I can’t believe how well my neighbors are feeding me!

1/19

Someone must be moving – there’s furniture out side and inside the dumpsters, and lots of clothing too. And i mean lots! My closet is full, but I will take a Ralph Lauren Polo T shirt, thin blue and white horizontal stripes. I could feel like i am on Long Island! Whoop-de-doo!!

As for food? 

Fire Sale! Door-buster’s to be had!! And I’m first in line!!

It’s the all in one bag phenomenon again:

• Party size bag of Hawaiian style potato chips, ‘kettle style’ less than 1/4 of the bag. Party’s over, so… you know the rest. I don’t know what makes these hawaiian style, the only flavorings are: Onion, garlic and… romano cheese? Doesn’t sound too Hawaiian to me. But they are good, dated November, but still got a crunch to ’em. And I got a question – what is ‘kettle style’ other than creative copywriting?

• 1/2 loaf of whole wheat bread – a good week’s worth of sandwiches!

• Foster Farms Buffalo style chicken strips, 1/4 of a bag, Yummy. Upon further inspection and a taste test? Just too fucking hot.

• A strawberry yogurt single. Good for the stomach.

• Part of an eggplant – eggplant might just be an acquired taste? I coat it w/ bread crumbs, and fry ’em in butter. The frying really seems to cut down on their natural acidity.

• 2 Red Baron French bread pepperoni pizza singles – 2 lunches, just don’t forget the parmesan to top them off.

• Last of all, 1 pepperoni pizza ‘hot pocket’. It’s one part of a two part lunch, needs something else. I am going to be interested to find out how much ‘stuff’ is really inside the pocket – these things tend to be mostly wrapping, w/ little real filler. Cheap to produce, monstrous profit margin. The bottom line? a lot or wrapping, not much inside. A ‘pseudo product’.

Another pseudo product i found:

“Log Cabin Syrup”: a product that ain’t what it appears to be. It has a quaint snow covered log cabin on the label, reminds me of my mom taking us kids to a place that made maple syrup, REAL maple syrup, from real trees, the host would pour a little on a snow ball ( this was Vermont, late winter time) for us to sample. Well, this product also has a banner on the label that says ‘no high fructose corn syrup’. What’s the first item in the ingredients list? Corn Syrup! next are water and sugar. It has less than 2% of add’l ingredients which include natural flavoring – i assume there’s some small, small amount of…maple syrup? But maybe not. This product is a product of food engineering and marketing.

2/2

Last few weeks have been nice.

• Four small frozen burritos, bean and cheese – i always use these as a starting point – top ’em off with some salsa and chorizo. Maybe some mo’ cheese.

• I’ve written before that i almost never see pizza tossed out, just an empty box. But i was wrong! Found half a pizza, and then indeed *one whole entire pie*, still in good shape. Into the freezer, instant lunch some day.

• Clementines, tasty sweet small oranges, and entire unopened 2 lb bag. A few are funky, but most are AOK.

( Next three, all partial)

• 32 oz Garlic chicken broth, great for soup.

• Miso Ginger broth.

• Almond milk

• Zucchini – 2 packages, half empty, 5 all together.

• 1/2 a big pack of spinach, perfectly good

• Carrots – a 2 lb bag, unopened. Looks a little funky inside, but washing and soaking in salt water does the trick.

• 2.5 oz pack of albacore tuna – perfect for a sandwich.

• Half a 1lb pack of Black forest ham.

Besides being so surprised at how much perfectly good food is tossed out, i am equally surprised at how much food that is a little ‘gone’ is tossed out with no effort to remedy the stuff. It’s just a matter of some washing, some salt, a good knife to trim things. What’s so hard about that??

• Cheddar cheese – moldy on the outside, since they are big chunks, cutting off the mold leaves plenty of good cheese. Ever heard the old saying ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bath water?’ Well, it’s been true several times lately.

A bag of lettuce, a bit of brown in there, so someone tossed it out. With a bit of work? Still a good bit of lettuce to be had – needs washing/rinsing in salt water for sure.

