I don’t know how to describe my neighbors anymore…

They are generous? thoughtful?? No… but there is one exception further on in this post of just that. They are mostly stupid and wasteful – i’ll repeat the statistic I have seen in many places – 40% of the food america makes goes to waste.

5/8

Noontime, I go out for a refill on the ‘vitamin V'(=vodka), on the way back, some “D’divin’/ =’shopping’ “!

• Half of a 1 lb loaf french bread style dutch crunch bread. A little hard, nothing a microwave won’t cure – microwaves are really good at ‘softening’ – just put a napkin or paper towel over whatever it is.

• A 12 fl oz bottle of ‘Walden Farms Ranch dressing’, with lots of ‘selling points’ on the label:

‘Calorie free, sugar free, fat free, carbohydrate free, gluten free, cholesterol free’.

When i read the ingredients label? It’s pretty ‘free’ of everything, except water and vinegar – a few other flavorings thrown in – not much of a product, certainly not worth 2 or 3 dollars.

Oh, BTW, does the ‘Walden’ name ring a bell? …recall the writer Thoreau??

It’s just marketing, 6 letters on a label.

I must refer you to Michael Pollan’s writing and books, which could be boiled down to less than 10 words:

“eat less, (you really don’t need huge ‘super-sized’ portions, the body has a hard time processing it all anyway), eat real food, mostly plants

http://michaelpollan.com/books/

Pollan2

Pollan3

Later in the day, i take out my glass/metal recycling, the ‘shopping’ is even better!

• 3 BIG apples!

• small bag baby carrots – if i have any doubts about ‘clean’, i dump them in a bowl of salt water, let ’em sit a while.

• Honey ham – 4 slices left. – dated 6/1/16

• Grated Parmesan – 1/3 of an 8 oz bag – perfect! goes w/ the tortellini i am still workin’ on.

• 2 lbs of ‘sonoma jack’ sliced cheese – ‘mild’, not too much peppers. Dated? 6/16! I am not gonna have to buy cheese anytime soon, am i? 🙂

• Red Salsa, 32 oz jar, mostly full, dated 3/16. All salsas have a good bit of citric acid in them, keep well beyond the ‘SB/BB’ dates

• Salsa Verde,  dated 11/16, most of a 12 oz jar.

• Eggs – a dozen brown, dated 5/4. Two are cracked/leaking/ stuck to the carton. I crack them entirely, pour into a bowl, will add to tonite’s tortellini. 🙂

Did you do some math on all the above??

I come up w/ approx. 16$ worth. And that’s a conservative estimate.

5/11

• A 12 oz package of stir fry style chicken strips. Dated? 4/28. Nothing wrong with these, once again it is the ‘BB/SB’ date that gets this tossed out.

http://www.ift.org/knowledge-center/learn-about-food-science/food-facts/the-difference-between-useby-sellby-and-bestby-dates.aspx

Use-By

This label is aimed at consumers as a directive of the date by which the product should be eaten; mostly because of quality, not because the item will necessarily make you sick if eaten after the use-by date. However after the use-by date, product quality is likely to go down much faster and safety could be lessened.

Sell-By
This label is aimed retailers, and it informs them of the date by which the product should be sold or removed from shelf life. This does not mean that the product is unsafe to consume after the date. Typically one-third of a product’s shelf-life remains after the sell-by date for the consumer to use at home.

Best-By

This is a suggestion to the consumer on which date the product should be consumed to assure for ideal quality.

Brackett also points out that smell and taste are not good indicators of whether or not a food is safe to eat. 

http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/sell-by-and-best-before-dates-whats-the-difference-11363966096433

A quote from this article:

Nick says: “I don’t look at the date, I look at the food. I’ve seen bananas reduced in supermarkets because they have passed some arbitrary date – and they are still GREEN!”

5/14

• One whole watermelon, the size of a soccer ball

• 1/2 a takeout box of garlic fries, this is the second time i have found this item.

• Two zip-loc bags of baby carrots – looks like someone was trying to save… but then changed their mind..? WTF??

• Philadelphia cream cheese 16oz, 1/3 full.

• Doritos – Salsa Verde chips, 1/3 full

• ‘Goldfish’ crackers – cheddar, 1/3 bag

A comment on the previous post ended w/ ‘…good for you to keep this stuff out of a landfill’.

