food waste

Hey, thanks neighbors!

Another month of plenty – and some sober thoughts on Memorial day weekend.

4/30 Sunday

• an almost full 24oz bag of baby carrots
• a big fat shaillot
• 4 hardboiled eggs, with the last of some easter coloring on them. OK, so Easter is over, the food coloring doesn’t diminish the eggs at all – egg salad sandwiches, here we come!
• A package of 2 huge portabella mushroom caps, 5″ wide! Think I’ll freeze one for soup later on.

5/1 Monday

• A very nice ‘Hummus Quartet’ 20 oz, 4 kinds: regular, tomato basil, roasted garlic, and ‘spicy’. Dated? 4/29, it is not even opened!
• about 1/3 of a 16 oz container of sour cream

5/6 Sat.
It’s the ‘all in one bag’, one wasteful household thing.. again.

From left to right:
• Beef Jerky
• Whole cucumber, skinned.. and then tossed out? Why?? The skin is the most nutritious part of many root vegetables! Will go great w/ hummus i found a few days ago.
• Jar of Jalapeno slices
• Guacamole!
• Feta cheese, just a bit left
• Red Salsa, supposedly mild, easy to amp up 🙂
• Dried seaweed – americans should get used to this – it’s very tasty… and very sustainable.
• The last 4 in a bag of Milano cookies.

Why do we (as a society) waste so much?
I remember a big garden ‘out back’ in Maine, and in summertime, my mom asking me to go there, and pick the veggies for dinner.
And waste was verboten – ‘finish what’s on your plate!’ – end of discussion. Period!

5/7 Sunday
Another cornucopia!

From left to right:
• Genoa salami
• Classic macaroni salad
• Swiss cheese
• Vanilla yogurt
• Arby’s curly fries, 1/3 bag
• Lotsa lettuce! a bit out of date, but plenty is still good.
• Fishsticks, now only 6 left
• Basmamti rice w/ green beans, mushrooms and a bit o’ tomato sauce
• Smucker’s snack size sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly.

Still can’t wrap my head around why so much gets sent to the trash that is still good.

Later on 5/7 Sunday
People seem to clean house, dump trash on sunday, so later in the day:
(from left to right)

• Breaded deep-fried crawfish. I would never have thought of them as human food – when bass fishing a long time ago in Maine, they were bait. They have appeared recently in Safeway seafood dept. I thought of them as being ‘southern’. Now that I have tasted them cooked this way, I am a believer – they are like small lobsters/shrimp. Yummy!
In the center, some chinese noodles/chicken/carry out.
At right, some guacamole, a bit brown at the edges, easy to scoop out what’s good, dump the rest.
At the bottom, the ‘piece de resistance’ – a king crab claw.
The shell on this sucker is really, REALLY tough – maybe that’s why it got tossed.
Apartment dweller that i am? i have few tools, but i DO have a hammer, and that’s what it took to get to the meat here. And it *was* worth it.

5/13 Sat.

Someone’s moving out!
On top of the recycling cans, a big pile of clothes, pair of Nike’s, and a bicycle helmet. Beside the dumpsters, two super size suitcases. In the dumpster:

• 2.6 oz ‘sweet and spicy’ tuna – a good sandwich
• Honey (in that cute lil bear bottle) 12 oz, 1/2 full
• Laura Scudder’s P’nut Butter – 26oz jar, 1/2 full.
• Aluminum foil, 25 ft roll, untouched
• 8 oz Trader Joe’s ‘super seed and ancient grain blend’ – very California! Sprouted buckwheat, sprouted millet, chia seed, golden flax seed, red quinoa, shelled hemp seed, and amaranth. Good stuff to add a bit to rice when I cook it up.

Not a huge haul, but well worth dragging upstairs.

Later on…

• An entire loaf of wheat bread
• Pasta Roni – angel hair – i like that, it’s very thin, easy to digest.
• Grape Nuts cereal!… goes right into my earthquake supply bags
• last but not least, a couple of necklaces(?) of flowers. Perhaps someone went to Hawaii, brought this back, but the aloha spirit died upon arriving in San Rafael? It’s really nice, i draped it over my oh-so-boring looking Epson C88 printer.

