The Student Menu

There are those among you who never break the rules. You don’t jay walk, you don’t drive 55 in a 50 zone, and you never mix the glossy magazines with the newspapers in the recycling bin.

You probably refrigerate after opening as the label instructs, and when a loaf of bread says “Best Before SEP 10” that loaf is eaten or in the trash by the time the sun rises in the east that day.

Well not me. I like rules, and I follow most of them, but food is a different issue. I was one of those kids who carried candies in his pockets to school, even though we weren’t allowed to eat junk food. They weren’t wrapped, and I eventually started coughing up furballs like a sugar crazed feline, but where’s the harm in that?

Every once in a while (ie twice a year, max) I had to clean the room Jos and I shared as a child. Invariably we would find a couple of pennies here and there, and very often I’d somehow happen upon a jelly bean or a smartie that had somehow been forgotten. I suppose it wasn’t forgotten, but lost, considering it would always be in the corner under the bed covered in dust bunnies, but I wasn’t one to be worried and after a quick rubbing with my hands I’d pop that candy into my mouth and smile at my luck.

That’s how I came to discover the curiously delightful experience of eating year old candy canes – they soften with age, you see.

Well, I still find the occasional candy on the floor (Tom found a piece of a ‘Cadbury Fruit and Nut’ bar outside a hut on Stewart Island and I quickly managed to get it from him and toss that down into my stomach – it tasted kind of like soap, but that’s the nature of the evil yet commercially successful Fruit and Nut member of the Cadbury family, but I digress). I still eat that candy after a quick rub. Recently I had a delicious blue bubblegum jelly bean from the laundry room.

Well, what does any of this have to do with the present, you ask? Yesterday I located an unused ‘Welcome Package.’ These packages are just big zip lock bags with some brochures, guidebooks, and free food in them. The food consists of a tea bag and instant coffee, some chips, crackers, cream for your tea/coffee, instant noodles, and a juice box. All in miniature form, all in single servings.

Well, this treasure trove happened to be a bit antiquated… after all, the school year started in late February. However, that’s no reason (according to me) not to eat all the free stuff. I used to buy chips from the convenience store dude near my house for half price once they were a week past their date, cuz otherwise he’d have to return them to the chips company.

I present to you my findings of yesterday’s study:

Just Juice orange juice with apple base. “Best before” April 2005 –> 5 months past due.

Le Snak cheese dip with crispbread. “Best before” April 16 2005 –> 5 months past due.

Meadow Fresh ultra pasteurized milk. “Use by” June 16 2005 –> 3 months past due.

Ripples salt and vinegar chips. “Best before” May 25 2005 –> 4 months past due.

What did I learn from my experiment? I learned that food expiration dates (or ‘best before’ dates) should be completely ignored. They mean nothing. I felt great after eating all that delicious antique food. Just look at the contented expression on my face:

Just kiddin’ – I was actually quite content. See?

The moral of the story: “waste not, want not.”

If you don’t waste, the way I don’t waste, you can complain as much as you like about eating food off the floor and, in the eternally echoing words of Bob Dylan, “scrounging for your next meal.” Now I’m off to search for a snack under the couch cushions.

8 Comments

  1. Nik Pinski September 21, 2005 at 00:21 #

    Welcome to Western Civilization.

    “Back in Soviet Russia”, (I love writing sentences that start with that. It automatically catches everyone’s attention and makes whatever follows it seem automatically cool and profound. Like – WOW this guy is gonna bring us unique and kooky experiences from behind the Iron Curtain. You know – that place where things do you, and you have to dodge giant tetris blocks falling on you – tossed from the sky by the Party Leadership. Where you own everything and nothing at the exact same time. The land of beatiful paradoxes. And it’s usually true. But I clearly digress.)

    Back in Soviet Russia, if any food gets WITHIN a month of the expiry date, it’s time to toss it no matter how little food you got. Starvation is a painful thing but what’s the use of eating anything if you’re gonna just throw it all up anyway and get salmonella to boot. This applies to everything. Eat things as fresh as possible, and cook the shit out of everything else. When I came to Canada for the first time, I always ate steak WELL DONE. My parents still do. They want it burnt to a crisp. It took me almost a decade to go all the way down to Blue Rare, and now I know just how delicious animal blood really is. Russia has changed in many ways but if I was a betting man, I’d still put money down that unless you buy food at ridiculously over-priced stores catering to the new Russian oil billionaires, you STILL need to be more careful with food than you would be with radioactive plutonium rods.

    Not so in the West. A day overdue? A Month? Even a YEAR (i’ve eaten food that past overdue). MOST of the time you’ll be just fine. Expired food is a-okay. It’s an excellent feature of living in democratic capitalism. They should put it in the brochure.

  2. Anonymous September 21, 2005 at 14:50 #

    I’m so proud!

    Also, any of my friends you haven’t met will instantly ask you if you’re related to me if you ever meet them, I’m sure, as long as there’s the averted potential for food wasteage(sp?).

  3. vania September 21, 2005 at 21:10 #

    so this is what you’re doing when you really ought to be studying…

  4. lizards September 21, 2005 at 23:18 #

    hey chris, yeah I did write it, and thanks :) I have mr holowka (peter holowka…) as an english teacher and I’ve already sent it in, but mom said he wouldn’t know the difference lolz

    love you lots! awesome photos! I like the one where you’re smiling after eating the chips or w,e hehe, you’re handsome in it, and you look sooo much older! gurr…

    I miss you!

  5. Anonymous September 22, 2005 at 12:14 #

    mmm delicious old food. Excellent choice of dining!

  6. Anonymous September 22, 2005 at 14:47 #

    You know, the only thing that bothered me was the milk. I mean, was the milk refrigerated?!?!

    DC

  7. Anonymous September 22, 2005 at 23:49 #

    How many hours did you spend in the washroom? lol

  8. PhotoDiarist September 23, 2005 at 03:37 #

    Uh… the normal time? I may not have made it clear, but I felt no ill effects from eating some old food. Old snack food doesn’t give you food poisoning, rotten meat and other such things do.

One Trackback

  1. By Adventures in Uppsala on May 17, 2010 at 00:08

    […] A few of you (who am I kidding, are there even a ‘few’ people reading this?) may recall my clinical trials of the effects of eating expired food items, including photos: http://photodiarist.com/2005/09/student-menu.html […]

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