I cannot begin to put a dent in what gets wasted by people in 120+ apts! Many times i bring things upstairs that I have no idea when i will get to, but hate to see it go to waste. If you’ve been following the news, recently there have been stories about how the San Andreas fault is ‘locked, loaded, ready to roll, big-time’. When that happens, and the banks and grocery stores are closed, shelves empty, i am going to be one popular guy! I will still have food to eat! 🙂 I have lots of rice, indian spices, mixes of various sorts, dry cereal (it might be a bit stale, but oh well still nutritious), the freezer is full, i’ll start on that first, since eventually it will be useless.

5/18

I come back from a usual run to Safeway – Vodka – $5, P’nut better – $2, a shaillot – $.50.

What’s waitin’ for me??

• small bag of mandarin oranges, unopened, 2 are bad, the rest are fine. “Don’t throw the baby out w/ the bath water” right? RIGHT!

•2 12oz bags of frozen ‘steam fresh’ veggies – broccoli, cauliflowwer, carrots, still frozen.

• 4 oz can chunk lite tuna.

• 4 salmon fillets, still frozen.

• Mayo – 15 fl oz, 1/2 full.

• Philadelphia cream cheese, w/ chives and onion, mostly full, dated July 2016. I might actually have to break down and buy something for a change – like a few bagels!

5/22 _ sunday

My cup runneth over!… Again!!

Today was totally awesome! I could barely believe it!!

• First of all, and most notably: A whole avocado, sliced in half, the seed not removed… but then tossed out?

•  ketchup, most of a bottle.

• Honey – 2 12 oz bottles, the “cute ‘lil bear bottle” thing.

• Several half finished loafs of bread, wheat, and something called ‘winter wheat’ The winter wheat has a bit of mold, easily cut off with a knife. Why the trash is a solution? I have no idea!

• A red baron french bread pizza, pepperoni – lunch for a day but rummage for extra ingredients.

• 1 brown egg, actually made it’s way thru the cacophony of all, intact. it passes the ‘float test’, egg salad sandwich on the wheat bread, here i come 🙂

• 2 chicken teriyaki bowls, it says ‘keep frozen’ but i am outta room, the frig will do fine. 🙂

• a *big* bag of chicken fillets, frozen, about 2 lbs., a bit freezer burned. So what?

• 3 *big* frozen bags of:  green beans, french cut green beans, and mixed veggies, and winter mix – broccoli and cauliflower.

• 1 *very lonely* cherry, a bit of mold, cut off, added to the blueberry yogurt, half finished.

• I had to totally re-arrange my freezer for all this! The 1 Gallon bottle of ‘earthquake water’ that was in the freezer? is now in the bath tub, just as good a place to keep it.

The same thing keeps ringing in my ears as i am describing all this.

It’s not just about the waste of a few ounces or pounds of ‘this, that or the other’.

It’s also about the effort and resources that went into producing the ‘this, that or the other’.

For veggies? it’s water…harvest workers, processing, freezing, shipping (which eats up gasoline), and re-stacking in your grocery store.

For meats? (chicken beef, pork) much the same, but some added ‘feed’ in there, which may well be corn? Which is a long trail of water and processing.

If you aren’t already glad you live in 21st century america? …. you better be now.

We live in “the best of times, and the worst of times”, to quote Charles Dickens.

And then we squander 40% of it.

5/23

• a 1 lb. container of ‘spring salad greens’ mix. I can’t possibly finish it all before it goes bad, but washing/soaking half of it will do. Always wash everything in salt water, iodized salt, it will kill most of the bacteria/bad stuff, it’s the iodine that does it.

5/24

• Carton for a dozen eggs, 8 left, dated? 5/23

• 2/3 oz package of fresh dill – i will dry this out, and bottle it. Goes good w/ cucumbers and sour cream 🙂

• 10 oz bowl of spinach artichoke hummus dip,  2/3 full – it’s kinda bland, maybe that’s why it got tossed. Sell by? June 7.

• Single serving Chobani yogurt – *watermelon*! Now that’s a change of pace!

• 8 oz bag of parmesan cheese, 1/3rd left

6/4

The last week or so, numerous small items:

• 2 chinese eggplants, perfectly good, i freeze most.

• small carry out container, spring mix salad

• an 8 oz bag of ‘Mandarin silk’ green tea, loose. Never been much for green tea but i took some to work, made a cup, it’s not half bad. The tea ball there is small, i would like to ‘double up’ the tea…

• 6 oz container of mushrooms, unopened, perfectly good.

• an 8 oz box of angel hair pasta

• a 6 oz. spray bottle of ‘i can’t believe it’s not butter’. I can’t believe they make a spray bottle of this!

