Garbage Picker

Garbage Can

I remember the first time that I ate out of a garbage can. 😯 It was in the late 1940s, and Kellogg’s was trying a new marketing scheme.

Variety-Pack

Their cereals came in small and large boxes, but they began offering them in tiny, serving-size boxes. The equivalent of a large box would get you 10 or 12 of these, all wrapped together. The fronts had an H-shaped perforation. You peeled back the two cardboard wings, and did the same with the waxed-paper liner inside. You poured milk right into the box, and ate the cereal right from it.

This was one of the first “labor-saving devices.” Working mothers didn’t have bowls to wash. The extra labor and packaging material made them more expensive, so they didn’t do well in my cheap, dirt-poor little town.

Kellogg’s produced them in every flavor that they made. They also made a ‘Variety Pack”, with some of each. The tiny, independent grocery carried them for a while. It sat beside a laneway to another street. There was a garbage pail right beside – not a dumpster – nobody could afford to throw that much away. Somehow, one of the sampler packs came apart. Unable to sell it, the grocer just gathered the pieces up, and dropped it into the garbage pail beside his building.

Finally dry from his immersion in the Niagara River, yours truly was busy skulking and gallivanting around town. I approached the store by the alley, from the next street. I stopped to look in the garbage pail, and couldn’t believe it. Someone was throwing perfectly good food away. There were little boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Vim, Rice Krispies, All Bran, Shredded Wheat, Bran Flakes – several types that I’d like to try, but couldn’t afford to purchase a whole big (or small) box, in case I didn’t like them.

They were all “Good-For-You” cereals…. and all that Bran! You wouldn’t be just regular – more like steady. I don’t remember any Sugar Corn Pops, or Sugar Smacks, or Sugar Anything. Sugar hadn’t been invented yet – or perhaps it wasn’t off wartime rationing. That’s why old people like me are sour and bitter. They had nothing sugary to sweeten them up.

The pail was relatively new and clean. The bulk package cardboard was pristine. The small inner packs touched only it. I dug out most of the tiny boxes – as many as my little arms could carry, and quickly headed for home with them. I told my Mother that ‘someone was throwing them away,’ without mentioning the garbage can, and had a bowel-cleansing assortment of breakfasts for almost two weeks.

Even today, there are individuals and groups – and not just homeless people – who regularly comb supermarket dumpsters for food deemed unsalable – packaged meats, cheeses, bread products, even fruit and vegetables, past their ‘Best Before’ dates. They eat it themselves, or donate it to food banks, to be used today. It saves money, and reduces the amount going to landfill sites.

The son works a midnight shift. He leaves work at 7:30 AM, and reaches the nearby supermarket just as it opens at 8:00, to purchase a discount copy of the Toronto Sun newspaper. He has learned to look at the other discount racks. Stock that will be thrown out tomorrow, is on sale today, for 20%, 30% – 50% off. He often comes home with half-price ground beef, steaks, roasts, bread, and buns. What doesn’t become his 9:00 AM ‘midnight snacks’, or goes into his little apartment-sized freezer, often makes its way into the household larder.

Reduce Reuse Recycle! Waste not – Want not. Do you do anything like this, to aid your economy, and the Ecology?

’19 A To Z Challenge – T

Eating Contest

Oh, to be able to eat like a teen-ager again: to put away food like we were eating Mom and Dad out of house and home: when my hyper-kinetic lifestyle and metabolism shed calories and pounds like Donald Trump going through White House advisors.

Once upon a time, the majority of people worked for a living. Nowadays, in the First World, the hardest work most of us do is tap a keyboard, whether in an office, or while watching a robot or automated machine do the heavy lifting. Weight loss/control has become an expanding business.

In the auto-parts plant, I moved 9 tons (almost 18,000 pounds) of material per day, by hand, and ate like it. A couple of hundred years ago, that would have been considered the opening act. Those guys needed FOOD to fuel their work. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you

TRENCHERMAN

Not a superhero who lays pipe or cable, but,

a person who has a hearty appetite; a heavy eater.
a person who enjoys food; hearty eater

Origin of trencher

1275–1325; Middle English trenchour something to cut with or on: Anglo-French; Middle French
New French – trancher – board or plank
a rectangular or circular flat piece of wood on which meat, or other food, is served or carved.

