Monthly Archives: April 2012

I was gonna throw it away anyway…


This past week, Shiva and I were discussing the orange juice he brought with him when he moved in and the bottom line. It was just taking up room in our┬árefrigerator┬ábecause the brand I buy is WAY tastier than the brand he brought with him. After purchasing three cartons of my OJ brand since his arrival, I proposed getting rid of the extra large jug of the OJ we had yet to open. He agreed with me as he had on our very first “date” that the food we would be ousting couldn’t possibly find its way into a trash can.
Let me back up. Before we were a couple we went on this trip to an art festival. I guess it might technically not have been a date as our roommate came along (at the urging of Shiva, not that I minded his presence, the roommate was apparently aware of our affections long before we were and maybe was a core ingredient to bringing us together.) Anyway, we were walking around and finally the scent of carnival food go to us and the three of us were meandering through the vendor aisle attempting to figure out what to eat. We came across an Indian food vendor harboring such sweetness as pakoras, grape leaves, curried chicken, mmm and other South Asian goodness. Our roommate, a vegetarian declined my invitation to share the deluxe meal, but Shiva took me up and we found ourselves stuffed with over half our plate left. Neither of us could justify throwing the food in the trash when the location of our art festival also happened to be our towns center of homelessness. And after arguing over who would be the one to hand over our leftovers to the homeless people on the steps of the courthouse. We didn’t want to seem condescending, but also thought the food would be wasted if thrown in the trash. Thankfully our roommate came up and loudly said, “don’t throw it away!” in such a way that one elderly homeless woman shouted, “whatever you do, don’t throw it away!” and so that is how we became dedicated to not throwing food away when we could give it away.
We decided easily that we’d be giving the OJ to someone on the streets, I actually had a pair in mind that I see every day after dropping my daughter at school. I thought about it and ┬ádecided that we could definitely part with more than our unwanted OJ. I cleaned out our cupboards and filled up a large paper bag of foods we, had to face it, weren’t going to eat.
I had hoped that I wouldn’t offend the homeless men I see on the street every day but I didn’t expect what I did see. The man, only one of the two I always see together, cried. He kept saying, “are you sure you can spare this?” I wasn’t giving him a great meal, I was giving him a bunch of food that I wouldn’t eat. Because Shiva and I have the luxury of deciding that we don’t like our organic rice cakes, or that we prefer Florida OJ over Brazilian from concentrate OJ. We get to say, I don’t feel like eating that beef jerky we bought on the road a couple weeks ago, or we have more stale hamburger buns that we will use and if we want some buns, we’ll just buy fresh ones. But all these items we’d just as easily throw in the trash, were making a grown man cry and asking if we could truly spare this “waste” to him. I still don’t know how to feel about this. I’m amazed at his humility and my selfishness. There is not much that is more humbling than realizing that you are truly lucky to have enough resources to literally discard food over not wanting it.
What do you do with the food you won’t eat? What do you do when your bread has gone stale or you just don’t feel like eating that snack you thought you’d test? What about your leftovers that are maybe just a few days past, mmm, “I’ll eat that.”?