Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Dumpster-Diving Grandma & My Miracle Because of Her

I came from a long line of non-wasters when it comes to food, but my grandmother- we call her Gragran- is the queen!! I remember Gragran standing over me when I was a little girl, telling me I was persnickety for not eating my piece of cake.  I didn't know what that meant, so I always ate what Gragran gave me for fear of being persnickety. 

Gragran is 94 years old now, and she is beautifully plump.  She barely has any gray hair and has an active, sharp mind.  I've received permission to share a story about our dear Gragran that I'm pretty sure my brothers and sisters don't know about yet.  Hahaha!  Oh it's time they heard, and I think anyone else would enjoy hearing about it too. 

When Gragran was in her early 80's, she had a dear friend, Eva, that she would spend a lot of time with. Eva was very small and petite, and she had a lot of goats and chickens on her property.  

Eva needed more food for her goats, so she had the great idea of going in the dumpsters behind the local grocery store to get scrap food for her goats.  These dumpsters were not small, so these two 80 yr. old women had to hoist and pull each other into the giant dumpster!!  Can you picture it?

After going in there a few times, they began to notice that the grocery store was throwing away some rather nice food, so they began to take it home for themselves to eat!  It wasn't for the goats anymore; they had discovered a daily feast!  Oh they gathered things like lettuce and took the outer layer off and cakes that were still in the boxes- just expired... all kinds of food!!  

Now, let me make it clear that Gragran had plenty of money to buy food; she was not starving.  She lived through the depression, so she just couldn't bare to see the food in the dumpster go to waste! 

We lived across the street from her; so after a while, Gragran decided the food was safe enough to bring over to our house for us to eat!  We had no clue where the food was from!  My mom says that when we would ask Gragran where she got all the cakes from, she would just smile and say, "Oh I have a very special place that I go!"  We happily ate- oblivious to it all.

Eventually the store manager noticed these grandmas diving the dumpsters; and instead of telling them to stop, he sweetly laid the "good" dumpster food by the back door.  The grocery store even began to leave food that wasn't quite expired because they knew the grandmas would be coming soon.

I have to stop and giggle right now thinking about my siblings finding out for the 1st time that while growing up, a good number of those yummy cakes from Gragran... were from the dumpster!

Now the reason I tell this story is because this no-waste attitude has been ingrained within me as well.  When you're feeding a small army of children every day, the wasted food adds up, so we simply don't waste. 

No, I do not go to dumpsters, but when we have dinner guests, which we do often, I make this official announcement: "You may eat all you want, but do not throw any food away.  Give yourself small portions to begin with or else your mama has to eat all your food too. We do not waste food in this house."  I give the parents a serious look and then smile and say, "EAT UP!!" 

Tonight I was only cooking for my own children, and so I was trying to use up all the extra food in the fridge.  I of course didn't want to waste any food!  I threw in a lot of random things:  broccoli, pasta, pepperoni, American cheese, Mexican cheese, cream of chicken soup, white cheddar popcorn salt, Italian herb seasoning, butter, spring peas etc. etc.  

Then, all of a sudden the thought ran through my mind: "I just made a gigantic bowl of food, and what if it doesn't taste good?  Because I don't waste food, we could be choking down this food for days!!  Oh No!!"  

As quickly as all those fears ran through my mind, I said the most sincere blessing on my mixture.  I asked God to please, please make it taste good to us.

Then, I gave my dinner clap and all the children came running in.  They got huge bowls of food for themselves, and I watched them...

THEY LOVED IT!!  They raved about it!!  They went back for seconds and thirds!!  Now I warn whoever is reading this to not try this mixture at home.  I'm pretty positive our family experienced a miracle tonight.

God definitely made that food taste good because he knew I wouldn't have thrown it away.  I'm so grateful HE made it taste good to us.  I honestly do talk to my Heavenly Father about everything throughout the day.  HE is my best friend.