The heavy-eating manual laborers who could be described as trenchermen needed something for their food to be served on/in. They could hardly take fine china to their worksite, or even rude pottery. It was often too likely to be broken or lost, and Tupperware© and Rubbermaid© hadn’t been invented yet.

These rough-and-ready laborers got their meals served on rough-and-ready platters, chunks of lumber that didn’t go into the buildings that they were erecting – slivers and splinters just added needed fiber. The nearest modern equivalent is the cardboard pizza box. Although I’d like to, I can’t eat an entire pizza any more – even a small one. Fortunately, Ziploc© has invented plastic bags, in which to save the leftovers for another day.

He left us too soon, partly because of his trencherman actions, but funny-man John Pinette has an amusing YouTube clip, entitled Around The World In 80 Buffets. Drop back in a couple of days. Not too early though, I’ll be over at Shoney’s for their Early Bird Special.   😉

Because I Wrote About It

Margarine

Because I wrote about it, because I slipped it into several posts, because I even had a post titled “Oleo Olio”, I felt that I should set the record straight, and honor a local almost-hero.  The following is a reprint of an article in the Waterloo Region Record about margarine in Canada.  It is presented without their knowledge or permission, so, if I suddenly open a Patreon account for bail and lawyers, I hope that you will contribute generously.

THE MAN WHO MADE MARGARINE “SAFE”

Kitchener’s William Daum Euler championed butter substitute

Psst!  Want to buy some margarine?  Seventy years ago, that wasn’t a simple question.

As Canadians celebrate the legalization of marijuana this month, they may be forgetting that, just a few generations ago, this country was having a fierce debate about another controlled substance – that’s right, margarine.

Banned in Canada between 1886 and 1948, the oil-based butter substitute was once labelled a serious public health risk.  Its opponents vilified it, calling the spread a “compound of the most villainous character, which is often poisonous,” according to W.H.Heick, who wrote a book on the subject back in 1991.

Many people may remember mixing color packets into their margarine, since Ontario law used to require margarine only be sold in its natural white state.  But they may not know it was a tenacious politician from Waterloo Region who led the campaign to finally legalize it after the Second World War.

Margarine has had a complicated history since it was first created by French chemist Hippolyte Mėge-Mouriės in 1868, by churning beef tallow with milk.  Dairy producers, concerned about a cheaper, longer-lasting alternative to butter, lobbied hard to have it banned.

For decades, they succeeded, convincing law makers it was unsafe and unhealthy for consumers – and bad for their rural economy.  William D. Euler, a Liberal senator and former mayor of Kitchener, had the support of urban organizations like churches, unions and Boards of Trade, as he went to war for margarine.

As part owner of the Kitchener Daily Record, he pushed for editorials supporting the end of the ban.  In 1947, he introduced repeal legislation, and was met with fierce resistance from the dairy lobby.  He wrote letters to newspapers across Canada, pushing his position.  Polls suggested that half the country was behind him – and he leaned on women, veterans, and hospitals for support.

Many Canadians were already using and cooking with margarine, bought on the black market.  Often it was smuggled in from the Dominion of Newfoundland, where it was made from whale, seal and fish oil, by the Newfoundland Butter Company.

Newfoundland, which was still a British colony then, was busy churning out bootleg margarine at about half the price of butter.  Euler, who became the first chancellor of Waterloo Lutheran University, used legalization of margarine as a key bargaining chip in the negotiations with Newfoundland to enter into Confederation.

In November 1947, he got helped by a butter price increase, from 53 to 66 cents a pound, which only reinforced his campaign for a more affordable alternative.  In newspaper pages, town halls, and on Parliament Hill, the debate raged.  Senator James Murdoch accused the butter lobby of using “Communist tactics.”