I have a (free!) 16 oz bottle of ‘sweet bay ray’s BBQ sauce’, getting to the last of it. On the neck of the bottle is a paper wrap with ‘the sauce is the boss!’ printed on it. Sauces can easily overpower whatever they are on, the boss can easily become overwhelming, I use them lightly. 

I have a great collection of spices, and now i get to add a new one, an interesting combination:

‘Baron’s savory secrets – new orleans seafood w/ tabasco – secret # 61’. 

Makes ya wonder …’what’s the previous 60?’

Ingredients? = paprika, white & black pepper, red pepper, oregano, thyme, fennel, allspice, bay leaf and cloves, sea salt, onion, garlic, tabasco, salt and mustard. 

A nice combination, glad someone was stupid enough to throw it out 🙂

Also:

• small container of spring salad mix

• 2 potatoes, small, yellow, my favorite kind 🙂

• part of a loaf of sourdough bread.

• A bag of ‘power of the greens’ – kale, baby chard, baby spinach, 1/3 full.

I think copywriters are having a field day with this new health thing, no two ways about it. ‘Power of the greens’? Hello!?! I tell ya’ the green i like best? – it’s US dollar currency. Now that’s *power*!

• and one *oh-so-lonely* pencil. Excuse me, but pencils never grow old. A #2, made in Vietnam.

None of this trash/garbage. NONE of it!

• Why do many people not eat the heels of a loaf of bread? Enquiring minds want to know!

——————–

I have been looking for new links, info, on the whole topic of food waste, but this asshole Donald Trump keeps eating up the headlines, 24/7.

Found one – on global post.com, not about food but about e-trash:

http://www.globalpost.com/article/6774428/2016/06/06/us-still-dumping-some-its-toxic-e-waste-overseas

How many digital devices have you outgrown, and trashed? I have an old Mac G3 computer and a LaCie monitor in the corner a few steps away, I also have 2 small speakers, and a receiver/amplifier sittin’ by the front door. In a few months, i will be getting some social security money, 1200$/month, i will spring for a local recycling place to pick them up, they charge $75.

First i will ask the maintenance guys if they know anyone who would want the amplifier/receiver/ speakers. I’ve chatted w/ them, they are well aware of how much perfectly good stuff gets tossed out.

As usual, one good link (the global post article) leads to another:

http://earthfix.info/

6/6 Monday

Been *sort of watching* someone get ready to move the last few days – furniture, clothing, household items, only one was worth taking, a strainer. But ‘free’ is always good isn’t it?

Today? The food arrived! Most bodacious!! Awesome!!!

• Nutella, hazelnut w/ cocoa 32 oz, mostly full

• Progresso soups, an 8 pack – 5 cans left, 18 oz each, chicken w/ rice, chicken noodle, and 3 New England clam chowder = yummy!

• Tostito’s Salsa, chunky, medium, 24 oz jar, mostly full. Gotta freeze some of this…

• Bush’s Best’ baked beans – w/ maple cured bacon, 28 oz can. Once i open it, i will have to freeze 1/2

• 1/2 lb(?) bag of cooked brown rice, frozen, saves me from cooking, microwave all the way.

• bag of frozen hash browns, 1 lb, 1/2 empty… but that is to say ‘half full’ isn’t it? 😉

I make 2 trips to bring all this upstairs, my arm is aching! 

But it was worth the *schlep*, indeed!

6/11 Sat.

3:30 PM –  i take out my paper and glass/metal recycling thinking i might find a few things…

Whoa!! Did i ever find a few things!!

Potpourri

• sugar snap peas, a few a bit old, most of ’em good

• Gruyere cheese – a hunk

• 1/2 an onion in a zip-lock bag

• choc. milk – 8 oz carton

• ‘Laughing cow’ cheese triangles

• strawberries, 1/2 a 1 lb container, a bit old, but that makes them ripe 🙂

• sour cream, 1/2 an 8 oz container.

• salsa verde – 1/2 of a 16 oz jar – i just finished what i had w/ breakfast beans this AM, really good timing 🙂

• Sweet chile sauce, asian style, 8 oz.

• Several packs of sliced turkey, maybe 1/2 a lb.

• an 8 oz container of guacamole (sell by? 6/10!) – hey, that will go great w/ the turkey and onion (and sharp cheddar cheese i actually bought!)

• a rather odd container w/ 6 falafel patties, and some hummus spread. Not nearly enough hummus for 6 patties, but the sour cream found above will do.

