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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Same Place, New Loot

Well Im glad I decided to go again tonight because I found lots of good stuff. I tried a couple new places and it paid off. Im still learning where to you can go and what kind of stuff you can find at each place. I recovered a variety of items from several places tonight, including:

1 case Dr. Pepper
1 snack tray(cheese,sausage,crackers)
1 bottle ketchup
2 bags hamburger buns
1 tub spinach artichoke dip
8oz block pepper jack cheese
16oz package delux american cheese slices
1 pizza lunchable
.5lb bag spaghetti noodles
1 bag apples and oranges
2lb bag self rising flour
9 jars maxwell house instant coffee
1 family size box frozen waffles
1 potato
1 coconut
1 red onion
1 yellow squash
1 package apple sauce
1 package pomegranate apple sauce

5 nut job candy bars
1 bag pistachios
2 chocolate cookie tins
18 6pack candy eggs
2 hannah montana candy eggs
1 sponge bob easter basket
1 box benadryl
1 bottle mucinex
1 box alka seltzer liquid gels
1 box durex condoms
4 tubes super glue
1 pencil case
1 pack hair clips

1 Microsoft wireless keyboard

Going to the same places two nights in a row again reminds me that things will be thrown out every single day. No matter what, there will always be stuff in dumpsters wherever you go... There is an endless supply of everythig for those willing to take it. I want to find a way to make these items available to people who need them. I hate leaving stuff behind that someone could use, just because I dont have room in the car; I need to find a way to make things more accessible...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So. Much. Food.

I took my friend Alicia with me on her first big dive, and it was a good first night indeed. We went because we need food for the feast on Thursday night. We went to the three stores that I frequent, but were a little disappointed with the first two. When we got to the third one, we had to throw out some stuff in my car to make room in the trunk and back seat because there was so much stuff!

Once again, I was baffled by the amount of food that we recovered last night, once we got back and sort ed everything out. It only took us about two hours to go to all three stores, get back home, take inventory, clean and put away everything.

Last night we managed to recover:

1 bag Cape Cod chips
1 bag Ruffles
2 6pack Nutra Fit drinks
5 1/2 gal. bottles green tea
1qt. bottle Minute Maid pomegranate blueberry juice
1qt. bottle Simply Lemonade
4 packages Crackling cornbread mix
3 boxes chicken flavor gravy&dumpling mix
1 box pilsbury toaster strudles
1lb box Country Crock sticks
1 box TGIFriday's potato skins
1 box Stauffers spinach souffle
1 pizza lunchables
4 boxes Lean Cuisine vegetable eggroll frozen meal
1 case(8 cups) yoplait yogurt
1 box croissants
1 apple danish
1 deli ham for slicing (for Basil cat)
1 deli turkey for slicing ("")
4 bags yogurt covered raisins
4 bags dried tropical fruit medley
6 bags dried mango
6 bags slivered toasted almonds
2 tubes Pilsbury grands cinnamon rolls
4 cans Dr Pepper
1 can mixed nuts
1 package Kraft singles
1 17.5lb bag dog food (for Basil)
1 50lb. bag cat litter
2 bags caesar salad mix
2 heads iceberg lettuce
1 bag naval oranges
6 conventional oranges
2 bags broccoli carrot mix
1 bag chopped broccoli
1 bag cut romaine lettuce
6 packages cut dates
1 package button mushroos
11 potatoes
3 2lb bags carrots
1 bag italian mix lettuce
2 4oz. packages blueberries
3 bunches (~20) bananas
7 bartlett pears
7 avocados
19 lemons
1 lime
5 red peppers
4 tomatoes
1 sweet onion
5 grapefruit
7 cucumbers
1 green pepper
3 yellow peppers
3 pouches shallots
6 sweet potatoes
6 yellow squash
19 assorted apples
1 tangelo
1 bunch celery

Remember that there was, and most often is, still more that we could have taken home; there was just no more room in the car. There was also a lot of stuff from the day before that would have been great to get if we had gone that night, so I may go out again tonight to see what more I can find. Im looking forward to cooking some delicious new recipes for Thursday's feast!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Warm weather's here!

