Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Unlike Rutherford and rainbows, Hemingway had not analogously ruined fried eggs for her, nor even art, perhaps because artists didn't take on fried eggs on a plate in the way they took on fruit in a bowl or fish skeletons on a plate or a rainbow in the sky. Since she hadn't already gotten sick from these eggs, which she'd first eaten three days ago, she thought she would be okay. She'd delivered, to the OccupyHungerOakland kitchen, 
OccupyOakland Food drop 11 March 2012
 the sunchokes they'd given her the previous week, cooked with her homegrown fenugreek leaves, 
Add chopped methi and mint leaves to the fried onions.
Sunchokes with methi leaves.
 rapini sauteed with garlic and salted-yogurt chillies,
Sauteed rapini.
 a salad of blanched broccoli tossed with garlic, salt olive oil and vinegar,

and two gallons of rajma dal with rice.
Rajma dal over rice

She picked up produce to cook and bring back the following week 
Produce pick up
 – potatoes, tomatoes, a half bushel of kale, 7-8 dozen mandarin oranges
Delicious remaindered mandarins
(rejected as blemished and donated to OccupyHungerOakland, she'd found only 1-2% were unusable, she and her girls had eaten a dozen or so, and the rest she'd made into Melancholy Mandarin Marmalade)
Melancholy Marmalade, yes it is bitter-sweet.
and some lettuce for herself. Then she'd stayed, to help Fiesta, the Occupy Kitchen coordinator, yes the name suited her, and she herself had not yet dared ask whether Fiesta had chosen it herself or whether it had been chosen for her by one of her possibly hippie-throwback parents.

She'd stayed to help since she didn't have her kids that weekend, and it helped her to hang out with other people, younger people with so much energy that they could devote some of it to others. She helped Fiesta process all the rest of the produce – apples, tomatoes, papayas, watermelons, all either donated as “blemished” or de-dumpstered by Fiesta herself. She showed Fiesta how to fry the tomatoes, 
Cooking in the OccupyHungerOakland kitchen.

a few percent of which were beginning to get pale squishy spots with occasional mold, and not let them just cook or stew. Then she helped cut the apples. What was wrong with the apples? “They have spots.” Can't people just eat them, so it saves us the trouble of having to cook them? “No, it is sad, in this country, even the poor and hungry are picky about their food and won't touch an apple unless it is blemish free.” The watermelons looked bad, most had rot on the outside – black and white mold and softened outer flesh. But when Fiesta cut them open, the thick outer part had protected the pink inner flesh almost entirely, only one of the 8 melons had needed to have pink parts cut away. Fiesta chunked the melons and froze them, for later use in aguas frescas at one of the community outreach picnics.

She looked at the papayas, 
Papayas with outer rot...
they were just about beginning to show some moldy spots, but the rest of the flesh was still hard. She mentioned that in her house she would put these papayas back in a paper bag for another week, then cut them open when the flesh would be that beautiful pink-orange. 
... and inner beauty.
 And these were being thrown away? It was true that Americans did not know how to eat tropical fruit, unless it was canned of course. Indians, on the other hand...

Still, she felt that many Indians could cure their feelings of rootlessness in America by eating beautiful, locally grown seasonal produce from a CSA, perhaps even work at a CSA to plant or harvest.
After all that work cooking, she'd gotten hungry. That was when Fiesta had offered her some eggs and “resprouted” bread – resprouted from a dumpster of course. She fried them and ate them with some of the simmering tomato sauce right there in the OccupyKitchen, before she had to leave for her late date that night.

Back at home, a few days later, she considered the irony of having taken $3.89/doz. eggs from the Occupy kitchen, to bring them back and eat them in her home, bought and paid for, no danger of eviction. But Fiesta had insisted she take a dozen, “God, yes, I still have 6 dozens left, and I've given away a hundred eggs each to two community kitchens here already. You liked them, and you bring us food every week, we are giving these away, and other produce, distributing them to our cooks to prepare and bring back for feeding the homeless or for the GAs, or just for their families. So go ahead and take them.” Did someone donate these? “No, you could say they were remaindered. I rescued them from the garbage, one of the grocery store's dumpsters had a caseload, there must have been upwards of 25 dozens. None of the cartons, none of the eggs were even broken. But Josh and I smelt them and we broke open a few to check and they smell fine. So as long as you cook them thoroughly you'll be fine.”

But she hadn't cooked them fully.

1 comment:

Raul said...

Lolz- occupy eggs- how could I not be enticed to read such an article!