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Free Food

edited 25 April 2016 at 10:57AM in Shop but don't drop
75 replies 35.3K views


  • Tim,

    Excellent stuff. Now I know why my husband is constantly going away on business trips, although he assures me he would much rather be at home with me and the two kids ;D ;D ;D ;D

    The Baroness
  • Shower caps!. Ah now your talking, my mate must be the English shower cap collecting champion. He's so tight that he brings them home as a present for his kids.

    On the other hand, I have a magnificent collection of minature shampoo bottles and minature soap. just in case I have to visit a travel lodge or something like that.

  • SystemSystem
    177.8K posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Hey great stuff, nice to see there are more people on the lookout for free food!!
    I am an IT Techy and sit no-where near the canteen and not on route to the meeting rooms. >:(
    BUT, I too have been getting FREE buffets for quite a while! ;) It was simply a matter of keeping on top of who is giving training sessions and when. Then speaking nicely to the canteen and offering to "help clean up the left-overs" And then not actually moving the trays when finished ;) ;D HA HA HA After slightly altering our lunch time we can now co-ordinate the start of our lunch with the end of the meetings!! It took a bit of trial and error but we now have it down to a tee!!!
    I had a 100% hit rate last week!! ;D I managed to "clean up" 2 out of 2 buffets! Even better, grab as much fruit as you can and store it in the Comms Room where its temperature controlled (nice and cool 18C) That'll keep you going till the next buffet :D ;D
    Nothing tastes quite as good as free fodder!
    Do it people, you know it makes sense.
  • debeastdebeast Forumite
    190 posts
    Superb Thanks for this :)

    Only problem is even the rats won't eat NHS food
    -34k to 0 from september '05
    Debt Free, Stoozing King, Shrewd spender
  • Tim_LTim_L Forumite
    3.8K posts
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    More fool the rats, I say.

    I have been a little concerned that I may have dropped some business travellers "in it" with some of my notes on the range of activities such people may or may not get up to whilst travelling on business. Is it coincidence, I ask myself, that Ben Affleck - an avid reader of these tips, who goes (if I am not mistaken) by the pseudonym of "Galstonian", was caught in fragranto delicto in a Canadian lap dancing club by his delectable fiancee Jennifer Lopez when he was supposed to be engaged in a little light filming? The resulting Latino conflagration being enough to take out most of the power supply to the Eastern Seeboard (or was it Atlantic? The deregulation of the power industry has made things so terribly confusing).

    I might add that I have never myself frequented any of these sordid places (in my case this is despite repeated hints to my usual US hosts), and neither has any husband of any wife reading this thread, obviously. I mean where would we find the time, frankly, being so busy working? And most of the evenings are spent walking around the bed, bored in the hotel (wondering how the film channels will show up on the bill *).


    (*) In fact, in a rather Alan Partridgesque moment, I did once completely accidentally manage to purchase one of the more dubious channels in an Amsterdam hotel, and had a hell of a job explaining that one to accounts, I can tell you.
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • laminkilaminki Forumite
    140 posts
    Tim, you're a star!
  • Tim_LTim_L Forumite
    3.8K posts
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    On the vague subject of NHS food, which, incidentally, I recall as having been the main daily highlight during my recent sejourn in hospital having my stomach pinned (the other being the daily sweepstake as to whether or not you would actually see a doctor), it's perhaps worth pointing out that I don't eat absolutely everything.

    Some meeting food, even when free, is just too much trouble. I recall the 15 minute quick buffet to which the thoughtful chef had provided about 10,000 prawns, complete with shells and legs, which looked terrific and tasted wonderful, but which frankly were not the ideal companion to dignified business networking whilst holding the plate one-handed. And obviously after a while, even the most hardened stomach worries a little about nasty bacterial diseases caused by the heat generated by the slide projectors, and consequent attacks of the squirts during the afternoon presentations and wrap up session.

    And then there are the foods I just can't eat because I can't stand them. Marzipan, for example (which is I suppose mildly surprising). And mushy peas (from the french, "pois mouche's", literally: "peas from the handkerchief").

