On My Mind…

The subject has always been an issue, but recently it’s become more of an issue for me.  I’m talking about expiration dates.  I checked and found out that they only started appearing on our food in 1970.  But honestly, I don’t remember my mom ever checking dates when I grew up. 

To be honest, she still doesn’t.  I visited her in California several years ago and was making a sandwich.  When I went to spread the mayonnaise, I noticed it looked funny.  I checked the date and it expired three years ago.  THREE YEARS!!!  

“Are you trying to kill me?” I asked Mom.  I went for the mustard, but it was even older.  As I cleaned out her fridge, I reminded her of all the times she’d called me to say her stomach had been upset.  Then I went through her pantry and wow.  She had cans of food that was old enough to get their driver’s permit. 

She claimed she didn’t even know canned food had expiration dates.  I think the only reason my brothers and I are alive today is because we were a family of five and food didn’t last that long.

When I got back to Texas, I went through my pantry.  Lurking in the dark back corners, I found a can of black beans that should at least have been in kindergarten.

The expiration-date issue is on my mind because I’m doing a lot more cooking.  But mostly because I’m ordering my groceries and having them delivered.  The milk they brought us today has a three-day life expectancy.  The flour tortillas and the dozen eggs has four days.  Something about the whole quarantine dilemma has made me not want to waste food.  So, I’m going to be drinking milk and eating breakfast tacos for the next few days.     

Because my hubby has a compromised immune system due to his transplant drugs, we have to be extra cautious.  But I know a lot of people who treat expiration dates as merely recommendations.  They say, “Oh, those are sell-by dates.”  And yes, I know that’s true, but especially now with the shortage of toilet paper, I’m not taking a chance. Honestly, I’ve always tossed out milk the day before the expiration date. I never was big on the this-tastes-funny-try-it-and-tell-me-if-it’s-bad line.  If I even feel the need to do a sniff test, I usually toss it out.

How about you?  Are you sniff tester? A taste tester?  When’s the last time you checked your pantry for expired food?  Do you abide by the expiration dates or do you treat them like a suggestion?  On what products do you least take the expiration date seriously? 

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