A Blog by Gail Cushman
In the past two years, I’ve become a useless sloth when it comes to cleaning, but reality hit today when I spilled a half empty carton of whipping cream in the refrigerator, and it leaked all over, dripping even into my veggie bins. I threw up my hands because I had other things to do, and the spilled whipped cream was interrupting my day, but I decided to bite the proverbial bullet (where did that adage come from). I started taking things out of the frig and placing them on the kitchen counter so I could have a go at making my refrigerator sparkle again. It shouldn’t be difficult, I thought, after all, how much stuff can a refrigerator hold. I have a regular sized frig, not one of those extra-large jobbers that seem huge on the outside but are still too narrow to hold a whole pizza.
The top shelf held a lot of green things, pickles, relishes, and even a jar of green beans, but there were some other green things, too, moldy items, obviously past their “death-by date.” I moved the trash and recycle containers, so I could sort out which items to keep, toss, or send to my grandkids because they will eat anything.
I eat a lot of salads and have more than a half dozen bottles of salad dressing, most of which have a good amount of liquid inside, but I happened to notice that my two bottles of Olive Garden dressing (probably from Costco) had expiration dates in 2019, so I guessed it was probably smart to toss them. But wait, the dressing with the picture of Paul Newman reads 2015, but I don’t want to get rid of Paul. It’s darn good dressing, and he has darn beautiful eyes. That’s only six years. It’s vinegar based, so how bad could it be?
It’s a curious thing about expiration dates because when I was growing up, my mother home-canned everything and sometimes the jar filled with Emmett cherries went a few years before it was eaten. She would stick a piece of adhesive tape on the jar with a date, and it was not uncommon for us to eat food that had been canned several years before. She’d open the jar, sniff it, and say, “It’s still good, got another year or two. If it tastes bad, we’ll toss it out.” But we never tossed it out.
Now they even put expiration dates on water. Really? Water expires? That seems a little iffy. And vinegar? My bottle expired in 2017, but isn’t vinegar just spoiled wine? Some things taste better when they are aged, look at cheese and for that matter aged beef and wine. And another question, are the expiration dates solid, meaning if the date is June 9, will I keel over and die if I eat it on June 10? What happens on June 9 that makes it inedible? I’d like to know.
I finally got to the bottom of the refrigerator and now I have to figure out what goes to the dump and what is recycled and which kind of plastic goes to the recycle bin and which goes to the dump.
Note to self…don’t ever buy whipping cream again. It’s way too much trouble.
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