Thursday, November 29, 2007
Pantry Basics-Day Four and Gleaning Freegan Style
I'll tell you what we ate today and how much it cost in a minute. First I'm going to tell you all about how I came to have all of these gigantic loaves of artisan bread on my table. It will make more sense perhaps if you go and read this post by No Impact Man called Teach a Man to Dumpster Dive, and Feed Him for Life. Be sure and watch the video too.
The idea of salvaged foods is hardly new to me. I shop at salvage grocery stores, I glean wild growing things, and I used to know people who collected salvage food, which is a euphemism for perfectly good food that would otherwise be tossed in a dumpster, and distribute it through food banks and shelters.
Last night I was walking the baby, and trying to get her to sleep with her cranky cold and happened to be walking past the front of Paniera (which is this great bakery restaurant chain) a little while after they closed. I saw a kid cart 4 gigantic bags to the dumpster and toss them in. Only they didn't look like garbage, they looked like bread. So I went a little bit closer and saw that there were two more bags sitting next to the door. So I asked him. "Is that bread?"
I eyed the loaves through the double layer of clear plastic bags encasing them.
"Is there anything wrong with it? Is it edible?"
"Oh yeah it's fine, we throw out bread at least three nights a week because it's a day old."
"Do you have to throw it out? Like, will you get into trouble if you don't?"
"No. We used to have someone come and pick it up. But lots of times he doesn't come."
"Well, I'll take it." I said.
And then I tried to pick up a bag of bread to carry home on the stroller and almost broke my back. It was really heavy. There was no way I could get it home.
So I grabbed a smaller bag of pastries and told him I'd be back.
I walked the 6 blocks back to our house and told the GH to grab the car and head over to get some bread. By the time he got there the place was locked up and there were no bags so he checked the dumpster and found a large bag of bread, sealed of course, sitting right on top. So he grabbed it and brought it home.
Those brown loaves in the middle are $8 loaves of bread. They are larger than a newborn, heavier too. Those baguettes are all whole wheat. This bread is made without preservatives and all of the unhealthy additives in most grocery store loaves, which is why they throw it out every few days. Think about how long bread sits on the shelves at the grocery store. Paniera is an artisan bakery that makes top quality stuff. I now have over $100 worth of gourmet bread that was baked fresh yesterday morning in my house. I put as much as would fit in the freezer. We're eating some before it goes bad, and the rest will go to family, friends, and whomever else wants it. The thing is, there were 5 other bags of food that were tossed last night, by that one store. The mind boggles to think of how much food is wasted every day across this nation.
I'm going to do some research and see if there is a place near by that would be willing to distribute it if we were to pick it up, like a Food Bank. Now I wonder what's in the trash behind the grocery store.
Okay today's menu.
Scrambled eggs-We get a dozen large for $1.19 at Trader Joe's. I used 5. $0.50
Whole grain toast-free
Snack-Yogurt with nectarine jam mixed in, about 1 tsp per bowl. $0.60
Peanut Butter on thick slabs of bread with spinach and oranges on the side. (That combination is on purpose. The vitamin C in the oranges helps the body absorb the iron and nutrients in the spinach.) After I shot this picture I decided to add sliced bananas on top of the peanut butter.
Total cost of lunch $0.80
For dinner I made corn tortillas, without a tortilla maker. I don't recommend it. It's time consuming and the tortillas don't hold together very well. This is my third attempt and they still aren't turning out well. I'm keeping my eyes open for a thrift store tortilla press, but no luck so far. When I consider that I can get 100 tortillas for less than 5 dollars around here and the bag of flour was about $3, this is one item that I'm not sure is worth it to make at home. Though it did taste wonderful.
I soaked black beans over night and then cooked them all day in the crockpot with onion, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, habanero sauce, and oregano.
I removed about half of the beans from the pot with a slotted spoon, sliced some mini peppers I found hanging out at the back of the fridge, and added the leftover corn from last night, sprouts, yogurt, instead of sour cream, and salsa. We had vegetarian tacos, and used up leftovers at the same time.
16 corn tortillas-$0.50
black beans cooked from dried-$0.50
corn-already added up last night
Total cost of dinner $2.60
Total cost for the day $5.89