Most people don’t want to get free food from food pantries. But in these days when the rich are getting richer and ripping off workers, and those workers can’t make ends meet even with two jobs, I decided to start going to food pantries myself. When you realize that at least 50% of food is wasted because it’s “expired” or imperfect. It’s perfectly good food!
“Expired” food is a misnomer. Food isn’t good one day and suddenly bad the next because of a date on a package. The “expiration” date is used as a way to sell more food to scared people. Test the food yourself: If it smells odd or it has mold or other discolorations, okay, it’s bad. But very little food goes bad after the expiration date.
Milk. Take milk, for instance. I know people who throw out milk if it’s “expired”. Nonsense. If it smells okay and tastes fine, it’s good. Even if it curdles, it’s still okay as long as it smells and tastes fine.
Food pantries distribute food donated by manufacturers and distributors. You’ll get some odd things sometimes. Most food pantries prepare a bag or box of food for you each week. Some weeks you might get several of the same things time and again because they have a surplus of that particular food. Other times there won’t be anything you want to use, or you’ll find strange foods that have been discontinued because shoppers in grocery stores didn’t like the package!
These are the kinds of foods recently distributed by a local food pantry: a loaf of whole wheat bread, a bag of flour tortillas, cans of garbanzo beans, black beans, tomato sauce, vegetable soup, and fruit cocktail. There have been Girl Scout cookies (probably because the Coronavirus problem has kept Girl Scouts from going out to sell their cookies), huge bags of raisins, bags of “Himilayan Sea Salt” (that’s the rocky pink salt that is all the rage these days), and lots of rice.
Food pantries also give away fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and fish. It’s not unusual to get a whole chicken, frozen salmon, and sometimes some unusual vegetables. Oftentimes the food pantry may have recipes for preparing the unusual foods.