I went a few nights ago and forgot write a post... I found:

12 assorted apples
3 tomatoes
5 tangelos
2 oranges
2 grapefruits
3 lemons
3 green peppers
4 yellow squash
2 potatoes
1 sweet potato
3 bags baby carrots
2 pears
1 container chopped chives
1 package plain hummus
2 boxes croissants
1 8x10 chocolate cake
1 baguette
1 bottle organic mustard
1 package chocolate chip muffins
1 package chocolate cake shells

I had another feast on Thursday night. I cooked a tons of food and it seemed to be just the right amount. I made citrus-ade with all the citrus fruits, which was really tasty. I also made a delicious apple crumble with all the apples we found. There is always a lot of squash, peppers, tomatoes and citrus in the dump, now that spring has arrived. I worry about the scorching days pf summer when the bins become ovens that the garbage bakes in... I dont really wanna try to pull out food from that smelly mess.. guess we'll see when summer rolls around.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New dives

Yesterday I decided to continue cleaning out my fridge and cabinets by making more food. surprise, surprise! I have been trying to clear out the fridge because things keep getting pushed to the back or stuck in the freezer. I have been wanting to clean out my kitchen and start over again with fresh stuff from the dumpsters, so Ive been getting creative and making new foods again. So.. here are a few recipes I made up over the last couple days:

Pizza Pitas

Pita pockets
spaghetti sauce

I used some mini pockets I have had in the freezer for these. I mixed together some grated mild cheddar and parmesean, and pulled apart some whole milk mozzarella that had started to grow some mold. (BTW cheese keeps forever.. almost. If there is mold on it you can simply wash it off! or cut it off if you're really sketched out by mold..) To this cheese blend, i mixed in some italian herbs and chili powder. I stuffed the pockets with cheese, spooned some sauce in, and stuck em in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes. Very simple.. guess i didnt really "make up" the recipe, but ive never made them and they turned out well. Great snack for entertaining...

Ginger-Mango-Pear-Pineapple Pie

I LOVE to make pies. Over the winter I discovered an incredibly easy and versatile recipe for fruit pies and I have made some really great ones since then. This one will go in my recipe box because it turned out delicious!

Pie Crust Dough
2 cups flour
6 oz butter(cold)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup water(ice cold)

Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Cut butter in cubes and add to flour mix. add water slowly as you blend ingredients. Its very important to not add too much water or to over work the dough. As you mix them, fold the dough over and spread it out, fold it over and spread it out, so it creates many layers. When it looks like pie crust dough, youre done. wrap it up and keep it cold at all times. You can keep it in the freezer until you need to use it another time. ( It took me many, many tries to get this right, so dont get discouraged if it doesnt turn out perfect the first time.)

Pie filling
3 mangoes
1 asian pear
1 can crushed pineapple
3 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground ginger
tiny sprinkle of cinnoman and nutmeg

Roll out part of the dough, form it in to a buttered pie dish, and pour in the mix. Roll out a pie top, crimp the overlaying edges together, and cut slits in the top for hot air to escape. I like to put an egg wash or something on the top so it gets golden and shiny, but its not necessary. Put it an a preheated 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes til crust and top have browned and filling is bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes befor cutting. Mmmmmm...

I have gone to many dumpsters in my day, but for some reason I always stick to the grocery stores for getting what I need. I guess that since Ive been running out of things like soap and shampoo, Ive been realizing the need to expand my diving territory. I have been checking pharmacies lately and have found that they have almost as much valuable stuff in their trash as any grocery store. It makes me wonder what other kinds of stores have great dumps that I have not considered yet.. Im gonna have to start thinking bigger, checking more places out to see what they have. I learned last night that there is nearly nothing that cant be found in dumpsters.. you just have to be patient and look hard.

Last night's findings include:

12 pouches honey roasted cashews
1 can dark chocolate covered jumbo cashews
2 packages cappuccino almond cookies
1 bottle moisturizing lotion
1 compact eye shadow
1 pack elastic headbands
1 5x7 picture frame
1 package woman's underwear(adult diapers)
1 box keytone care test strips
left handed titanium driver
giant wooden porch umbrella

I also stumbled across the pharmacy's trash bag containing all the discarded pill bottles and such, where I was able to recover a few items.. but i wont get in to too much detail about it, as it is probably highly illegal!
Since I have been finding far more stuff lately than I or my friends could ever use, it has been suggested that I bring my left overs to organizations like Food Not Bombs or a food bank. I think its a great idea and will have to talk to some people in the community to find out more about where I can help the most by donating my findings. Anyone have ideas? Let me know!!
Everything that I cant donate will end up on craigslist for free or at my yard sale whenever it happens. If ever you want something on the list, let me know! Ill probably give it to you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More than just food..