For dinner, i pop open a (free!) ‘thai noodle kit’ – on the box it says ‘includes noodles and sauce’ – like maybe there’s something else in there?… There isn’t, it’s just noodles and sauce. Which costs all of 15 cents to produce?… and retails for?… ten times more?

PadThaiKit

A rip-off product!

To paraphrase Michael Pollan – buy food, *REAL FOOD* – not prepackaged stuff, marked up who knows how much. Mr. Pollan has written a number of books well worth reading. So instead of cooking, i opt for the falafel, micro-waved, a few patties. On weekends i tend to drink a bit more, eat less, sort of a fast.

6/12

Sunday is usually a good day, today was no exception. 

**There was a bit of a twist to today’s findings – they were all in a large reusable plastic shopping bag, set outside the dumpster – someone was nice enough to offer the stuff if anyone else was interested – nice, hunh?**

• lettuce, part of a romaine head, needed a bit of work to get rid of the spoiled parts, but enuf left for several sandwiches

• part of a loaf of simple white bread, unsliced

• 1 wrinkled apple – wrinkled doesn’t mean ‘no good’.

* yogurt – 1 Chobani ‘flip’ (lime), 3 other single serve yogurts, blueberry w/ cream

• cottage cheese, 32 oz, dated? 6/3, unopened

• 1 lb of real butter! yesterday i bought a lb or Imperial margarine – it gets pushed to the back, i’ll enjoy butter for a while instead! 🙂

CHEESE! 4 different hunks – 2 sharp cheddar, 1 white cheddar, 1 asiago. The asiago and white cheddar look/smell fine – the two sharp cheddar aren’t very big, have plenty of mold on ’em – more than i want to deal with, i’ll send them back to the trash.

One thing you might have noticed from the above is that *the powers that be* seem to take care of me! – i buy a lb. of margarine? i find a lb. of real butter the next day.

I find bread, turkey slices, cheese, guacamole onion and mayo – and that’s lunch sandwiches for the week – for variety, i can use a different cheese every day.

I find vanilla yogurt, and some strawberries? – a good match, i will slice the berries, add to vanilla yogurt, take to work, snack on in the AM, a good probiotic thing.

Helpful hints: One lesson i have learned when finding large/1 lb partially frozen bags of whatever – veggies, chicken breasts? 

Thaw it out completely, break it down to 1 or 2 serving size, refreeze that. If you refreeze something that has thawed without doing this, it will become a brick, very hard to get a portion of, short of using a meat cleaver.

6/14 Tuesday

Only a few items, but all good ones

• The best – 2 60+fl bottles of cooking oil, 1 olive oil, the other corn oil, dated good ’til 2017.

• small bottle dijon mustard w/ chardonnay – i’ll take that over the classic French’s yellow i’ve been working on. which was… you guessed it! Free!

• small jar crunchy P’nut butter, 2/3 full

• small bag of red potatoes, maybe 7 or 8, What I’ve been doing to preserve my surplus potatoes is every couple of days, baking one, wrap it in plastic wrap, toss in the freezer.

• 8 white eggs, dated april 30. I’ll take em and test ’em – fill a glass w/ cold water, gently put an egg on a spoon, drop it in to the water – if it sinks to the bottom, or stands on end at the bottom, it’s still good. If it floats, don’t eat it!

• Last but not least a big yellow onion, a bit mushy to the touch, a bit of mold on it. The solution is simple, cut both ends off, peel away the wrapping, and voila, you have a perfectly good onion. Maybe people don’t do this ’cause they are bad w/ knives, afraid they may cut themselves?

I think I may have to slow down on collecting stuff, i just can’t eat it fast enough, try as i might. My freezer is chock full, packed to the max, so is the refrigerator.

6/17

I’ve been vocal about how wasteful Americans are – now i know there are some downright stupid people in my apt. complex. On the way to the apt, in the stairwell ( it’s very utilitarian, an emergency exit, all concrete), I find a few empty boxes, with a flat box on top with: fruit – grapes & strawberries, several cans of sparkling lime water, a battered red onion, a peach, and a small can of pineapple slices. I scarf  most of this up. But i ask myself: who the hell just dumps their trash in the stairwell? The fruit might easily attract rats! This place ain’t cheap, so everyone here must have a good job, which requires some education, which requires some brains. And someone throws their trash in the fucking stairwell?? WTF?????

I’m sure I’ll be back in a month with more tales of suburban waste!

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