Appetite for the Grotesque: The Art of Dumpster Diving

September 29, 2014
Posted in Culture
September 29, 2014 inkmagazine

Appetite for the Grotesque: The Art of Dumpster Diving

By Kevin Lata, guest columnist

Contrary to popular to belief, trash can be delicious. Trash can delight and fulfill. The act of foraging alone can induce states of moderate to high euphoria. My curiosity and fondness for all things cheap lead me to explore the nether areas of decrepit Richmond trashcans.



Wide-eyed in vigilant anticipation, I rummaged through the dumpster searching for some delicious morsel, or maybe not a morsel, maybe something greater. With the dexterity of a heart surgeon, bags were torn open and infiltrated, careful to keep at least one hand clean in case something delicious presented itself. I delved deeper down, into that barren wasteland in pursuit of forgotten merchandise. It was here when another man’s trash became my treasure.



Some may say treasure is too strong a word. Many do find treasure though; I found a Jersey Mike’s Sub. Wrapped up in the logo emboldened paper the crisp, golden brown bread beguiling a soft delectable underbelly, cradled the prized possession: steak and cheese. This culinary masterpiece was topped off with heaps of onions and peppers. Copious amounts of mayonnaise provided the lubrication for each savory bite. Like clockwork, my salivary glands kicked into overdrive.

Yes, you can find delicious food in trash cans. I’ve found grass-fed steaks, organic eggs, tens of pounds of organic fruits and vegetables, guacamole, dates, and more. Dumpster diving can be hit-or-miss, though. I’ve walked away with six or seven grocery bags of stuff some days, and other times only a couple cans of coconut milk.



Dumpster diving is not just for the poor or the desperate. It’s not for the downtrodden. While many that do engage in this activity could be described with those adjectives, dumpster diving is for the resourceful – those that recognize the potential value laden objects buried within a receptacle that typically functions as a place to deposit, not withdraw.

While dumpster diving is something you can literally jump right into, you don’t have to; you can ease yourself into to it. The act of performing the namesake- diving, is not necessary. You can pick through carefully, just digging through what’s in the first bag on top.  You can wear gloves. If you’re feeling soft, you can go for the long rubber ones that rise up to your elbows.

As far as location goes – start with specialty grocery stores and health food stores. This is where the rich shop, and the rich like nice things. Free samples galore, a gelato bar, pristine shelves, blemish-free produce, crimson colored steaks, wild-caught seafood – it doesn’t matter if you’re a broke, ramen slurping, dollar store shopping undergrad, you’ve been here before. You’ve been to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, Tom Leonard’s and Ellwood Thomson’s. Here, product quality stands its highest. The standards for aesthetics are more rigorous than a Prada photo shoot on the French Riviera.

The rigor of appearance maintained at stores of this fashion extends further. If a shopper grabs two sealed packets of filet mignons, gets to the register and realizes, “Hey, I’m broke, actually. I can’t afford this,” and subsequently informs the cashier that you would like to put it back, that item cannot be sold. Management doesn’t know how long that’s been out of the fridge. That packet of succulent steak, that to me and you is tasty and safe for consumption, becomes a potential hazard, and more importantly, a potential lawsuit.


I use this example, because yes, I found two packets of filet mignons, priced $15 dollars each. Yes, they were delicious. No, I didn’t get Ebola.




Despite this warm eulogy I’ve blubbered for the past 750 words, I must advise for the exercise of a basic amount of discretion by all would be divers and trash plunderers foraging through litter. Let’s say you find something absurdly delicious – let’s say a slice of pizza, but there’s a problem: it’s coated with a film of viscous slime that dangles several inches from the outer edge of the slice. You probably shouldn’t eat it. As my dad used to say in my adolescent years whenever a girlfriend broke up with me, “There’s more fish in the sea.” I too, echo this advice. I would say, however, “There’s more trash in the dumpster.” Don’t hang your hopes up on any one thing.



By now I hope a seed of inspiration has been planted into your mind. Most of us are broke ass college students, so let’s be real: this is a pretty solid option for living cheap. Personally, I try to get all my food from dumpsters, though it’s usually impossible.  I do end up spending only $30 to $40 dollars a week on groceries. I eat only organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef, and organic chicken. Occasionally I eat beans, legumes, and a Jersey Mike’s sub. These are all to be found at a dumpster near you.


If anyone tells you they just can’t afford to eat healthy. Let them know the secret. Share the gospel of dumpster diving.

, , , , , , ,

Comments (82)

  1. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking
    for. Would you offer guest writers to write content available
    for you? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write
    concerning here. Again, awesome blog!

  2. My partner and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I
    might check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you.
    Look forward to finding out about your web page for a second time.

  3. I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m not
    sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about
    my trouble. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  4. You’re so awesome! I do not believe I’ve read a single thing like that before.

    So great to discover another person with some genuine thoughts on this subject.
    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is
    one thing that’s needed on the web, someone with some originality!

