Day: December 8, 2021

A Different Way to Sling Hash

Midgardian idioms often leave me baffled. Serving food is “slinging hash”? You’d think “slinging hash” would involve flinging comestibles rather than plating them nicely and setting them before someone gently.

In any case, the human female, in another attempt to make up for her many failings, has joined forces with another band of Do Gooders and is volunteering at the local Food Bank. She comes home tired and positively filthy. Today, Sigyn and I have tagged along. I understand your incredulity, but rest assured I don’t intend to descend to manual labor, but I do want to see what all the fuss is about.

Here we are in the warehouse. There is a lot going on today.

All of the boxes in the center of the room contain donations to be sorted, with more coming in all the time. The sorted goods get put into “banana boxes” and grouped by category on the pallets at the periphery of the room. Be careful, Sigyn! I hear that the human female has been known to drive one of those pallet-jacks around, and I have not the smallest particle of faith in her ability to do so safely.

There is a lot to learn. Light items can be tossed from worker to worker–hence the “hash-slinging”–but canned goods are not approved as missiles. (My bad!) Denty cans are all right, unless they’re so dented the can might be breached, in which case out they go. Single-serving cups of fruit and vegetables have to have an ingredient list on them or they can’t be safely sent out, either. Cans of pumpkin pie mix are “dessert,” but cans of just pumpkin are “fruit.” The date on the blue box macaroni and cheese is on the side and most vegetable cans are dated on the top, unless there’s a pull tab, and then it’s on the bottom. Good luck finding dates on the bags of beans and rice.


As I suspected, sorting is pretty dull stuff. Can of beans. Can of corn. Can of beans. Bag of rice. Crackers. Tuna. Peanut butter. Hold on, there? Where does this go?

Ah. I have been informed that a large bag of dried chilies goes in the Condiment box. I guess someone with a cast-iron gullet might have a use for them.

Great Frigga’s Corset! What sort of monster puts this

in the Food Drive? That’s even worse than the opened box of hot cocoa mix packets.

The banana boxes of food get labeled, dated, and weighed. Each category has a target weight for the box. Breakfast Foods, for example, should weigh 10 lbs per box. I guess cereal and pancake mix are light for their volume. Drink and condiment boxes weigh 40 lbs (about too much for the human female to lift), while canned goods are usually 36 lbs per box. The packers can fill a box two pounds under to two pounds over and still be all right.

The human female has just done this with a box of canned vegetables.

She looks inordinately pleased with herself, as if she expects balloons and confetti to fall from the sky amidst trumpet blasts. Pfft. Not a good look on her.

Well, Sigyn, I think we should be heading home. The big city-wide food drive sponsored by the local television station is happening today, and I have a sneaking hunch that a very large truck full of donations is due to pull in here any minute and all Hel will break loose.

(later, at home)

Sigyn, what’s that behind your back? You know we weren’t supposed to take any of the donated food. Even the junk food that was not being kept is off limits. But come on, show Loki what you’ve got.

Ah. Ehehehehe. That. Someone very thoughtfully donated a can of something that was so many years out of date that the food bank wouldn’t take it. They obviously knew it was beyond expired and stuck this cheerful paper poinsettia over the date stamp. Well, seeing as it’s you, Sigyn, and the poinsettia is your favorite color and it’s not food, I think we can all agree that you can keep it. Take it as your reward for checking so many cans of tomato sauce and soup.

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