    The third category is entirely occupied by Jerusalem artichoke soup. Because this, although heavenly, is simply the most lethally dangerous soup there is. But this is quite a long story, which I shall save for another occasion.
  • rachrach Forumite
    5.5K posts
    even those of us who aren't confined to office jobs manage to get free food. my job for a church involves visiting families at home and of course to catch the kids in this means i more often than not end up there at teatime! very handy. had lovely spag bol today courtesy of a lovely family & sausages tonight down the beach from others. its not purposely done, but a great perk of the job! ;-)
    Mum to gorgeous baby boy born Sept 2010:j
  • Tim_LTim_L Forumite
    3.8K posts
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Another way of obtaining free food is of course to grow it oneself, and for this there is nothing better than taking on an allotment. This is a genuinely good deal, because usually subsidised by local governments (I pay £30 a year, which is ludicrously good value), and also better value than a health club for a good deal of exercise in the open air.

    It's a bit of another world too: it's amazing how many interesting and crusty old characters you can meet, all of whom will freely offer you wildly differing and occasionally mildly aggressive advice about anything you happen to be doing as they pass. But with a bit of toil (which you can share with friends), a large bottle of Roundup, a petrol strimmer, and some rudimentary tools, you can open the door to almost limitless supplies of rather odd looking but perfectly nutritious vegetables.

    Which leads me naturally to the subject of Jerusalem Artichoke soup, and the dangers thereof, which I mentioned in a previous posting. The great thing about Jerusalem artichokes - a sort of nobbly potato like thing - is that they are unbelievably easy vegetables to grow in almost any garden or plot; in fact they can rapidly become invasive if you let them.

    They are also absolutely delicious, sort of like a creamy sweet rooty potato taste, and wonderful made into soup. The major drawback though is that their effect is roughly equivalent to eating 15 cans of baked beans washed down by a large barrel of coke followed by a Vindaloo: the best advice afterwards is to keep moving and avoid naked flames. I only really found out about this one day when I returned from the vegetable patch proudly bearing great tray of prime tubers. These were quickly transformed into soup, of which Mrs Linnell and I had two bowls each for lunch.

    Now, on this particular Saturday, we had dinner visitors. And not the usual sort of old-friend visitors you went to University with that you can joke with about bodily functions, but a rather straight laced couple comprising 'normal' people, the kind who talk about soft furnishings and show you their holiday photos.

    At the time they arrived, I have to say that we were already feeling mild discomfort downstairs (so to speak). I can honestly say that I have never competed so hard with Mrs Linnell to be the person who should go into the kitchen to fetch the bowls of crisps, pour new drinks, or check on the state of the cooking - basically as one host returned to their chair and sat down with a slight, almost Mona-Lisesque, smile of relief, the other (seemingly propelled upwards from out of their seat as if carried by some invisible jet) shot off. The only worry was the rapidly increasing volume level, which threatened to be audible even through closed doors. We couldn't look at each other either, because if we had we would have p*ssed ourselves, and so I think our guests must have concluded we'd had a big row or something like that.

    But it that was difficult, the meal itself was worse still. You know that thing you do (at least I presume you do, because I do) when passing wind in a public place sitting down, of kind of rocking from one buttock to the other and attempting to control the emission of gas such that it comes out silently? Well, imagine trying to do this virtually constantly while having polite conversation about evening classes or the colour of the wallpaper? Not easy, and of course the frequency of the offending events meant that there was a severe statistical risk that a real onion-scented-belter would just let rip, with no possibility of escape. Thankfully, as it turned out, the artichoke induced gas is relatively odourless, but every now and then the candles on the table would flare with a dangerous looking blue flame, and as you can imagine we were in something of a hurry to finish the food, clear the table, and rush off to the kitchen for a spot of relief ('no, no, just stay there, we'll do it. No, really. NO I INSIST! SIDDOWN'). I had to go upstairs between the main course and pudding, because after having added a bit of wine to the equation, I just had to roll around the floor and giggle helplessly for a few minutes. It was just too much.

    As soon as the last sip of coffee had passed the lips of our guests, we practically bundled them out of their seats, through the door, and into their car. As the red lights faded into the night, we closed the door, looked each other deep in the eyes, and let rip in relieved and noisy unison.

    Nothing, of course, to the great unpasteurised camembert incident, but that one will wait for another time (provided I can come up with some sort of link to the idea of free food).
  • You really are a star, Tim! I've never laughed so much for a long time. I hope you come up with a "free food" connection to the unpasteurised camembert. It seems a shame for us to miss it.
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