Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Are you or somebody you live with a freshness date Nazi? That is, do you toss stuff from the fridge just because it is past the date the manufacturer stamped on the package? If so, you are wasting your money.
Humanity became an exceedingly successful species without freshness dates. Considering doing your wallet a favor and using the tools that God gave you to determine whether food is too old to eat -- sight, smell, and taste. So sez me.
Regular blogging will resume forthwith.
UPDATE (late Wed night): Dang, I can't believe that I forgot to link back to this post. That's what happens when you've been blogging for almost seven years.
In Central America I have eaten beans that sat in an unrefrigerated but screened off food safe- like the old pie safe- for a day or two. Maybe three. I have suffered no ill effects, nor did my hosts. Maybe the chilies on the side killed off the harmful bacteria and protozoa.
It was in the mountains, so the food wasn't subjected to temperatures in the 90s.
I only use them when cleaning out the refrigerator: "This has been in here how long? Oh, it's probably not so great anymore." For instance, how long are tortillas supposed to be good? I recently tossed a half-used bag which had been in the refrigerator since May or June. After some point, I was afraid to eat them, but there was no mold or other signs of spoilage, so I just left the bag there until I was motivated to clean the refrigerator out again.
Opposite problem. My wife was out of town and I used to opportunity to clean out the breadbox in the kitchen (normally her domain).
I discovered at least one new life form and about a dozed sepia toned Halloween popcorn packets.
My son recognized the packets as halloween treats he got from trick or treating.
My son is now 27....
We were talking about this yesterday at our local food pantry. in theory we more or less use something like this:
in practice, those of us who have been hungry try to remember act accordingly.
Funny you should mention this....
I have just eaten a sandwich with some standard French's mustard on it. I'm a big frou-frou mustard fan, so I am always eating Spicy brown, Jack Daniel's Honey, stuff like that. As a result, poor basic French's bottle wound up in the back of the Fridge. I'm just finishing it now.
It's dated, "Best by December, 2007".
Tastes just fine.
Our local food bank is a freshness date Nazi. Any food donated that is over the date is thrown away rather than given to the poor. There isn't any lack of food to give away because the local capitalistic food corportations are so generous, so I guess it isn't that big a deal. Perhaps they are just Freshness Date Facists, or something.
Wow, I read the aricle. My Dad, the doctor, was right about health food! He used to say, "You have to be careful with health food, it can make you very sick."
Doctors think some of the strangest stuff is funny.
Nothing wrong with the sniff test. It's one of the things the nose was evolved to do.
And to the discarder of old tortillas: shame on you! Do what the Mexicans do with stale corn tortillas, and make chilaquiles. One of my all time favorite breakfasts!
As somebody who once had the wife throw out a bar of sharp chedder because "it had mold on it", you have my sympathy. (of course it has mold on it woman, thats what makes it sharp...)
We really need a soundtrack for this thread. I would suggest Weird Al's "Livin in the Fridge" or George Carlin's "Icebox Man".
That might be a complicated question, Kurt.
Different levels of "bad" hit folks differently. (It's not like it's an on/off switch, it's more like a continuum.)
TL:DR after this.
My mom's mom could eat stuff that would have made my mom and I sick; last year, when my mom, two of her brothers and most of their children went to the same Mexican restaurant and got food poisoning from the refried beans, only my generation got it.
My mom utterly ignores dates on anything that isn't vet supplies; her mom thought nothing of scraping off part of an inch-thick fuzz on top of cottage cheese, wiping off that spoon and eating from the container.
If your body isn't use to dealing with higher levels of byproducts, you'll get sick easier.
Foxfier's comment makes me think of a farm visit I took in the Catskills. The farmer (escapee from Connecticut, son of a doctor) pointed to his strapping teen kids as examples of what living amidst germs can do for you: they never seemed to get sick. His comment, "the world needs more exposure to e. coli, not less of it..." if you want healthy young'uns.
Of course, the guy could be a stand-up comedian if the farming gig doesn't work out.
The first time I stayed over at X's house, she served me some cornflakes the next morning. Their flavor was odd, their consistency very crisp. I checked the sell-by date, which suggested they should have been sold 10 years previously. I thought, "Perhaps this will be my first relationship where her frugality is actually a problem."
This thought was, like, totally prophetic.