Another good month! I hardly ever pay for food anymore!

Posted 12/5

I had my 64th B’day a few days ago, i’d been sippin’ cheap beer all week, decided to go get some vodka to liven up the OJ, celebrate a bit. On the way, i spotted a crumpled dollar bill on the sidewalk. It must have been a good omen – checking the dumpster on the way back in, one big heavy bag. ‘Heavy’ means it’s not just paper, packaging, wrappings – I always check those bags out.

• 12 oz cream cheese, 2/3rd full, dated Nov 29. Maybe someone ran outta bagels?

• 2 1lb containers of hummus, classic and garlic, 2/3rds full, dated Oct 30.

• 16 oz Feta cheese, just a little gone. dated Jan 2016

• A small pack of middle eastern flat breads (3), nicely sliced for a sandwich. Perfect for the hummus and feta.

• Buttermilk bread, 1/4 of a loaf. It’ll go good with the peanut butter and blackberry jam i found recently.

• Some mild salsa carry out packets (3), and a small carry out container of red salsa, also mild, perfect to mix into the refried beans for breakfast.

If I get just some of the 40% of the food Americans waste? I’ll be one happy puppy, and it will greatly offset the ridiculous rent increase i have to deal with starting next month. The tech explosion in SF has blown rents and real estate prices thru the roof, into the stratosphere, and it is creeping in to Marin County. Landlords figure they can follow SF’s lead, and jack prices up however much they want. Those who are fleeing SF will gladly pay them. There is no rent control in Marin. 

Sigh. I remember when i could rent an apt with several rooms plus kitchen and bath in the early 70’s for $125 – $150/month. This was back east, Baltimore, & old town Alexandria Va. They weren’t pretty apts. by any means, they were a roof over my head.

Having found all that hummus, i needed some crackers, so headed back to Safeway, just a block away. On the way back i was checking out a trash can, and i heard a voice behind me ask ‘anything good?’

We exchanged a few words, i guess i am not alone in realizing how much perfectly good stuff ends up in the trash.

One last check of the dumpsters, someone has tossed out what’s left of a 2.5 lb free range roasted chicken. Still a lot left, half will feed my meager taste for meat for the week –  the other half, hey, there’s still a bit of room left in the freezer.

How stupid are some americans?

This stupid:


A perfectly good unopened can of apple juice, a small one serving packet of oyster crackers, and a banana. The banana is mottled brown, but inside they are fine. What my momma used to do with bananas like this was make banana bread. Well, i can’t cook, but if they are cookable, they are edible. In fact they are better than the 4 feet of shelf in the Safeway yesterday with bananas that are ALL green! Puh-leeeze!I want a banana that i can eat now, not in 10 days.

Oct 27

It’s all in one bag, all dates are at worst 2 weeks past. That don’t mean shit. 

• Yogurt, individual 4 servings, and two 8 oz containers. Some good flavors – mango and strawberry rhubarb yogurt.

• A jar of Jalapeno Ranch dressing – a quick finger dipping taste test? Nicely warm, not overwhelming. 

• Oscar Meyer hot dogs – 4 in a 15 oz pack.

• Oscar Meyer slo-roasted beef 7 oz pack, not even opened!  

• One cucumber, with a gouge in it. So what?!

• Sour cream – 13 fl. oz., about 1/2 full, looks like it’s been doctored a bit, but will go great w/ cucumbers.

• A 2 lb container of mixed fruit – cubes of melons, grapes, a few blueberries thrown in for color. Half full. Dated 10/24.


I stopped into my favorite free food and stuff store (dumpster) after a quick trip for eggs and toilet paper.

BIG bag, coat hangers on top, it’s heavy.

