Thursday, August 23, 2007

Buttercup goes veggie

Getting used vegetable oil has been quite an endeavor. We started our first afternoon in Chicago running to the ethnic market to get some veggies for our thursday evening slideshow gathering. With arms full of the best non-organic goods we could find, some fresh baked warm slovenian bread, peruvian raisins and some fenegreek seeds to sprout in the back window of the car, we sought out the first thai restaurant en route. We scanned the menu outside to check if they fry anything. Sleek from the outside and ambient from in; the hostess got the manager and the manager requested the chef and for the first time, his lack of interest in our project and concern for liability took us right out the front door as fast as we came in. Not all hostesses and vendors have been so disinterested in realizing that we are trying to help their burden of having to pay for their oil disposal services.

There was this delightful waitress in suburban Ohio Eat n' Park diner, who had heard about waste vegatable oil cars on the news. She kindly warned us of the ding of their oil disposal, sharing her concern for our well being and encouraging us to try out the Chinese restaurant a plaza down the highway.

Then there was Sotiraq from the restaurant supply store. He cussed avery other word, offered us some marlboro red cigarettes, that we kindly declined, let us scavenge through the back alley of his ramshackeld restaurant supplies and was neither pleased or delighted to get us in touch with the A*&%$^% from the restaurant 12 miles down the way. 12.5 miles of sign research and photo taking at the red lights on gratiot ave, we emerged to the scalloped counter diner. His thick accented friend, welcomed us to the black bin of oil out back. The same bin that the Ohio waitress had saved us from. There is more in there than waste vegetable oil. Animal parts it looks like, ignited with extinguished butts of cigarettes. No thanks! He was sad that we weren't excited about his oil. But when we saw that he used a mix of shortening and veg oil, we were quick to leave. Shortening will clog the fuel injector and the 10 feet of tubing that makes our system we strolled out the back door, not without taking his picture of course and letting him know he might be famous one day.

My Aunt Anne 50 miles north of Chicago has 5 clean gallons that she has never used, probably from a turkey fryer I would think. It seems appealing. Getting to know how restaurants dispose of their oil has been our biggest surprise. Do you think vegan fast food restaurants in Chicago, in addition to making dairy and animal free goods also dispose of their oil with a concern and thoughtfulness for the Grease Girls and others of like mind and vehicles that will want to collect it? We will surely find out.

For now we have the beauty of a road vehicle parked in the covered garage of Joanna's folks house. We are expecting 10-15 people who have shared an interest in our project to come and share some summer delights (potluck style). We are fashioning a slide show and looking forward to the record collection that will either have us hoe-downing or salsa dancing through the night...we'll have to see.

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