Thursday, September 6, 2012

The One Where We End Summer By Eating from a Garbage Can

For all the things we didn't do this summer.  We did finish well.

True story:  every time I type "finish well" I think "Finnish Well" and I wish I knew how to speak with a Finnish accent, because I'm pretty sure that would be fun.

The best way to finish (not Finnish) well is by eating from a garbage can, naturally.

Which no doubt begs the questions: How does one eat out of a garbage can unnaturally?

I digress.


The one and only memory my kids have from this summer, aside from the fact that Tyson had surgery - is that my parents put in a lovely pool this year, just to make sure none of us strayed too far from home. So, as often as we could - we went up there to swim and to just hang out in paradise.

Dad thought it would be fitting to have a big season finale before the kids were all back in school.  So they prepared our favourite big gathering feast: "The Garbage Can Meal".  It's something that Josh's extended family apparently used to do when he was growing up.  I don't really know all the details, because, well - although we married young we didn't grow up together, and given Josh's propensity for forgetfulness, I think it was actually his Dad that told my Dad about it years ago...and now we're playing the Mennonite game and does it really matter where it all started?

We like to eat from garbage cans.  At least, this particular one that is saved only for cooking.  You want to know how to do this yourself, don't you?

Take a never-been-used metal garbage can.  Wash it, Water-test it, and solder any leaky spots.  I have no pictures of this step because this was done years ago.  But when you're done, it looks like this:

 Soak a load of potatoes, carrots and a few onions for....I don't know, a while. My Dad wished he had cut the potatoes in half again - probably could have shaved 20 minutes off the final cooking time.

Peel a bunch of corn...I'm guessing it's 4 dozen cobs here.  We like to attempt to make enough for double the amount of people present at any gathering.

Place husks in the bottom of said garbage can

Chop up a bunch of farmer sausage.  Farmer Sausage is Bacon's Mennonite cousin.   That sounds weird...but delicious.

Get yourself a heat source - my Dad has this fancy burner, and it gives a nice constant clean heat.  I think way back in the olden days when Josh's family would do this, they would make a platform of stacked firewood and place the garbage can on that?  If you are using a fire, cover the bottom of the can with dishsoap (on the outside) so it will clean up and not be permanently charred afterwards.  Handy tips and tricks from this gal.  It's why you come here, right?

Cover the husks inside the can with water.  Chuck all your food inside.  Cover it and cook until done.For the amount we had, I think it took 1 1/2 - 2 hours. And could have easily fed 30 or more gluttonous adults.

It was fantastic.  It always is.

And my great big family.  I love you.  Anywhere with you is my happy place, especially if there's farmer sausage.

Here's to a happy fall!


  1. now THAT is unique (and delicious-looking)

  2. what a grand community-get-together idea!! Thanks for posting- just as much fun as a stone soup party!

  3. Hi Karina,

    I just found your blog, and I'm so glad I did! I lost track of you for a bit. So great to see what you guys are up to these days. Your family is looking fabulous.

    I'd love to catch up. (tlroes at hay dot net)



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