• Mex. cheese, 1/3 full

• 2 gourmet chicken sausage

• 4 hot dogs, 2 each of different kinds

• small carry out container, cheddar cheese

• Hash browns, 1/3  bag

• Salsa, medium & chunky – 15 oz, mostly full

• Fruit toppers (kinda like jelly/jam) – strawberry

• 1 whole & 1 half tomato. Freeze whole (soup!), use 1/2

•  2 garlic ‘twists’ – mini rolls – freeze, will go good w/ soup

• cashew chicken carry out(?) 1/4

• potato salad, macaroni salad. Big container, mostly finished but still about 3 servings left

• lettuce – big ziploc bag, 2 heads, allota brown in there. But here’s where it gets really tricky folks – you actually gotta do some work to separate the wheat from the chaff. I spent 10+ minutes doing just that and i now have a big bowl of nice green lettuce.

• 25 oz bag of white corn tortillas, 30 count, the smaller kind, about the size of a pancake. Right into the freezer. I have found it is very easy to pop them off the stack one at a time. 

A good addition to breakfast – simmer some chorizo (spanish/mexican sausage), then toss in the tortilla to slow fry in the chorizo fat. Yummy!

Things i can’t remember having bought any time recently:

• rice

• meat

• salsa

• many MANY different condiments – mayo, mustard, salad dressing, BBQ sauce, soy sauce. And a whole lot more.


I spot a big bag of coat hangers outside the dumpsters – that’s always a sign = ‘someones moving’

Sure enough they are, and dumping ‘whatever’. Perhaps an asian household, based on the findings:

• Soy sauce, 34 fl oz. Unopened.

• Soy based imitation cheddar slices. I don’t think much of imitation anything, but the price is right, so i’ll take ’em.

They taste lousy – note to self – never buy anything ‘imitation whatever, made with soy.’ 

• Pepper jack cheese slices, the real deal, 8 slices.

• Bologna slices, most of a 1 lb pack

• Koops deli mustard. I now have a smorgasboard of mustards, all free.

• Some creamy italian salad dressing.

• small bottle, ‘thai kitchen’ soy/fish sauce

• Kikkoman sweet cooking rice seasoning. Mostly glucose. Not sure what to do with this, A bit of research is in order.

This is what makes me think this was dumped by an asian household – anglo/americans wouldn’t know what to do with this.

A number of things over the next several days:

• Bread – many small packages, artisanal stuff – all goes to my over-laiden freezer.

• Granola – artisanal stuff – quinoa etc. good for snackin’ on at work.

• a small tub of greek style veggies, mostly gone, but enuf left to be worth grabbin’ it.

• several bags of rice, white and brown, labeled from the ‘Marin Food Bank’.

Which makes me asks questions. This comes from (obviously) a place where people of limited means  can get a helping hand. First of all, how did someone in this apt complex (not a cheap place to live) come upon this?

And secondly, if they got it this way, and had any concept of what the place is about, why did they then throw it out?

Something is askew here, don’t you think?

It’s got something to do with values.

11/20 Fri

During winter, Saturday is soup making day, lunch for the next week. On the way home i was thinking about what i would make, i had thawed out a beef patty i found (at least i think it’s beef) intending to fry it up with breakfast chorizo in the AM to see if it was any good.

After stopping at the Safeway for some vodka and OJ, i checked the dumpsters, there have been furniture items showing up over the last few days. Someone’s moving out and the food will arrive soon. Tore into one bag on the top, it’s heavy, that means it’s more than just packaging. Found a cardboard container w/ a great selection of BBQ’d meats! 


At the left, some sausage, some chicken, then a fat slice of roast beef, then at right some tasty pork ribs. Yeah, i know the photo makes it all look like charcoal, but it all passes the taste test. So’ll freeze the sausage and chicken, use the beef and pork for soup. Start w/ beef broth ( a can at half price ’cause the can is bent – cosmetic rejection gone wild, hunh?) 

Add some red onion i found, plus some yellow and red peppers, plus some hash browns, some bread crumbs, some whole wheat flour, plus some carrots.

Only thing i paid for was the beef broth.

It’s a *dumpster diver stew*!