Now, a really good one – a big hunk of ham, processed and formed into a loaf, but that works for me, my post appendicitis intestinal system, it’s easy to digest. It was lying on the bottom of the nearly empty dumpster, still some plastic wrap around it, and then some other wrap inside that. I don’t actually dive into any dumpster, i just skim the surface, and this ham is too far away. Time to get creative – i always carry a cane, a sciatic back thing ya know? It comes in handy. So i maneuver a shopping bag next to the ham, roll the ham into it, and lift the bag outta the dumpster by the handles. A bit of washing, and voila! some perfectly good ham!

2/7

A big bunch of fruit, all perfectly good. 4 apples, 3 nectarines, 4 peaches and a big fat orange. There was also 2 grapefruit but i can’t eat those ’cause i take statins for hi cholesterol.

I m still thinking the same thing i have all along – we are for the most part a dumb lazy wasteful culture. 

‘There will always be more where that came from – i don’t need to worry ’bout it, i make good money’

Famous last words – That can change in a new york minute.

2/8

• Spring Mix salad

• Cherry tomatoes

• 10 Grain bread, half a loaf.

• 1 Can black beans, unopened.

• A bottle of white vinegar

• small bottle of spice – ‘african smoke’ – mostly paprika with some garlic and basil thrown in.

• small ‘to go’ sauce containers, 3 of em, ranch/dill. I consistently see these thrown out. Why not save em for something else? DUH!!

• A rather interesting item – some fresh thyme, but not just the clipped plant leaves, the plant itself, with it’s root ball, a hunk of soil about the size of a golf ball. Marketing pitch? – ‘it’s still alive and growing’, REALLY fresh. So i plop this into a scooped out space in my one houseplant pot, intending to keep it going, growing. There’s something nice about nurturing plants, they respond to affection.

2/9

On the way to the bus stop for the trip home, I pass by a Jack in The Box. There’s a big trash can on the lawn just beyond the parking lot, it’s only a few steps of the sidewalk, so i usually check it out, What i usually find is partial orders of fries, but today there’s something else, not from Jack’s – a box of roast potato pieces, square cut, nicely baked. I scoop up a big bunch of them, and continue on. 30 steps later i hear one of Jack’s workers call out ‘hey you want some food?’ He hands me a bag w/ a big order of curly fries and a burger. I would like to know the back story to this – did the shift manager see me scrounging out a window, looked at an order filled wrong and refused by the customer. And knowing it would end up in the trash, decided to be generous? Less wasteful?? I’ll never know.

In the dumpster, two interesting items await me – a few slices of ‘mortadella creminelli’. Never heard of it – basically ground pork, mixed w/ milk, formed into slices. Dated 2/2. Still passes the smell test, i would never buy this, but hey the price is right for a sample taste.

Also about a third of an apple pie, from a nifty artisinal bakery just a few blocks away. It looks like it’s been rattled around a bit in the box, it’s kinda falling apart, won’t make that perfect looking slice on the dessert plate. So what? I don’t have any vanilla ice cream for it, it will make a nice break in my work morning nonetheless, a quick zap in the microwave is all it takes.

2/17

• A package of 6 apple pears, what ever they are. Ass’t other fruit. Cucumbers – a 3 pack of english cucumbers, still in the wrapping and a few loose american cucumbers. I’ll take the american ones, to take all? well, i couldn’t finish before they went bad. Part of a roast chicken, still good.

• KFC coleslaw, small container.

• A still partially frozen bag of Potatoes O’Brien.

Also: a bag of ‘Potatoes’, so to speak: “Idahoan – Apple wood smoked bacon mashed poatoes” – just powder in a bag. I’ll try it someday to see what it’s like. I have a feeling it’s one of those ‘pseudo products’ – the list of ingredients is very long, may of them i can’t pronounce.

2/24

It’s the ‘all in one bag’ phenomenon again:

• 10 oz shredded carrots, opened, mostly full

• An 8 oz do-it-yourself bag of cole slaw – just mix the packet of dressing into the raw materials.

• Big bunch of celery, perfectly good.

• 4 oz tube of Colgate tooth paste, for enamel health, partly used. Everyone’s got to brush their teeth, don’t they?

