Friday, September 26, 2014

67. No Food is Ever Wasted

Our thru-hiker pal, Donnie "The Hunger" always said:

"There's no such thing as being full. It's just that eating stops being as fun after a while."

Once you hike for a long distance, you will truly know what it means to appreciate food. You'll be in the middle of hiking one day and all you can do is fantasize about that time that your previous self threw away those Chinese food leftovers in your apartment. You'll think about how, if the technology suddenly appeared for time travel, you'd go back to that moment so that you can snatch the little paper takeout box right out of your previous self's thoughtless hands. And then you imagine standing there in the kitchen, just eating those cold sticky noodles right out of the container with your hand, while your previous self looks on, struck completely dumb.

Early on your hiking journey, you may make too much food for dinner. You don't know exactly how hungry you're going to be, and you don't know how filling those sodium-laden pasta sides are going to be. Unfortunately, at this point on your journey, the hikers around you will not yet be bottomless food pits, because they also won't have developed the hiker hunger. But even if no one can eat your leftovers, they don't go to waste. There are no garbage cans, and you can't just throw a bunch of instant mashed potatoes into the woods. So you have to just buck up and eat all the food you made. In the back of your mind you'll remember the lecture that lecture that children get, the one about having to appreciate and finish all your food because of the starving children of the world.

As time progresses, you'll get very good at making exactly enough food for yourself. You'll have trouble even envisioning leftovers, let alone understanding how anyone could save food for later. No way, whatever you make, you eat all of it. In towns you'll sit at the table at a restaurant and eat every single thing on your plate, including the garnish. Eventually, you may find that there is no such thing as enough food, and you just accept that you'll be a tiny bit hungry all the time.

The greatest part though, is that if (by some miracle) you make too much food, there will always be someone less than 5 feet from you who can finish your food for you. Or, say for example you buy a box of granola bars you've never tried, and once you're back on the trail, you realize that you don't like the flavor. Not to worry! Nothing gets thrown away, nothing gets wasted. It just gets inhaled by another hiker. In our hiking party, The Hunger was clearly the best at finishing other people's leftovers. His eating prowess was rivaled only by Grim, who had to learn the hard way that you shouldn't hike and eat at the same time.

Food is precious, and should be shared. Hikers are the best at this.

Love,
Clever Girl

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