Last few days, lots of odds and ends, all good. Bread, sandwiches, cream cheese, hot sauce ( like i don’t have enough already!) macaroni salad, grapes, tomatoes, pastries, cheesy broccoli soup… a nice little pottery pitcher, don’t know what i could use it for, but it’s a nice touch on the kitchen counter, or window sill, even if it is empty… a nice homey kinda thing, of which i have little.

Maybe i could pour out a little of nothing, and turn it into… something?


There’s a nice thought in there, somewhere.

Also… found some more celery – the heart, still crunchy. 

There’s 3 veggies that get tossed most often: Broccoli, carrots, celery. Why????

Then i found something i wasn’t sure what it was, it triggered a memory – like a small pear, but deep fat fried, perhaps?

Yes indeed!

A croquette!!! 


…………is a small breadcrumbed fried food roll containing, usually as main ingredients, mashed potatoes and/or ground meat (veal, beef, chicken, or turkey), shellfish, fish, cheese, vegetables, and mixed with béchamel or brown sauce, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer, or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, e.g. sautéed onions, mushrooms, or boiled eggs (Scotch eggs). The croquette is usually shaped into a cylinder, disk, or oval shape, and then deep-fried. The croquette (from the French croquer, “to crunch”) gained worldwide popularity, both as a delicacy and as a fast food.

Also: some jicama sticks. Never tried these. Jicama is a root veggie, can be cooked the same as many others, like potatoes. I tried it, fried it – interesting – it stays crunchy on the inside, can take various seasonings.

I quote:

The root’s exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples or raw green beans, and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon, or lime juice and chili powder. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes. Jícama is often paired with chili powder, cilantro, ginger, lemon, lime, orange, red onion, salsa, sesame oil, grilled fish, and soy sauce.[5] It can be cut into thin wedges and dipped in salsa. In Mexico, it is popular in salads, fresh fruit combinations, fruit bars, soups, and other cooked dishes. In contrast to the root, the remainder of the jícama plant is very poisonous; the seeds contain the toxin rotenone, which is used to poison insects and fish.[6]

One other nice thing i found, i know it is really minor and stupid – a ‘happy halloween’ pencil!


All neon and flashy! What silly fun!


I was waiting ’til after thanksgiving to post this, in hopes that some one would toss out some turkey.

I was not disappointed – i found a turkey carcass, picked pretty clean, but not entirely.

With tough fingernails, i scavenged a good bit more.


And if whoever tossed this out was really resourceful? They would have boiled it for a good long time, made a good broth out of it. I may yet go down to the dumpster, and retrieve what is still left.

Stupid people, everywhere.


There’s been alotta furniture by the dumpsters the last few days, and you know what means – someone’s moving, & the food will come next…

• 1/2 lb Alaska cod – thawed, but can you refreeze it? The label says no, but other research i did says yes, just do it very soon after the thaw.

• 2 ‘Bubba burgers’ – soup/stew, here we come.

• Tostitos spinach dip.

• a stick of butter, real butter, and a half finished jar of mayo.

• Grilled chicken strips, at least a pound, cooked, ready to go w/ a quick thaw.

• 2 Chobani single serving yogurts – strawberry/banana. I’ve been needin’ a probiotic boost lately, here it is!

• 12 oz frozen veggie ‘cook in bag’ assortment – brocolli, carrots, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts.

• Bag of frozen gnocchi, sweet potato – tasty break from regular white potatoes. Though i often go for yukon gold, or red. The sauce is pretty good too.

Finding something i don’t know much about always sends me to wikipedia:

“Gnocchi are various thick, soft dough dumplings that may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, breadcrumbs, or similar ingredients.”

On a different but equally serious note, i noticed this page, about how many man-made toxic substances there out there, and inside us:

I have some experience with this, having had a severe allergic reaction in a photo lab workplace some 20+ years ago – the workman’s comp system has doctors to examine and evaluate your claim that are total liars. And i am sure that the whole topic of damage done by chemicals is rife with lying bullshit, exonerations for those responsible = large corporations.

But this is a whole ‘nother blog i am not going to tackle. I’ll betcha someone else already is.


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