Friday, September 17, 2010

Cheap Eats

Blessings, Darlings!

The Spawn has just driven off to his job at Popeye's, which brings food and lack of income to mind.  And I realized that while I've talked about gardening, cooking from scratch, and foraging wild foods (which reminds me, I should check the persimmon trees in one of the parks in town to see if they will be worth checking when ripe) I have NOT talked about other food resources that may be available.

Since I already mentioned Popeye's, we'll start with "food from work".  The Spawn gets one two piece chicken meal with a biscuit, a small side, and a drink every shift he works.  That's a heck of a lot of his daily calorie need, and a lot of fried food.  What he does is bring his lunch 4 out of 5 days - a sandwich and a piece of fruit - and have that with the drink and side dish (about evenly split between the fries and the red beans and rice).  He tucks the two pieces of chicken in his cooler and brings them home.  Once a week we have Popeye's chicken as a family dinner.

It used to be that if you worked at a grocery store you'd be able to get items that were past their sell-by date.  That is far less common now, but in some ways that's a good thing - when I dropped off some garden-fresh tomatoes at the food pantry today I saw that they had out a whole bunch of pre-cut/packaged fruit from a local grocery store for their clients.

Many folks I know online like the monthly food from Angel Food Ministries:  I find that I can do just as well buying groceries at the store as I'd do thru' them, but as always YMMV (your mileage may vary).  You get a box of food for a reduced price.  It's a bit high on breaded fried foods for me, even more so now that we have a weekly dose of fried chicken!

The SHARE program is one that I like a lot  This is the DC area link, but I know that there are other areas in the US where it operates as well.  For SHARE, you pay a reduced price for our food as you do with Angel Food, but there is one more requirement - that you volunteer somewhere for 2 hours a month.  It's still not 100% food I'd buy myself, but it's closer to my tastes than Angel Food.

Let's not forget that there are also food banks available.  They are under more pressure than ever, with donations down and people in need up, and they, unlike the previously listed places, often require that you prove need. Back in the day I worked at a shelter than gave out some food, a typical bag for a family of 4 would be a box of cereal, a quart or two of dried milk, a box of crackers or a loaf of bread if we had that, two cans of soup, three cans of veggies, two cans of fruit, one box of jello, one can of tuna, a jar of jelly, a jar of peanut butter, a box of mac & cheese.

Dumpster Diving ... you know, at least one of the grocery chains here locks their garbage so no one can root thru' it for out of date food.  They say it's because of risk of lawsuits. 

Road kill - my husband hasn't let me do this yet.  But, sheesh, last Saturday we passed not one but TWO dead deer on the road.  I wasn't dressed to butcher them, but that would have been a whole lot of good venison.  Why should the crows and buzzards be the only ones getting them?

Clearly this is not an exhaustive list.  I've not looked into soup kitchens and other sources. But none of my posts are exhaustive!

Frondly, Fern


  1. The new(ish) and rather fun term for dumpster diving is "freegan"!

  2. Where I live, you can get your name added to a list with the police department to pick up deer that were killed in an accident. This might seem like a rural thing but I live in Columbus, Ohio. It helps the officers clear road kill while saving the city money. The best part is that it helped more than one family save a lot of money overe the years.

  3. Be aware of the legalities surrounding picking up roadkill. Most states prohibit it without a permit.

  4. Here in MD it's pretty straight-forward getting the road kill collection permit. We have a large deer population, even close to DC, and hitting deer is common. Just outside the beltway, even, at the US Agricultural Research Center (where they developed the first huge-breasted turkeys) some 60+ deer are hit and killed every year.

    I had the hardest time not collecting a road kill hawk, tho'. I know I can't legally have raptor feathers, no matter what road kill permit I have!

  5. In Wisconsin, if you hit a deer, the state police will apparently bring you a deer tag.