Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Expiring Minds

Sadly, I don't have rock hard abs. I know, it's hard to believe but it's true nonetheless. However, if you were to take the time to dig a little deeper - perhaps just a few inches - you would undoubtedly find something made of a much stronger material. Steele. I'm referring, of course, to my stomach.

Mrs. LIAYF and I reside in two different camps when it comes to the food we serve in our household. She is borderline fanatic about making sure we are provisioned with only the best, and healthiest foods to prepare. Think organic, free range, low sodium. She keeps us stocked up on the good stuff and I am very appreciative of that.

I, on the hand, was raised on a farm and was leading a bachelor's life when I met my lovely wife. I'm pretty sure I could douse the carcass of a bloated rat with some Kikkoman's and call it a delicious meal. Who knows, there could have been times during my pre-nuptial days in which I unknowingly did just that.

The point is, I'm not picky. Or very discerning. But, being an equal partner in our household, I do my fair share of the grocery shopping. Usually, said shopping is accompanied by a list of which I rarely deviate. Unless I'm hungry at the time. Then there is no telling what I'll come home with. Most of this stuff gets shoved to the back of the fridge, or cupboard and forgotten about. That is until the next time we are cleaning out the cupboard, or the fridge.

Then the real fun starts.
Mrs. LIAYF is very literal when it comes to the dates they put on food packages. You pass that date, the food is getting tossed out. This, of course, drives me nuts. "These expired yesterday" she will say. At which point, not wanting to waste perfectly 'good' food, I will attempt to convince her that it is still good. I usually get a stern "Nope, not happening."

Any guesses who wins these debates? Bingo!

I remember one interchange recently where she was cleaning out the fridge and turned her gaze to an unopened jar of pickles. "These have been in here for a while." She proclaimed and started looking for a date on the jar. "They're pickled!" I exclaimed "How bad can they be?" at which point she pointed to the June 2007 date imprinted on the lid.

I muttered something under my breath about 'pickles not going bad', but had to admit she had me on that one.

The one incident that really hurt happened just the other day. I started frying up some brats I had bought at the store a few days before. She came in and looked at the package. "These say to only refrigerate for 3 days. When did you buy them?" "A couple of days ago." I replied.

"How many?"

"Uh, a few"

"More than three?"

"About three"


It was at this point she started looking through our receipts to find out when I had purchased them. Honestly, I wasn't really sure but they looked good enough to me. And they were PORK sausages! So I went to look for the receipt myself to reassure her, but when I had returned she had composted them. "The thought of them being bad was making me queasy. I would never have been able to eat them."


We ate cheese and crackers that night. Grrr. But, I suppose I didn't get food poisoning either, so I can't be too hard on her. And I really do love that she ensures that we eat healthy most of the time.
I will, however, keep trying to convince Mrs. LIAYF that the labels are an approximation. That a Best By date doesn't mean something should be tossed out. Take me for instance. My Best By date probably says Age 32, but I'm not rotten. Well, most of the time anyway.
And, I'm certainly not expecting to be tossed out anytime soon.


WeaselMomma said...

We always smell our questionable food items, especially meats, before we consider cooking them. Some foods get debated, but debated foods always get trashed.
Good rule of thumb. No food poisoning here.

Didactic Pirate said...

I totally get this. Recently heard in our household:
"What times is it? Aw, crap: Quick! Honey! Finish the milk! It expires in fifteen minutes!"

SciFi Dad said...


Sweet merciful crap, man: when you write shit like that you need to warn us! I almost ended up in the fetal position after reading that.

Heaterm said...

Sorry, with your wife on this one. Taken too many food safety classes in my life. And had horrendous food poisoning. I even have rubber gloves in my kitchen for when I cook raw meat. Which isn't often. *shudders*

OneZenMom said...

Oh man, this cracked me up. We have had those exact conversations over our kitchen fridge, too. I'm with The Mrs. on this one. When in doubt, throw it out. ;D

Sybil Runs Things said...

I am terrified of bad food! I always, always go with throwing the food out if it is past the exp. date or is in any way questionable.

This post was a funny read :)

Surfer Jay said...

Hah! Hey I use to work at Trader Joes, and when the food expired we would donate it to charity. Still edible.

Ed said...

I thought those dates were purchase by x date. Not consume by x date!

I may need to evaluate the cupboard.

Jessi said...

I'm with you. They are clearly approximations. Also annoying to me, my husband wants to throw out anything that has been out of the fridge for longer than it takes to eat a meal. Did the pioneers throw out delicious rice pilaf just because it sat on the stove for a half hour after supper? No, then neither shall we.

If I Could Escape . . . said...

My hubby and I are the same way. If it's past it's sell by date it's outta here as far as I'm concerned, but he will gladly consume anything no matter the date so long as it smells okay.

Mrs. M said...

I think they ought to add an "-ish" to the end of expiration dates, but I'm guessing the legal departments at these mega corps wouldn't allow it.

Juli said...

We like to think of those dates as more like "suggestions". It's a wonder that we're all still alive. I do know this though, if you put an egg in water and it floats, don't eat it. -J

Homemaker Man said...

There is actually no hard and fast federal mandate on those dates. Many expiration dates vary from state to state. Even county to county for some perishables.

That oughtta freak out Mrs. LIAMYF real good.

Which is why it's best to probably toss stuff when the date says it has run out. Although I have been known to quickly shove something in my mouth that my wife was about to throw out because it was one day past.

Rachael said...

In our house the roles are reversed. Canned foods? Do they EVER go bad? That's me. My husband, not so much. As soon as the milk passes the sell by date, he starts to say it smells funny. Maybe it does, but I think it can go a little further. I've been known to open a yogurt that expired a while ago and enjoy it. It smells/tastes fine and I have never gotten sick from it.

Keith Wilcox said...

Yeah, you didn't get food poisoning. True enough. Did you hear the one about the city in california that planted garlic in a road median. They wanted to take it out and a news station came to report on the decision. Well, some guy standing on the sidewalks says "Garlic keeps away vampires, and we haven't had any vampires yet, so the garlic must be working!" HAHAHAHAHA

Yeah, you didn't get food poisoning. You also didn't get pork sausage! LOL :-) Your wife sounds just like mine by the way.

Anonymous said...

I live with a pharmacist, so we too live and die by expiration dates, I feel your pain.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you here. My growing up on a farm experiences taught me that many things are edible, and for quite a while. Been on the floor? Fine. Milk past the date? My nose is expert, and milk will usually go another week. yogurt definitely lasts (ummm, it's already full of bacteria, right?) No food poisoning cases here. Canned green beans I might worry about, but soup, never (it's full of salt!) On the other hand, I am totally neurotic about clorox wiping any area or implement that has been near raw meat. And lunchmeat does get thrown out of my fridge regularly. And yep, I still eat raw cookie dough, at my peril, I'm sure I will be told (does it count if you used Egg Beaters?) :)

Knatolee said...

I see you are channelling my husband (and I am channelling your wife!) Hubby BUYS things expired, because he's so lax about checking dates. I throw them out. That said, I'm the one who has ended up in hospital twice with food poisoning, while he of the cast-iron belly happily digests all manner of things past their prime.

He'd probably enjoy your Kikkoman rat...