Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Food Museum

This morning marks the end of the holidays for me. I'm back to work in a couple of short hours. The thing I love about the Christmas/New Year break is that it is the longest stretch of time I get all year in my own home. Now it is almost finished.

I did so much food shopping just before Christmas, that with creative meals towards the end of the holidays, I haven't had to step foot outside Whitelees in almost two glorious weeks. The thing that has been nice about being at home is that some much needed things got done. I gave the bathroom a very good clean. Jill does an okay job each week, but I needed to go through the medicine cabinet and throw stuff out and re-organise the shelves. I also cleaned behind things that obviously haven't seen a cleaning cloth in far too long.

Yesterday, I had a go at the kitchen cabinets. I went to the cabinet where we store booze and actually dumped a whole bunch down the drain. It was old, possibly lethal. Question? Is it bad when the ouzo we bought about nine years ago in that quaint little shop in a very remote little corner of Rhodes no longer smells of liquorice? Answer: Probably. It got dumped. There was some even older Eau de vie au pruneau (homemade French white lightning made from prunes). It frightened me and went down the drain.

It was good to get all the bottles out of the bottom of the pantry and give it all a good wipe down. It feels better.

Inspired by the orderliness of the pantry, I tackled the shelves where the tins are kept. I'm sure every kitchen has something similar: A cabinet where cans and tins of food are stored. Mine started out neatly, but as the years progressed, the cupboard got more and more jumbled. With the desire to restore organization, I went in there. I'd get all the tins of soup lined up in one area, the canned fruit in an orderly queue in another row. It'll be bliss.
There, that is everything out. When I started taking things out, I thought I'd just check expiration dates while I was at it. That fruit cocktail didn't really expire in 2000!?! Good God! When was the last time I did this????

It ended up that there were quite a few things that needed to be thrown out as they had reached the expiration date. Some had passed that important date a while ago. I was mortified! The above photo is all the expired food.
All the food that hasn't reached its expiration date is now in tidy little rows in the cupboard. None of it will poison me or my family and the kitchen cupboards have ceased their crawl towards the status of food museum.


Alan G said...

Congratulations on the kitchen cabinet exorcism....

I have been threatning my kitchen cabinets with a "make-over" for several months now. I shutter to think what expiration dates I might encounter.

sally said...

Several years ago, at Christmas time no less, we were searching my mother-in-law's cabinets for some hot cocoa. We found some, only it had expired in 1976!! A full ten years ago. That's the best expiration story I've got. I now toss things regularly, but I'm just thinking of the jars of peaches in the to go.


Jay said...

I keep a pretty close eye on expiration dates. I kind of have a thing about that. Always checking the date on everything I get ready to eat, just in case.

But, I also have very limited space and can't get too much stocked up.

Tink said...

My Dad used to keep expired food just so it looked like he had more food than he really did. Demented? Probably. It was really disturbing as a kid to come over, reach for some cheese, and find nothing but a big black block of fuzz.

So your situation? Not so bad! :)

Betty said...

I don't pay a lot of attention to expiration dates on anything but perishables such as milk. I suppose I should, but I tend to think canned goods are good forever.

gawilli said...

It is interesting how we feel good after vacation having spent it cleaning or doing home type things we otherwise don't have time for. I headed back to work with several boxes filled for the Amvets to pick up.

Your story reminds me of my friend who worked in a group home. It was her job to prepare the residents for an independent living situation. Her first week on the job she gave one of the men the task of organizing the food pantry. The next day he was still working, working, working. It turned out he was Obsessive Compulsive. First he organized by color, then by variety, then in alphabetical order...thank heavens no-one told him about freshness dates!

claude said...

That's almost a bit of Spring cleaning! Good job!