• 2lb bag of brown sugar, half full

• Mayo – big jar, 1/2 full

• Mustard, 20 oz, mostly full

• And a rather interesting product ‘PB2’ – which is a jar of powder, dehydrated peanuts w/ a bit of cocoa – ‘just add water’. 

I tried some – not bad, not bad at all! And no raft of artificial stuff – just peanuts, cocoa powder, sugar and salt.

I have written before about how i think many Americans are wasteful, thoughtless. Here’s another example – I live in a large apt. complex, 120+ units in San Rafael, Ca. There is one common area everyone passes thru – the mailboxes. Beyond them is a hallway that leads to the elevators, the place is 5 stories tall. I collect my mail one day recently and halfway down the hall is a mess on the floor – a torn shopping bag, & a plastic container of canteloupe melon chunks, spilled open. I happily scoop up the plastic container of melon that has not hit the floor, i leave the rest. Who ever left this? … To hell with you! You make no effort to keep what might still be good, you make no effort to clean up after yourself. My dad would kick your fucking ass. I would join him. You are a disgrace.

Early prehistoric homo sapiens likely wasted nothing. NO THING. it was hard fought for, meat was knawed to the bones, uses were found for what might have easily been cast off. The bones?…became tools. The skins? became clothing. That’s how progress was made. Waste not, want not. We have forgotten our REAL roots. REALLY. How have we come to appreciate all the properties of so many plants? Because someone experimented, worked on it, discovered what was good about them, likely by trial and (perhaps fatal) error.

Have you ever seen the movie ‘Quest for fire’? It’s really worth seeing, IMHO. The opening scene shows a group of hunter gatherer humans around a fire, after dark. All are asleep except one, staring into the fire. An large insect buzzes around his head, he notices, and in one fell swoop, he grabs it and stuffs it in his mouth. Hey, Protein is protein. And i have read some things recently about how stuff we never considered to be food before just might become food sometime soon. Seaweed (asians already appreciate this, americans have yet to catch on much), & insects! Enviromentally green, easy to ‘grow’.

We live in the best of times’ (to quote Charles Dickens) … but in the worst of times, for our thoughtless wastefulness. I have many pieces of pizza in my freezer to attest to this. Yes, perfectly good pizza, tossed to the wind. I can’t believe ANY one tosses out perfectly good pizza. I know everyone in my apt. complex has a built in microwave – it zaps anything into mush if that’s what you want, it also zaps day-old pizza into a yummy meal.

2/26

The ‘all in one bag thing’, yet again….

• Battered mandarin chicken chunks w/ sauce, 1/2 of a 1 lb bag – with sauce!

• Butter, 2 sticks, 1/2 lb.

• Frozen lasagna w/ meat sauce, 10.7 oz – there’s a couple of dinners there for me.

• Mixed veggies in a ‘steam pack’ – 12 oz, unopened.

• Peanut butter! organic! a full 16 oz jar, unopened!!

• Ranch Dressing, 14 fl oz, unopened.

• last and probably least – a big box of ‘State Fair’ corn dogs – I take only 3, this is not one of my favorites, but the price is right, so WTF?.

On page 22 of the New Yorker magazine ( i am a subscriber for a looong time) dated Feb 29 2016 is an article about one really interesting guy. He retired at 30 thanks to some good money made as a software engineer, which he saved most vigorously. Though he is rich by most people’s standards, he and his wife and one child live on a mere $24K a year. 

“He presents thrift as liberation rather than deprivation” –  I agree. Totally! “Less is more” –  always has been, always will be.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/02/29/mr-money-mustache-the-frugal-guru

Check out his site:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/blog/

His motto – “Financial freedom through badassity”

And if you have a few extra bucks? subscribe to the New Yorker – you’ll be glad you did!

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2 comments

  1. Thanks for the link to the article about Mr. Mustache Man. He’s my kind of dude. I’m jealous of his time rich lifestyle. You know what he’d say about a New Yorker subscription? Probably something along the lines of “go to the library!”

    1. The library is a great place, for sure, but what’s on line is usually an edited version, what’s in the magazine is longer. And i like magazines – i take a short bus commute to work (haven’t owned a car in 24 years, can ya beleive it?! A Californian?!?!) and having something to read while waiting and riding is excellent. Thanks for the comment – i appreciated it.

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