5/14 Sunday

I go to the Safeway, early, before 9AM to avoid long lines. What do i get? A sunday New York Times – i don’t need to buy any food, my neighbors have already taken care of me!

Starting at top left:

• A big wrapped package of sliced turkey, probably 2 lbs.
• Below, 5 eggs, dated Mar 22 – they still pass the ‘sink or float’ test
• Some pita chip like crackers

Center top – 1 lb of sausage – into the freezer.
• Paleo Power bowl – grilled chicken breast, Kale, Sweet potato puree Carrots, Sunflower sprouuts, Pumpkin & sesame seeds, tahini lemon dressing. ‘enjoy by 5/15’
Bottom: Asian chicken wraps
• Finally, a whole loaf of bread, interesting new variety – wheat w/ Quinoa

Well, i guess lunch for the week is taken care of 🙂

It occurs to me that marketing/advertising has alot to do w/ everything we consume.
‘Paleo Power Bowl’? WTF is that?? I think prehistoric humans ate whatever he/she could find/forage/ or kill.

As much as i enjoy saving money on food, and getting alot of variety, i feel my bounty to be somewhat depressing, in a way. I could pose a question, but it would be rhetorical: Are we really this wasteful as a culture? Obviously YES.
I live in Marin county Ca., just north of San Francisco, my studio apt and parking space cost 1800$/mo., that’s way over half my earned income, but a small inheritance and some soc. security benefits take care of the rest, with a bit of $$ to burn. And i am at the bottom of the income scale here, i guess everyone else in this apt complex can waste at will. They drive BMW’s and Lexus, SUV’s, etc. A few days ago I saw a RV/bus-like vehicle on the freeway, it was towing a large Jeep, and behind that a motorcycle.

‘He who dies with the most toys wins’ a friend used to say with a laugh.
No, on the contrary they don’t make hearses with luggage racks, do they?

I work for a business that caters to artists, documents their work, makes big digital prints. Very few of them actually make a living from their work, they are mostly playing around.
Fiddling while Rome burns.
Climate change is for real, Trump is doing everything he can to gut Obama’s good work, from making school lunches healthier to establishing Bears Ears as a national monument.

Another marketing scheme?

‘”Teriyaki power lunch”
= brown rice, cauliflower, carrots, edame beans.
All very cheap to produce, but packaged with a trendy name? — probably 3$.
Can you feel someone lubing your ass? …you should because that’s what’s going on here.There’s not even any soy/teriyaki sauce packets included!
These raw ingredients cost about 25 cents.

Why Americans Lead the World in Food Waste

“Calories are cheap and people are picky.”
Adam Chandler
Jul 15, 2016

“In my mind, the desire for perfect produce came about in the 1940s as housewives adapted to widespread refrigeration and new CPG [consumer packaged goods] products,” Eve Turow Paul, the author of A Taste of Generation Yum, writes in an email. “Suddenly, you could get a pineapple in Chicago in January. Wonderbread hit shelves a decade before. Perfection and manicured foods came to represent safety and new technology.”



• A Philipino thing – Pilinut Bar – ‘Mazapan de Pili’. Dated 3-08-17


“Although they are grown as ornamental trees in many areas of the Old World tropics of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, only the Philippines produces and processes pili nuts commercially. Production centers are located in the Bicol region, provinces of Sorsogon, Albay, and Camarines Sur, southern Tagalog, and eastern Visaya. There is no commercial planting of this crop, fruits are collected from natural stands in the mountains near these provinces. In 1977, the Philippines exported approximately 3.8 t of pili preparation to Guam and Australia.

The most important product from pili is the kernel. When raw, it resembles the flavor of roasted pumpkin seed, and when roasted, its nutty flavor and waxy texture is similar to the pine nut.

In the Philippines, pili is used in candies and brittle.

In Indonesia, especially in Minahasa and Moluccas islands, the kernels are used for making cake, bobengka in Minahasan or bubengka in Maluku. Pili kernel is also used in chocolate, ice cream, and baked goods. The largest buyers of pili nuts are in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the kernel is one of the major ingredients in one type of the famous Chinese festive desserts known as the “moon cake”.

Nutritionally, the kernel is high in manganese, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, and rich in fats and protein. It yields a light yellowish oil, mainly of glycerides of oleic (44.4 to 59.6%) and palmitic acids (32.6 to 38.2%).

