Critical Analysis of On Dumpster Driving by Lars Eighner
Critical Analysis of "On Dumpster Driving" by Lars Eighner
The essay on “On Dumpster Diving” written by Lars Eighner is about a homeless man, accompanied by his dog, explaining the strategies and guidelines of surviving from dumpsters, thereby exemplifying the wasteful nature of Americans, while explaining the etiquette involved in the process. The author began dumpster diving about a year before he became homeless. He used all of his infrequent income for rent, consequently having to derive all of life necessities from dumpsters. He then goes on to share the valuable information he has learnt as a human scavenger.
He starts by outlining the guidelines of what is safe to eat. The main principles involved are, using senses and common sense to evaluate the condition of food, knowing the dumpsters in a particular area and checking them frequently, and always wonder why the food was discarded. He is convinced that a lot of perfectly good food is discarded. Canned goods turn up fairly often in dumpsters and are among the safest foods. However, some canned foods can cause fatal diseases like botulism. Dried foods such as crackers, cookies, cereal, chips and pasta are usually safe to eat, once they are free from visible contaminates. Raw fruits and vegetables are usually safe, except for the rotten ones. Confectionery like chocolate and other hard candies are also safe, since candying is a method of food preservation. Carbonated beverages tend to be good if they still fizz, and alcoholic juice mixes were always appreciated. The author also scavenged pizzas from a dumpster behind a pizza delivery shop. Prepared food was usually not safe, but he retrieved the pizzas immediately after the shop was closed. These extra pizzas were due to prank calls, incorrect orders, or customer rejection, and were perfectly good when discarded. The pizzas shop made efforts to discourage the author but they were in vain.
The author was also wary of a number of items. He was cautious of leafy vegetables, grapes, cauliflower and broccoli, because they may contain liquid contaminants that are difficult to wash away. Fruit juices were known to contain nasty molds and were usually avoided. The author avoided game, poultry, pork, egg-based foods and fish, which tend to spoil quickly. On rare occasions he would find large amounts of beef that he was able to cook. He also stayed away from leftovers since they were usually spoilt. Despite...