scavenging in a community kitchen (05.09.2004)


as you might know (or not, for all i know) by the time of writing this, i've already spent a lot of time away from what used to be my home. my present location is not exactly 'around the corner' (for the world does not have any of those as people with telescopes or connections to satellites carrying telescopes tell people who write about what the people with telescopes or connections to satellites say), but seperated by a large continent and some salty water that non-commited people rarely ever attempt to cross by swimming. in short, too far away to family and friends on a daily basis. since i've arrived here, i spent a lot of time using a community kitchen, cooking, being disgusted, cleaning my own stuff and occasionally cleaning stuff of others not caring about their own stuff or being forgetful. for rewarding myself (or so i tell myself) i have gradually transformed from a hunter aka food shopper into a scavenger with occasional occurrences of (read the next sentence please before calling in the police!) extensive food borrowing.
only recently i've discovered that eggs float. which they do after they've been left in a fridge long enough to actually dry up ( i didn't know that was possible ). i made that curious discovery when i wanted to boil a borrowed egg to enrich my breakfast. from previous experiences i knew that something was strange, the moment that egg didn't want to submit to the gravitational force which seemed to affect anything but the egg. after two minutes weighing possible consequences of knowing the truth about this egg, i performed surgery on the ovoid spender of karbonhydrates. lo! my knowledge seemed incomplete, my horizon was widened when i beheld the unusual absence of anything fluent contained in that shell. needless to say, the other seven eggs in the same pack were the same.

apparently ppl forget about food in the fridge easily... that's why i don't really feel bad when i occasionally pick some food from the fridge because it keeps the fridge clean from rotten food ( you wouldn't believe how much rotten i've already thrown away - and none of it was mine btw)

when i first got hear, we regarded upon scavenging as something rejectable. it was almost a running gag to say " i scavenged something" - it would stir some laughter because it was in that grey area of legal confusion, especially in a community kitchen. there are a lot of signs that say 'pls mark your food' and some people just don't do that. there are also a lot of signs that say 'don't take other people's food' but unmarked food traditionally belongs to the public domain.
in the meantime i don't think it's necessarily bad or funny anymore. some girl did a very thorough scavenging when she only had 100 yen left and no food. so she took everything with no name or room number on it and turned it into a meal. of course, she came across Things That Should Not Be Seen Anymore, from the deep part of the fridge where the darkness is eternal but time does not stand still. i've been in that hunger zone too and it's not a fun place to be. so i can understand her.

i think one part of the problem is that some food is relatively cheap and there are no small packs available. a typical example would be eggs - who can eat ten eggs in a few days anyway? (i'm saying 'a few days' because in school we were taught not to keep raw eggs longer than maybe five days due to the danger of salmonella. which made sense to us back then and i still think so today. especially when students buy another ten pack of eggs when there are still six left in the old pack. making one omelette is no excuse for that.

come to think of it, the only food i borrow is eggs. occasionally a can of beer, not labeled (public domain, u c...). from time to time some jam, but i got my own in the meantime. in rare cases some milk - see above 'quantity and packs of egg'. this is all below the radar - at least i didn't hear anything else. it might even have happened to me. sometimes the scavenger becomes the scavenged and sometimes the scavenger even becomes a hunter (the hunting mostly takes place in the shops anyway - ever seen a pack of ramen trying to run away? you know what i'm talking about...)

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