Forrest Gump would have said ‘cleaning the pantry is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get.’
First you must understand that our pantry is spread out over three areas in or near the kitchen. We have a dark closet, a Hoosier cabinet, and then several cabinets in our utility room.
Recently my wife thought it would be a kind act to free up a few shelves for some house guests we are expecting in a few weeks as they could be staying several weeks. Oh, the discoveries we made as we moved jars and bottles to different locations!
Pepsi-Cola. I’ve shared with you before that I do not drink soft drinks—haven’t in 40+ years. The liter bottle was not there for me. In 32+ years of marriage, I don’t think I have ever seen Jenni drink a Pepsi; she’s like me in that she rarely has a soft drink. We certainly wouldn’t be housing this bottle for our benefit. So why did we have it?
The expiration date on the bottle was September 2018. (I’m talking WAAAAY back in the dark closet!) Perhaps someone brought a liter to a party at our house pre-pandemic and when the guests left, we just shoved it in the bottom of the pantry closet. I can report that there was absolutely ZERO fizz when I opened it outside and poured it in the grass.
Raspberry Syrup. I can’t remember what we used to put this on, or in. The bottle was open and we had obviously enjoyed the first half at some point. But it no longer had a spot in our pantry or our palettes.
Salsa Lizano. This was a test of my memory but I finally got it! It was a tall, sealed bottle of a dark liquid. The fact that it had a black and white label stuck over the original manufacturer’s label really made it suspect. It was a product of Costa Rica. That’s when I remembered that our son had brought a small bottle home from his honeymoon in CR. He had said they ‘put that [stuff] on everything!’ I remember it was good. So, a few years ago I was in La Unica Supermarket, probably looking for churros, and I recognized the name on the bottle. I bought one for my son and one for us. Evidently we forgot about it.
The expiration date was June or July 2019. When I poured it out it resembled coagulated Worcestershire sauce. Maybe I should have put a bowl of it out for all the Ladybugs around the house.
After my mother passed away and my father was on his own, we found that using food staples in his kitchen was quite risky. My children and I had rules of self-preservation and number 412 was to always check the expiration date. Hopefully the day of organization in our own kitchen has taken care of the truly embarrassing expiration dates and we can stay on top of it from now on.
I should take a survey of how many readers are going to their cabinets at this very moment to double check their shelves for expired products.