Friday, October 31, 2014

Hey hey dumpster diving dumpster diving, hey hey diving into a dumpster

I was just on a really cool educational neighborhood walk as part of this recent attempt to actually metamorphasis into my mother sustainability course that I've been doing lately. We went...well, on a dumpster dive.

That's a perfectly gorgeous woodcarving that someone threw out!!!
You still there?

Ok, now that I've rid myself of 10% of my lurkers, let me tell you about this dumpster dive, and explain what it has to do with this blog.

You see, it wasn't *really* a dumpster dive, in the sense that you may be thinking of dumpster dives. That is, the instructor did actually go into dumpsters. But she didn't dive, she took out a bag at a time, nobody got gross or dirty, and the goal was not to take home furniture, food, or other people's trash (though a one of the folks did indeed take home a perfectly good bucket.)

The goal was to talk about garbage, see how much people threw out, and try to reduce the amount we throw out in our own personal lives.

Allow myself to get up on my soapbox for a bit here [gets up on soapbox]:

We, as a people, throw out way too damn stuff. Israel is THE SECOND WORST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD in terms of throwing out food (USA is worse. Haha.)  We think of recycling as a panacea. It's not. As I learned today, it's a red herring. No, it's worse than a red herring. It's a justification to buy more stuff  - and we throw out so. Much. Shit.

It's not about the environment. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that I don't give a rat's ass about the environment. It's about the five-year-olds in China who are sent to work so you can have a new iphone (NO AUTOCORRECT I'M NOT GOING TO CAPITALIZE THE SECOND LETTER.) It's about sweatshops where people can die or lose limbs because they are working in an unsafe environment. It's about rich people at the top of big companies getting rich off of the backs of their workers who are paid minimum-wage because they pulled off the hoax of selling something that FALLS FREE FROM THE SKY, put it in a bottle, and sell it to you for money! It's about living in a world where marriage, friendships, life, and belongings are disposable - where you can just go out and buy another of everything because everything is cheap and nothing has any value. 

Throwing out less isn't just about all of that. It's about living in a world where you know where your vegetables come from and that they weren't coated in wax to make them shinier, where your garbage doesn't disappear from sight the second it leaves your bin, where things have real value and meaning, and real furry creatures from Alpha Centauri are REAL furry creatures from Alpha Centauri!!!

[pant pant pant.]
Let's talk about food for a second here, and let's talk about throwing out food, and not throwing out food. 

We saw a ridiculous amount of food get thrown out on the streets of Jerusalem. We saw a perfectly good package of Tim-Tams (one brave soul even ate one), we saw a package of bread that looked FINE (see my last rant about my opinion on throwing out bread), we saw a really fancy leftover sandwich that hadn't been touched, and  tons and tons of pineapple ends.

I'm going to say this once, and I'm going to state it loud and clear: I FIRMLY BELIEVE FOOD SHOULD NEVER BE THROWN OUT. See my soap box above for more information, but really, it's not about the starving children in Africa. This time. 

There are. So. Many. Good. Things to be made with leftover food. Even at the end, when it's truly gone to meet its maker - it should get composted, not thrown out. Becuase you see, decomposed food turns into compost, and compost gets used to grow new food, and the circle of life continues.
Just without the evil foreshadowing bit

You see, you might not have realized this, but this blog has an Agenda. That's right. I said it. In my ideal world, we would live in that romanticized time in which people didn't throw out clothes - they repaired them until you couldn't repair them anymore.  And then they made them into rags. And then into rag dolls. And then rag carpets. And then finally into wicks, and that's how they kept warm the whole long cold winter. 

So, same thing with food. 

Therefore, I'm going to give you a short list of things you can do with leftover food, and if you don't have time and inclination, give it to me, and I will eat for free for the rest of my life. (That's actually not my agenda. My agenda is for less food to get thrown out. But hey, this is good too.)

Bread -->frozen bread (stays good for ages. Freezers and microwaves are your friends) croutons ◊ bread soup (yum) ◊ bread crumbs bread pudding 
◊ french toast, and thanks to Bishul Bezol for the suggestion

Leftover or bad Wine --> french onion soup ◊ mulled wine ◊ soups ◊ stews 

Almost rotten Milk --> homemade yogurt (blog post pending) ◊ homemade cheese ◊ muffins ◊ cornbread  ◊ pancakes

Tiny bit of leftover Cheese --> freeze (stays good forever) ◊ pizza ◊ pasta ◊ quiche 

Leftover tiny bit of Meat that you don't know what to do with --> Soup ◊ stew ◊ pot pie ◊ burritos

Stale Cookies/cakes --> (First of all, what are you doing with leftover cake? But if you are, then make) trifle ◊ bread pudding ◊ tiramisu   

Dying Fruit --> jams ◊ dried fruit ◊ chop, freeze, make into smoothies

Dying Veg --> a soup. Always a soup. Or pickled things. But it's cold, so now all I can think of is soup.  

Etc. etc. I could go on. But I think you get the basic idea? Or do I have to preach more to the choir? 

Please send on more ideas, and I will update this list. But basically? Please don't throw food out. There were starving children in the Holocaust.   


  1. French toast! It's a double win using both old bread and dying milk. Pancakes are also great for dying milk.
    Dying fruit can be cleaned and frozen and then turned into fruit smoothies at your convenience.
    Useful list!

  2. ooo, good one. Never thought about pancakes with dying milk. Thanks.