So tonight I hosted another feast. It had a small turnout since its a Thursday night... I decided to do it tonight because I have so much food from last week, and last night we found a bunch of food as well. Tonight I made a new recipe(or so I thought) for cheese and squash casserole. Here is the recipe:

yellow squash
and onion
cheese( I used mild cheddar)
bread crumbs

I diced an onion and sauteed it while I chopped the squash and grated the cheese. When the onion was done I put it with the squash in to a buttered casserole dish. I then sprinkled some flour and spices on it and mixed in the cheese with it all. Once it was blended well, I mixed some parmesean cheese with the bread crumbs and sprinkled it on top of it all. Bake at around 400 for 15 or so minutes til its bubbly on the sides and crisp on top. Yummy!

This is a list of our findings. Even though we didn't get much food, we found other stuff to make up for it...

3 bags hamburger buns
3 loaves multigrain bread
10 bananas
3 tomatoes
7 yellow squash
1 8" supreme pizza
1 package Oscar Meyer balogna
2 bags chipped carrots
1 case (10)frozen meatloaves
2 limes
2 artichokes
1 package diced green onions
1 carton cut pineapple
2 bags lettuce mix

5 hyacynth bulbs
3 tulip bulbs
1 gazebo tent
1 rabbit stuffed animal

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Tonight I got more food than I ever have at once before. I made a deal with my friend that if the first place we went didn't have anything good, we would stop at the next one. We found a good load and agreed to head home, but since the next store was sort of on the way, I convinced him to tag along to the second store. There wasn't much at the second one, so we decided to head home with our loot. The third store that I frequent also happened to be on the way home, so I decided to just stop and look. The first dumpster was full of garbage and nothing I that I could see was worth digging for so I pulled up the the second one to take a look inside. I was shocked to see the amount of food in there... I was delighted and disgusted to find that many of the dates on the packages and jars are good for the rest of the month, until July, October... until next year!? I don't understand why so much perfectly good food is thrown away every day, for no apparent reason. The packages are intact and seals remain unbroken. It makes no sense to me... I often wonder what someone from a slum in India or a refugee from Sudan would think if they spent a night with me. The amount of food that is wasted every day is beginning to become clearer to me and it brings me to tears to think of the number of people around the world who starve to death every single day when there is an amount of waste that you cant imagine without seeing it every night. I think that my calling in life is becoming clearer too.. to develop practices for growing local foods so that we don't need Taj Mateeters everywhere to be stocked by factory farms that use tons of natural resources, chemicals and pesticides to grow food that ends up in landfills, making it bad for the consumer, bad for the planet, and bad for everyone who will come after we are all dead. Still, tomorrow there will be more food in that same dumpster and more every day after that. This is why I know I will never have to worry about having food again.
This brings me to the evolving idea of my community refrigerator. Much of the food was stuff like hot pockets, frozen pasta dinners and pizzas; stuff with sausage and other yucky meat that I don't eat. I usually cook a feast on Sunday evenings and invite everyone over for dinner, but I still end up throwing away lots of food that spoils before I or the neighbors can eat it. So, Ive been inviting my friends and family to come to my refrigerator to take whatever they need. Since lots of my friends are out of jobs now, its a good opportunity for us to get together and eat tons of good food without worrying about any cost or consequences of eating up your week's ration. In fact, i encourage anyone to come by for lunch or dinner or whatever any time Im home. I love to cook for people and I have a virtually unlimited supply of food. If I could just find a way to get paid to cook for my friends... I also encourage the reader to ask me questions about anything. I am very interested to get many peoples thoughts on what I write. Do you want something from the list? Can you host a cook out? Do you have a diving story to share? I'm interested in hearing what you have to say!

