1. The local Woolworths offers free fruit to people with kids to keep ‘em quiet while walking around the shop. Turns out nobody will question a twenty something eating an apple walking around so long as they have a basket full of goods (that they don’t intend to buy).
2. Supermarkets throw out a shocking amount of perfectly fine produce, like vanilla custard or the loaves from that morning. You have to be at peace with your inner scavenger. Diving through bins for food takes courage, if anything it’s fuckin’ punk, it’s spitting in the face of the bourgeoisie life lovers that can afford to buy nice things, like meals. If one finds you in this state, look deep into their eyes and say something piercing like “you did this to me” it’ll be funny, trust me. There was probably one of your ancestors that fought a vulture to eat a lion’s sloppy seconds, just saying. Consume what you find in a day, otherwise you’ll get the shits.
3. There’s a cherry tree in someone’s front yard. Ended up staking out the place for four hours until the owner left. Then climbed up there with bucket and secateurs. Problem was I got too greedy; the guy came back before I finished up and started yelling at me. I fell out of the tree, spilling fruit everywhere. I banged my dang elbow.
4. You can fish in the ponds down at the park. Do it at night because there’s lots of people with dogs and kids around yeah.
5. Canningvale is famous for its invertebrate life. Simply hang out a bug zapper and you’ll have mosquitos the size of dragonflies and spiders the size of dinner plates, perfectly cooked and ready for the eating.
6. Bakers Delight/Brumby’s still does samples: go nuts. I went in there with a target bag myself.
7. You can go down to the Amherst Library and covertly rip the spines off some of the old leather books. Boil them in water at home and apparently, you have a nourishing meal. I mean, Werner Herzog once ate his leather shoe – can’t be that bad for you, right.
8. Cacti are edible but I wouldn’t bother.
9. My neighbour isn’t very good at trimming their plants. There’s an olive tree and a passionfruit vine still dropping their wares on the pavement. Turns out eating a raw olive is pretty yuck, but the passionfruit is very nice.
10. It’s a regular thing to eat snails and slugs from the garden. If you’re fine with being infested with demon parasites that will both suck on your brain and turn you into something resembling the dude from The Lord of the Rings who has the word of Sauron spoken in his ear by a creepy pale guy with yellow teeth, I’d say go for it man. Andrew Zimmern says it’s good eating. Do not use salt, it’s cruel mate.
11. On the subject of Andrew Zimmern, I saw a documentary on YouTube in which he went to Ireland and found some fossilised, thousand-year-old butter in the bog in the boondocks of Dublin town, which got me thinking, what else can be buried and slowly fermented over the course of several years in a temperate environment rich in carbon until it is semi edible. Basically, what you want to do is get all the half-used condiments in your fridge, Devondale Butter (Dairy soft, the best kind), Salsa, Hummus, French Onion Dip, Barbeque Sauce, and bury them in a burlap sack in a safe location that you are sure is not going to be touched by property development (maybe your back yard). After a long enough time (let’s say, 10-20 years) dig them up again and enjoy premium fermented goods. It’s not technically free because you had to purchase the condiments in the first place, but I’m certain you could get great returns selling the stuff to a sucker rich enough to buy twenty-year-old butter. That or you could just spread it on toast.
12. Canningvale is situated on top of and around swampland, which means that when it rains the parklands sink into the ground and a large pool of shallow water accumulates. This draws frogs. One time my cat ate a frog and the only reason I found out about it was because she yakked in my bed whilst I was sleeping. One cannot describe the horror felt at waking up to a cat retching and discovering the quivering Lovecraft-esque mound. Aside from this, frog’s caviar is also edible, a delicacy, in certain parts of the world.
Words by Eamonn Kelly.
This article first appeared in print volume 88 edition 4 GIRL.