Now, I realize that the reason I got free food was that the sammiches were close to expiring, and I happened to be at the right place at the right time, but also because I'm a semi-regular customer. Whether at small grocers or fine dining establishments, the "regulars" get the occasional freebie and discounts that less frequent customers do not.
I've taken advantage of end-of-day food store discounts, and have, at times, helped others to them. For instance, when I worked at the downtown Firehook location, on Fridays the remaining food that couldn't be taken to another local branch was (and still is) discounted by 50% in the final hour before closing, because that particular store is closed on the weekends. So, as a customer, I've periodically mozied down there to bring home tasty goods for the weekend, like cornbread (which is not painfully sweet like Whole Foods').
Of course, small restaurants like the Vegetable Garden (yum!) and chains alike offer loyalty cards, in which you get a card stamped after each visit, and get the number "x" purchase free. Of course, the best way to save money overall on food is using careful observation of prices and food amounts at all food stores and restaurants in your area.
I got roped into baking loaves of the fabled, admittedly delicious Amish friendship bread (pictured above) after a friend handed me a giant ziploc of the infamous beige goo. One problem with this cakelike quickbread was simply the timing--it's not the right time of year for baking, especially sweet spicy cakes (or chocolate desserts). For some reason I assumed the friendship was a true sourdough. NOT. Thus, why all the fuss?
My real gripe with the fussy treat is not the number of days (10) or steps required, but the sheer number and variety of ingredients used, which boggles the mind. For instance, because the starter contains yeast, why the need to add both baking powder and baking soda? Also, since the recipe calls for eggs and oil just before baking, what's the point of adding instant pudding mix (which is mostly sugar and cornstarch)?
Granted, the final product tastes like cinnamon doughnuts in loaf form, but I've had, and baked from scratch, other delicious cakes that took a lot less effort and fewer ingredients. Hmm, I guess this bread was not so "free" after all.