So here is the two pages of stuff that I wrote down:

4 Totino's pizzas
3 boxes Eggo waffles
2 boxes texas toast
1 box pilsbury easter cookies
2 packages pilsbury chocolate chip cookies
3 boxes hot pockets
1 box french toast sticks
1 package yeast rolls
2 packages sliced meunster cheese
10oz block white cheddar cheese
1 box jimmy dean sausage pancake corn dog things
2 Michelena's microwave dinners
3 boxes parkay
3 lbs butter
1lb I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
1 tub Country Crock
1lb olive oil butter spread
1lb country crock sticks
3lbs Blue Bonnett
2 boxes french bread pizza
1 box anytizer chicken fries
3 jars shaved parmesean cheese
1 tube pilsbury crecent rolls
3 bags hamburger buns
1 cheese&cracker snack platter
1 10 inch apple pie
1 12 inch coconut custard pie
1lb sliced Kraft deli cheese
1 5lb bag sugar
1 gal. minute made berry punch
1 package sliced portabella mushrooms
1 package button mushrooms
2 packages exotic muchroom blend
4 bags romaine lettuce
1 cabbage
2 bags baby carrots
5 white onions
1 red onion
1 yellow onion
1 bag apples
4 mangoes
3 peaches
1 plum
2 pears
15 limes
5 lemons
2 grapefruit
4 tangelo
1 horned melon
4 tomatoes
2 jalapenos
2 tomatillios
1 bottle of windex

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Today I stopped by one of the usual spots on the way home, one that I went to last night, and was pleased as ever to discover a treasure trove of delightful morsels. One of the best parts about dumpster diving is that you never know what you will find. Its like combing the beach each morning for shells and bits of coral. Some mornings you only find a scallop shell but other mornings will turn up two starfish, a sand dollar, ten scallop shells and a conch. Whenever I come across a good find its like Christmas morning. Often times there is so much stuff that I have to pick out just the best and freshest so that I can fit it in my kitchen. Each time I go on a trip I learn something new; like always bring a pair of gloves to dig with, a flashlight to see with, and a towel to wipe stuff with. Tonight, I realized that I will not ever have to worry about having food again. Despite my visiting the same spot on consecutive nights, I found loads of really good stuff, including:

2 containers Garden Fresh Gourmet peach mango salsa
8 1/2 gal. cartons Minute Made and Tropicana juices
1 pineapple
6 boxes assorted Eggo waffles
1 Primo Thin supreme pizza
5 boxes Corner Bistro paninis
2 boxes Lean Cuisine paninis
1 package egg roll wraps
3lb bag setak cut fries
1 package organic baby spinach
1 16oz bottle Simply Limeade
1 bottle steak sauce
1 bottle steak seasoning
1 box Pepridge Farm texas toast

Monday, April 6, 2009

Diving Solo

Tonight I was supposed to be working on an assignment, so I was looking for anything to distract me... so I decided to go for a dive. I couldnt find anyone to go with me, so I took a break from trying to write the paper and went alone. I got quite a bit from the places I went, but Im figuring out that unless you go very regularly, its harder to tell what is from today and what was thrown out yesterday.. its sort of a hassle to check dates on everything when you're alone in the dumpster, flashlight in mouth, full bag hanging off your shoulder, digging with on hand and picking out stuff with the other, all the while keeping an eye out over your shoulder for any shenanigans... Its always better to have a buddy or two when you go diving so you can get a little assembly line going. Someone to get in and hand things off to someone else who is waiting to wipe off anything yucky and organize it in the car. So here is what I got from the three places I went:

2 bags romaine hearts
2 jars organic dill pickles
6 jars Classico Four Cheese tomato sauce (one jar in the case broke, so the entire thing was tossed)
7 packages sliced colby jack
4 packages sliced gouda
2 packages Philadelphia cream cheese
1lb block cheddar
12oz block extra sharp cheddar
half of a Hormel ham for slicing (to become cat food)
most of a turkey breast for slicing (also for meow)
1 package pork chops("")
1 package Avtivia yogurt
1 Mrs. Smith's Cinnabon apple crumb pie
2 5lb bags sugar
1 bag pecan date granola
1 box fruity pebbles
1 box oven ready brownies
1 bottle ketchup
2 boxes 30ct garbage bags
1 box sandwich bags
1 can fancy feast cat food
1 large bag cat litter

