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.