The young shoots and the fruit pulp are edible. The shoots are used in salads, and the pulp is eaten after it is boiled and seasoned. Boiled pili pulp resembles the sweet potato in texture, it is oily (about 12%) and is considered to have food value similar to the avocado. Pulp oil can be extracted and used for cooking or as a substitute for cotton seed oil in the manufacture of soap and edible products. The stony shells are excellent as fuel or as porous, inert growth medium for orchids and anthurium.

The tree’s sap is also used for igniting fire, substituting gasolines.”

From left to right:

• The pili nut bar mentioned above

• Mango puree – add water, makes 1.75 liters of juice

* Frozen pIzza – all of these frozen pizzas are short on toppings, but i have tomato sauce, and at far rt., plenty of parmesan 🙂
• Coconut coffee – a powder mix, Cane sugar, coconut, colombian coffee, maltodextrin, starch. Just add 2 tablespoons to a cup of hot water, and voila, it’s done.
• Almond milk
• Hershey’s chocolate syrup (not pictured). I added the chocolate syrup to the almond milk, makes it much better.
• A whopping big jar of grated parmesan cheese – 20 oz – half full.


• a 14 oz container from whole foods of ‘grilled chicken Teriyaki rice genji sushi’.

Lots of good stuff in this besides the chicken – rice, mixed veggies (napa cabbage, red peppers, bok choy, broccoli ) a bit of soy sauce and vinegar, no artificial ingredients. But expensive? Yes – $9.49. You don’t even have to reach a calculator to figure out that this is about $10/lb.
There’s a reason people jokingly call Whole Foods ‘whole paycheck’.

• a six pack of plain bagels, 2 left. OK, bagels can be a bit tough, chewy, but much easier to spread something thick on… like almond butter… which i happen to have some of. Very tasty but very thick. I serrate the bagel a bit, to let anything added sink in upon microwaving, add some butter, then the almond butter. Yum. Yum. Yum.


A big , BIG planter with some kind of tropical-type plant outside the dumpster signals ‘someone’s moving’. In the dumpster, a bag w/ 4 planters (about 8″ diameter, 8″ deep) w/ various ‘drought resistant’ succulents, tossed out haphazardly, kind of falling apart. I like giving discarded plants a new lease on life – most of the time, they will respond with love and beauty.

The 2 orchids i took in many months ago did that, i suspect these new orphans will too. All of the plants i have were orphaned too. Now they are thriving.

As for food?
Half of a whole baked chicken, some celery, a few flat bread wraps.
I pry off all the large chunks of good meat off the chicken, simmer the rest for chicken stock, over-nite, long time.
Celery? looks nasty, but upon further inspection…

Here’s where with a knife and a bit of work, there’s plenty of good stuff left.
One more thing – 1/3 a 24oz bottle of Trader Joe’s Classico tomato meat sauce. I’m scratchin’ my head – why is this trash??

5/27 Sat.

• Pizza!

Who the hell throws out this much good pizza??

My only answer can be ‘a total idiot’


• Hamburger buns – 4 left out of a pack of 8.
• Yogurt – 2 – vanilla
• Blueberry Preserve
• Triple cheddar cheese
• Jalapeno flavored cheddar dip. You don’t have to use it s a dip – it can be used as a ‘spread’ in a sandwich or burrito.

Memorial day weekend is upon us, we are supposed to be remembering the fallen who have given their all to keeping us free, democratic, a government ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’.
Fine, but does this give us the license or right to waste the way we do? I think you already know the answer i would respond to this with.
I remember a guy who played football on my front lawn, Joe Wheeler. He was always the best player, football, baseball. He came back from ‘Nam in a body bag. His brother came back w/ a severe case of PTSD.

As long as i have quoted a small part of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, you should be given the opportunity to take all of it in.

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

One thing that leapt out at me after reading this long page was how varied the accounts ( five – count ’em – five!) and manuscripts of the G’burg address there were.
‘Manuscript’ – the word comes from latin – manu= hand
script = (of course) written/writing

‘Varied accounts’ is NOT the same as ‘alternate facts’ = fake news.

Keep plenty of salt nearby, and toss it over your shoulder regularly. It’s  a necessity these days.