I was wondering earler today what I was gonna do when I ran out of garbage bags. Its one of the things that you need to have around, but never think about having to buy... and today Basil ran out of cat food, so he was excited to get a ham dinner and im sure will be equally as excited to enjoy the five pound turkey breast! Just goes to show that you never know what you will find and that nothing is beyond ending up in a dumpster somewhere...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I went back to the park yesterday to pick more violets. It had rained for the two previous days, so there were tons of flowers popping up everywhere. As I was sitting in the grass with the wind whipping around through the trees, the birds singing their little hearts out, and bees frantically collecting as much nectar and pollen as they can, I sort of drifted away into my thoughts. In my trance I realized that there is nothing I love more that being outside. To be more accurate, I love gathering food or ingredients from nature. I am pretty sure that I want to become a specialist in hunting/gathering; nothing seems more natural to me than a man sustaining himself from what nature provides. So through my recent endeavors I have been able to develop a better idea of where I want to end up in life. And it feels good.

We were able to pick about 8 cups of flowers, so Ill be able to make about 4 more pints of syrup. I think Im gonna do half syrup and try a jelly recipe with the other half. Ill let you all know how it turns out!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another Day, Another Dive, Another Adventure

Last night's dive was very fruitful. We went to two stores for food and got quite a bit of good stuff. In fact, there was so much that we only took the best stuff, leaving tons of food for someone else to happen upon. From the first two places we managed to collect:

4 loaves Sara Lee white bread
2 packs Hawaiian King savory rolls
6 boxes of croissants
1 bag bagels
1 loaf Italian brad
1 bag sub buns
3 packs red bean chili
2 tubs macaroni salad
1 tub cole slaw (use by 4/23)
3 bags Pepito flour tortillas
3 bottles cocktail sauce
3 frozen mac&cheese dinners
1 blueberry pie
2 boxes sliced blueberry cake
1 package sweet corn on cob
3 yellow squash
5 large tomatoes
4 bell peppers- yellow, green, and orange

The most interesting part of the evening came later when I went on a bike ride with a friend. We ended up downtown and decided to ride through the area outside the courthouse with all the steps and ramps. We were chillin with our drink when I noticed a guard rushing down a flight of steps on the other side of the courtyard, so we jetted outta there before he came to bother us. After a while of riding around we stopped check out a bin near the train station. After my friend pulled out a trash bag filled with police bike helmets, I decided to jump in and have a look around. I never expected to see a samurai sword laying on top of the bags of trash. I was a little disappointed when I picked it up and realized that it is wooden... There was not really anything else in there of interest, so I climbed out and we went behind the dumpsters to try on some helmets and figure out what to do with them.
Unfortunately, right after we found some that fit and stowed a few in our packs, a security guard walked around the corner. Hoping he would just pass by, we stood quietly behind the bins, but he saw our bikes and started poking around. When he heard us grabbing our bikes, he started shouting at us to come out. So we did, in our helmets, toting a samurai sword. I guess he was not expecting us to walk out like that with our bikes, because he immediately grabbed his radio and called his back up. Hand on his mace, he made us put our bikes against the wall and started asking questions about what we were doing. We told him that we were just looking for something to eat and stumbled across the bag of helmets and sword. I guess he didn't believe us because he wanted to grill us about our information and stuff. By this time his backup had arrived and the role for officer Williams on Reno 911 may as well have been based on her. It was clear that she didn't care and wanted to let us go but Smith, the other douche bag, decided he wanted to call the po pos. Since it took the cops several minutes, we chatted with them about a few things: if the heat would arrive sooner if we had guns, how awkward it would be if we ran in to Smith at the grocery store.. i think it was really frustrating Mr. Smith because he walked down to the end of the parking lot, presumably looking for the heat. "Williams" was like "I would just let y'all go.." and I said "Girl i feel sorry for you, havin to work with him." She just smiled and rolled her eyes. When Smith got back he said "Alright, you guys scram. I don't know where they are.." so we hopped on our bikes (sword in tote) and got the hell outta there. We immediately turned down a dark alley and went behind some buildings, just in time to see two cop cars speed by towards the depot and another one a minute later. Deciding we had done enough for one evening, we returned to Paisley, making sure to steer clear of any piggies who might be on the lookout for us.


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