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Saturday, September 4, 2010

SAFARI! Accidental, really!

Okay, you know I would nevvver eat anything from a dumpster. What? Uhhh, you want to know why I have a special name for dumpster diving if I never do it. Uhhh…never mind. I didn’t ask for questions! Just listen.

There are boxes in the dumpsters. I just happened to need a box to mail a package too large for the flat rate boxes at the PO. So, I went behind the bookstore and found the perfect box just by looking in. I didn’t have to dig or search or make decisions. The box nearest the door and on top was perfect.

Someone had put other boxes and bubble wrap inside my box. As I was taking all this out and nicely placing it back into the dumpster, well, you won’t believe this—There, in the bottom of the box were individual-size packages of snacks. Everything was priced.

13 packages of tortilla chips made with sweet potato ($.99 each)

1 Multigrain snack package ($.99 each)

                       (Ingredients: flax, sunflower, sesame seeds, oat flour, brown rice, quinoa, soy)

1 canister of Pomegranate Vanilla Red Tea— enough to brew 35 cups ($9.99)

Total Value:

13 x $.99=$12.87

1x$.99= $.99

1x$9.99= $9.99

Subtotal= $23.87

Sales tax= $2.02

Total= $25.87

Yes, I live in a state that charges sales tax on food. That is lots to find, all clean, and fairly fresh, food thrown out and wasted!

There is a best-before date—04-Sept-10. Ooooh, that’s today. I really don’t expect them to taste bad tomorrow and worse the day after. The date is for freshness. They are not going to spoil and be inedible anytime soon.

Even if these were on your shelves at home and went past the date, you would eat them. I would. The only thing that I can imagine happening is that the chips might not be as crisp. At any rate, crisp or not, chips can be crushed and used for breading after meat or vegetables have been dredged in egg or buttermilk. They could be added, crushed, to meatballs or meatloaf. Surely, you can think of many uses for less-than-crispy chips.

Okay, you must know that I taste-tested one of the sweet potato snack packages just as soon as I got the car started. The tasting was all for you, just so you would know how it tasted. I just ate the last chip and there was maybe a vague, distant sweet potato taste. Maybe! Mostly, I detected a sweet taste.

Since I don't care for hot tea, I will brew the Pomegranate Vanilla Red tea and put it over ice. If it is not sweet enough, I will add stevia.

And, I am not fooled into thinking all this is healthy for me! And, it is not low-calorie fare. I am not sure how I am going to keep from devouring all this just because it’s here. The friend to whom I will give the lion’s share of this will not be here for another ten days. So, maybe boxing most of it and taping it up with lots of duct tape will work.

Send your thoughts from the ends of the earth talking me out of eating these myself. I lost 1 ¼ lb this last week and need to do much better. Life being fat is not fun.

Would you eat these packages just placed in a clean box in the dumpster? Why not? Do you eat food past the best-by date?


  1. Many people raid (clean) dumpsters for food. In my callow youth, my boyfriend and I used to make after-dark forays to the dumpsters behind the day-old bread store, which were used for nothing BUT wrapped, perfectly clean two-day-old bread. We used to find things like wrapped Orowheat rye bread, wheat bread, and ordinary balloon bread. I don't eat Orowheat any more -- it's full of high-fructose corn syrup -- but in those days we didn't know any better. Tasted good to us, and the price was right.

    Later in life, a friend who was a full professor of zoology learned that grocery stores will throw out perfectly good produce for no other reason than that it's been on the shelf for a day or two. There's nothing wrong with it: it hasn't spoiled; it hasn't been damaged. Somehow he and his wife found out when they dumped the stuff, and they used to grab it. They basically filled their fridge with free produce.

    "Sell by" dates are not the same as dates by which a product spoils. This is especially true of highly processed foods, which are full of preservatives. But even fresh products like milk and eggs are safe to eat long after a "sell by" date. The "expiration" date" or "use by" date is another matter: that's the date by which a product may no longer be safe to consume.

    In this country, enormous amounts of food are thrown out for no good reason. I'm not sure I'd call what you're describing "food" -- at best, it's junk food -- but when you're broke, anything that'll fill your belly without immediately poisoning you is of value.

  2. are so right. My denial was just tongue in cheek. I have gotten milk still cold, dheese, butter, yogurt, and beginning to sweat, eggs--same thing, frozen meat, organic produce, flowers, gift cards, plants,helium balloons minus the helium, loads of vegetables and fruit, clothing.

    I am not shy about advertising to the world what i get!!! Thank you so much for your comment and stories of your days of safaris in the dead of night.

    Apples sometimes have a dent. One stalk of celery had a broken rib. What crimes did the 10 or 15 lbs of lemons commit?

    At times, I have given all this to five friends. I will cook it AND feed it to people. Some is frozen--all the lemon juice and the still-frozen meat. I left several dozen gallons of perfectly good milk.

    Finally, I started just leaving the bakery stuff since it was bad for my weight. Oh, one night the Krispy Kreme man gave the about a bushel of donuts. I was in heaven and when traveling the interstate would stop and get bags from the dumpster (alternative storage container-->ASC) He put them in a clean bag, tied it up, and it was always on top of everything.

    I love it! oh, yeah--unopened makeup that I gave away!

    As I go along I will share my exploits. I love your post!


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