“The wishes of 150,000 producers of milk had to give way to the desires of 13 Million consumers,” Heick wrote in his book, “A Propensity to Protect Butter – Margarine and the Rise of Urban Culture in Canada.”  The fight went to the Supreme Court, which struck down the ban, and left the control of margarine to the Provinces.  By this point, a poll suggested 68% of Canadians supported legalization – a shift in opinion owed in large part to Euler’s public relations campaign.

Ontario didn’t repeal its Oleomargarine Act until 1995, which made it illegal for companies to make or sell margarine that was colored yellow.  Quebec didn’t follow suit until 2008.  Margarine finally had equal footing with butter, at least in the eyes of the law.  And consumers had a senator from Kitchener to thank for it.

***

What??!  Businessmen would lie, and politicians would support them, for financial gain?  Tell me it ain’t so!  FAKE NEWS!  FAKE NEWS!  You can butter me up by stopping back again soon.  🙂

Flash Fiction #161

bowl-and-leaves

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

LOUD AND CLEAR

Uh-huh….
So your grandson got an interview for the assistant quality-control position.
Uh-huh….
It’ll be straight day-shifts, and Monday to Friday, and a raise.

Great!  Look, I’d love to stand and talk, but Hubby’s bringing home his boss and wife.  I’m a little tied up right now.  I’m trying to make her favorite salad to impress them.  It has kale and watercress and pine-nuts.

I have to run to the store to get balsamic vinegar.  I don’t know how it will taste, but it’ll look great in my crystal salad bowl.  Call me later.  I’ll tell you how it went.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

A To Z Challenge – P

april-challenge

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. This thing starts with

letter-p

PIZZA

pizza

Pizza, in one form or another has been around for centuries – Hell, millennia. People in the Middle-East baked round flatbread, and then put ‘stuff’ – highly technical term – on it to eat, vegetables, a bit of meat or cheese, some spices and oil.  The ancient Sumerians and Greeks both had a word which sounds very much like ‘pizza’, and meant bit, or bite, or mouthful.

The Greeks taught the Romans, and the tradition entered what would become Italy. The dish didn’t change much until the 1500s, when the ruling class of Naples got ahold of it.  Now, spiced meats, sauces, and other toppings were placed on unbaked bread dough and put into the oven.  No-one seems to know who came up with tomato sauce, or when.  Ooey-gooey-good Mozzarella cheese came into being, and, what had been a simple meal for simple peasants, became a gourmet meal for the nobility.

Pizza came to North America in the 1880s, with the wave of Italian immigrants. The first pizzeria in the USA was Lombardi’s, in New York City, in 1905, no matter what the bent-nose bunch in Chicago claim.  At last count, there were just over 200 pizzerias in NYC, and scores of various restaurants which include it on their menu.

It remained largely a cheap meal for Italians. ‘Pieces’ came into being when poor laborers couldn’t even afford a whole pie, but still needed some food.  Pizza didn’t really enter the American consciousness until the mid-1940s, when Servicemen returned from the Italian Campaign.  It’s sad that it took a World War to popularize one of the greatest fast-foods.

Do-gooders have decried pizza, along with the likes of chips and pop, in their fight against obesity. It took the American Council of Dieticians to point out that it’s actually one of the best foods for us.  It contains bread, vegetables, meat and cheese, all the four food groups.  Eating too much of anything will make you fat – but man, what a way to go!!

Some folks insist that there’s a ‘standard’ pizza, but after 3000 years, it’s still, ‘whatever you put on it.’ Area differences appear – pineapple and mango??  If I want a fruit salad, I’ll order a fruit salad.  To me, anchovies have all the attraction of salted eyelashes.  I prefer smoked bacon to bland ham, and add pepperoni, mushrooms and hot Italian sausage to my usual order.

New York style pizza has a thin, pliable crust, and slices are folded over, to eat on the move, with one hand. Hillary Clinton recently did this, while Donald Trump cut his into pieces and ate them with a fork.  Way to show the average Joe that you’re just like him, Dumb Don.

The same thing can be achieved when the chef folds a small ‘pizza’ over, into a half-moon shape.  If it is then baked, it is called a panzerotti.  If it is deep-fried, it is a calzone.  I love me some nice crisp calzones with marinara sauce.