  5. Hello my loved one! I want to say that this post is amazing, great written and come with almost
    all vital infos. I’d like to peer extra posts like this .

  6. Hi there everybody, here every person is sharing these kinds of familiarity, so it’s pleasant to read this weblog,
    and I used to visit this website everyday.

  7. Hello! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be
    ok. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  8. Asking questions are actually pleasant thing if you are not
    understanding anything completely, except this paragraph presents nice
    understanding yet.

  9. My family members every time say that I am wasting my time here at web,
    however I know I am getting knowledge all the time by reading such nice
    articles or reviews.

  10. My brother suggested I might like this web site.
    He was entirely right. This post truly made my day.
    You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  11. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m experiencing some small security problems with
    my latest site and I would like to find something more risk-free.
    Do you have any solutions?

  12. Simply desire to say your article is as surprising. The clarity in your post is just cool and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.

  13. Its like you read my mind! You appear to grasp a lot approximately this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I feel that you just can do with some p.c.
    to power the message house a little bit,
    however instead of that, this is magnificent blog.
    An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  14. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you could
    be a great author.I will remember to bookmark your blog and
    definitely will come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you to
    definitely continue your great writing, have a nice holiday weekend!

  15. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now
    every time a comment is added I get four emails
    with the exact same comment. Is there a way you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

  16. Cristi Giudic

    This is a truly signal post. Thanks for posting this.

    What do you over about my website: [url=][/url]

  17. Johnny Pablobp

    This is a same signal post. Thanks as a service to posting this.

    What do you over nearby my website: [url=]creare site bucuresti[/url]

  18. First off I would like to say awesome blog!

    I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if
    you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and
    clear your mind before writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting
    my thoughts out. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10
    to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any recommendations or hints? Kudos!

  19. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers
    and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have
    done a marvellous job!

  20. I pay a quick visit day-to-day a few blogs and websites to read articles or reviews, except this webpage
    presents quality based articles.

  21. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make
    your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to
    your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  22. Attractive element of content. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get actually loved account your weblog posts.
    Any way I’ll be subscribing in your feeds or
    even I fulfillment you get right of entry to consistently rapidly.

  23. For most recent information you have to pay a visit world wide web and on web
    I found this website as a most excellent web page for hottest updates.

  24. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through
    Google, and found that it is truly informative.
    I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this
    in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing.

  25. Can I just say what a aid to find someone who truly knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know how you can carry a difficulty to gentle and make it important. More people need to read this and perceive this aspect of the story. I cant believe youre not more in style since you positively have the gift.

  26. I simply want to mention I’m new to blogging and site-building and honestly enjoyed your web-site. Almost certainly I’m likely to bookmark your site . You certainly come with fantastic well written articles. Thank you for sharing your web-site.

  27. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!

  28. Can I just say what a reduction to find somebody who truly is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know the way to bring an issue to gentle and make it important. More folks must read this and understand this side of the story. I cant consider youre no more standard since you undoubtedly have the gift.

  29. You should take part in a contest personally of the highest quality blogs on the internet. I’ll recommend this great site!

  30. I simply want to tell you that I am new to writing and completely valued your information. Most likely I am inclined to store your blog post . You really have stunning article content. Admire it for sharing with us the best site document

  31. Sapid Agency is a Search Engine Optimization company in New York City that provides SEO Services. Their proprietary SEO strategies help struggling websites and aspiring business owners to rank their websites higher in multiple search engines like Google , Yahoo and Bing. They provide local and gmb map ranking for businesses in NYC and many other local areas. Find more at @ 145 E 57TH NEW YORK, NY 10022, USA, +1 971 341 5608 USA

  32. Drug Rehab Places Polysubstance Use Disorder [url=]drug rehab near me[/url] Christian Alcohol Rehab Inpatient Drug Treatment Facilities

  33. Free Inpatient Drug Rehab Suboxone Treatment Centers [url=]drug rehab near me[/url] Drug Rehab Cost Free Drug Rehabilitation Center

  34. Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  35. My husband and i ended up being happy that Emmanuel managed to carry out his investigation because of the ideas he grabbed from your own blog. It’s not at all simplistic to simply choose to be giving away strategies which often men and women could have been selling. We really acknowledge we’ve got you to appreciate for this. The most important explanations you have made, the simple web site navigation, the friendships you will help instill – it’s got everything fantastic, and it is helping our son and us understand the subject matter is excellent, and that’s tremendously pressing. Thanks for the whole thing!

  36. Meth Rehab Centers Near Me

    Substance Abuse Professional Drug Rehab Drug Treatment

  37. Thankfulness to my father who stated to me regarding this web site,this website is genuinely amazing

  38. Thanks for any other fantastic article. Where else may just anybody get that type of information in such a perfect way of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the search for such info.

  39. Maidstone Integrated, Havant plus Waterlooville, Braintree Area together with Aldershot Community happen to be relegated and will be replaced simply by the winners and play-off winning trades with the National Addition Northern in addition to South divisions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.