaise: 2 to 3 months, opened
  • Mustard: 1 year, opened
  • Ketchup: 6 months, opened
  • Salad dressing or vinaigrette, bottled: 6 to 9 months, opened
  • Salsa, bottled: 4 weeks, opened

Should we get rid of expiration dates? A new proposal set to go before the agricultural ministers of the EU next week says this would reduce food waste. Reuters got a look at the proposal, which points out that almost half of the food on grocery shelves is tossed out, unused.

http://io9.com/should-we-get-rid-of-expiration-dates-a-new-proposal-s-1577622193/all

Not everyone appreciates this pursuit, some cities prohibit it, some businesses frown on it.

Before you get into diving, you should check out these pages:

http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/recycling/stories/the-classy-dive-the-dos-and-donts-of-dumpster-diving

http://eclecticallyvintage.com/2013/04/dumpster-diving-tips-from-a-pro/

http://www.instructables.com/id/Dumpster-Diving-The-Right-Way/

http://dumpsterdiversparadise.com/FAQ.html

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/dumpster-diving-zmaz70ndzgoe.aspx#axzz30ywyJtcM

I’m sure someone will be moving out in the next month! Looking forward to it here.

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