The pizza chefs of Chicago went a different route. They created Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  The crust is as thin and pliable as New York, but it is baked in a cake-pan type dish.  The rims are raised an inch or more and toppings are shoveled in like they were disposing of evidence.

They’ve even created a Stuffed Pizza. It’s built upside-down.  The ‘toppings’ are placed on the bottom, and ‘some’ sauce and cheese are added.  Then, a second crust is laid down over them, and sealed to the sides.  A steam vent hole is cut in the middle, so that it doesn’t explode, and more sauce is ladled on.

When that baby is cooked and cut into pieces, you don’t handle a slab of it with one hand.  If Donald Trump shows up, you can tell him to, “Fork you!”

There are a myriad of variations of pizza, limited only by your imagination. There’s thick crust, and thin crust.  There’s edgeless, and stuffed edges.  Your choice of toppings can make one very cheap, or very expensive.  I prefer my shrimp with tangy seafood sauce, on a bed of shredded lettuce, not on my pizza, and I can’t begin to afford black truffles or red-wine-soaked brie.

Five-cheese pizza is just silly. Unless you have an epicure’s taste buds, after two, all you can taste is Cheese.  Climb down off your pretentious unicorn and just order extra mozza.   I like a bit of grated parmesan on top of everything else.

Well class, that’s enough discussion about pizza for today. Thanx guys, for reading my stuff.  I’m a little hungry.  I think I’ll go out for some lunch.  Anybody want a burger and fries??   😳

 

 

I Am A Challenge Too….Two

challenge

Now then, what was I saying writing, when I so rudely interrupted myself??  Ah yes, the 31-Day Challenge Magic Act, where I sawed a woman blog in half.

Why and when did you start blogging? My first post went out on November 21, 2011.  As to why, read my ‘About’ page, which includes the text to the post ‘If’.  Anything that doesn’t include, feel free to ask.

Advice on your area of expertise Since I am now successfully retired, my advice consists of, “Sleep in, have a snack, take a nap.  Rinse, and repeat if necessary.  Wage slaves, apply only on weekends.”

List 5 blogs you read on a regular basis, and why Many of the blogs I used to read ‘regularly’, are now dormant, or episodic.  One that I read regularly is Cordelia’s Mom because, as her tagline says, it’s ‘just good reading’.  Another we perhaps should all read regularly, is You’ve Been Hooked, tales from a bellman at a ritzy hotel in Niagara Falls.  (Caution, Humorous Adult Content)

What do you collect? Bills(notes/money – not utility), coins, knives, books, aches, pains, medical specialists, prescription drugs

What’s your greatest fear? I like to think that I keep my life well-ordered enough, that I don’t put me or mine in any position where I need fear anything.  I have no …phobias.  Fear/worry are counterproductive.  Either stay away from that which causes fear, or learn to face and defeat it.

Provide 5 easy steps to anything From my living-room chair, to the kitchen fridge/snack.  One….two….three….four….five – a pickled egg and some cheddar.  That was easy.

What do you do to save money? Not spend it.  While there are many who have less than us, I am/was a child of poverty.  Raised by a Depression-trained Scottish mother, I learned early to make a buck go a long way.  Once, while on an extended period of unemployment benefits, the Government office sent me home with a booklet on how to get the most from the least.  [Put soap bar ends in a mesh bag, and use it like a puff for hand and face washing, or soak and swish it in hot dishwater to produce suds.]  I took it back with 5 or 6 suggestions that they hadn’t thought of.

Describe your most embarrassing moment Like ‘fear’ above; I am careful/lucky enough, not to place myself in embarrassing situations.  Mostly, I just don’t give a shit – almost impossible to embarrass.  I could be a nudist.  I don’t wear clothing for my own modesty, but to protect the eyes and sanity of those around me.

Describe your city Germanic, and organic.  The entire area was settled 200+ years ago by Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants.  Waterloo, our twin-city to the north, has flowed to join my Kitchener, renamed a century ago from Berlin.  To our south, the small cities of Preston, Hespeler and Galt were merged in 1973, into Cambridge.  We have continued to flow together to produce a city of half a million, 5 miles wide, by 20 miles long, straddling Ontario’s major highway.  Streets and roads run hither and yon, confusing tourists, as told in my ‘You Can’t Get There From Here’ post.

What’s your favorite restaurant? With a Cordon Bleu chef/wife on staff, and wallets full of moths, we eat very well at home.  The occasional treat meal out is limited to the Golden Arches and its cousins.  Like the ‘favorite recipe’ in part 1, my love of Tex-Mex is so well known that, “What is your favorite restaurant?/Taco Bell” is a security question/answer on a website.

What’s your guilty pleasure show? With satellite TV costs soaring, we cancelled our subscription a year ago.  We moved the television from the basement den up to the living room, and linked to Netflix.  TV watching might be 2 hours a week.  It has led to a large increase in reading.

What’s your favorite season? As I wrote in ‘Location, location, location’, we live in a Goldilocks area.  It gets warm, but not too hot in the summer.  It gets cold, but not too frigid and snowy in the winter.  I wouldn’t want to live in Winnipeg or Atlanta.  Spring is great, with its burgeoning greenery and promise of rebirth, but, my birthday is in the autumn, and I love the harvested crops, and the colorful foliage.

Talk about your idea of a prefect date Wellll….it would have to be one that the wife is unaware of.  More and more, I get ones with people with MD after their name.

How do you normally spend your weekend? Ah, the joys of being retired.  If it weren’t for reading newspapers, I wouldn’t know what day it is – or month.  Weekends differ from weekdays in that, instead of going out to pick up a Toronto Sun newspaper, I might drive the wife to the Farmers’ Market, or the daughter to a Pow-Wow for fun and profit.

Explain what you liked most about this challenge It’s finished!  It gave me yet another chance to drop some (more) smart-ass comments that you’re still shaking your head about, and wondering if they’re really true.  And of course, it helps my stat numbers of published posts.

Thanx for visiting Crazyville Archon’s Den.  I hope to see you again in a couple of days.

New Shooter Comin’ Out

wooden-spoon

A young man, in the course of his college life,
came to terms with his homosexuality and decided
to ‘come out of the closet’. His plan was to
tell his mother first; so on his next home
visit, he went to the kitchen, where his mother
was busying herself stirring stew with a wooden
spoon. Rather nervously, he explained to her that
he had realized he was gay.

Without looking up from her stew, his mother
said, ‘You mean, homosexual?’

‘Well…yes.’

Still without looking up: ‘Does that mean you
suck men’s penises?’

Caught off guard, the young man eventually
managed to stammer an embarrassed affirmative;
whereupon his mother turned to him and,
brandishing the wooden spoon threateningly under
his nose, snapped:
‘Don’t you EVER complain about my cooking again!’

***

Support mental health, or I’ll kill you.

***

During a Papal audience, a business man
approached the Pope and made this offer: Change
the last line of the Lord’s prayer from “Give us
this day our daily bread” to “Give us this day
our daily chicken.” and KFC will donate 10
million dollars to Catholic charities.

The Pope declined. 2 weeks later the man
approached the Pope again. This time with a 50
million dollar offer. Again the Pope declined.

A month later the man offers 100 million, this
time the Pope accepts. At a meeting of the
Cardinals, the Pope announces his decision in the
good news/bad news format. The good news is…
that we have 100 million dollars for charities.
The bad news is that we lost the Wonder Bread
account!

***

A guy walks into a bar. He sits down and says to
the bartender, “I’ll bet you $100 that if you put
a shot glass at that end of the bar, I could stand
at the other end and fill it up with my urine.”

Well the bartender thinks, “That’s an easy $100.”
So he says “Okay.” So the guy gets on top of the
bar and pees everywhere, even on the bartender.
Well, the bartender doesn’t care, he just won
$100. So very happily the bartender asks for his
money. The guy very happily says, “Here you go!”
The bartender then asks, “Why are you so happy?”
And the guy says, “Well, do you see that guy at
the other end of the bar? I bet him $1000 that I
could pee on you and you would be happy!”

***

Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?

***

Always leave room to add an explanation
if it doesn’t work out.