There are some truths I hold to be self-evident. Avoiding spoiled food, for example. Sometimes it’s hard to say if it’s really spoiled, but if it’s well past the expiration date I’m not going to try my luck. Dan, on the other hand, feels that most food expiration dates are more like guidelines, suggestions, opinions.
Other than when we have guests, we’re not exactly the kind of people who come home and prepare a meal. A quick soy dog, a bowl of cereal with almond milk, or microwave frozen pizza (it’s an acquired taste). So when I was craving a salad last February the whole bottle of dressing I bought is just sitting in my fridge. I was absolutely going to make hummus one weekend, but time slipped away and now the tahini sauce has been in the fridge for nearly two years (or so).
Next thing you know I’m in the mood for salad again, but the blue cheese dressing is out of date by say, 8 months. I toss the dressing. Yes, I feel guilty about all the starving people around the world who have lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, maybe some nice shredded carrots, but no dressing. Heck, I’m willing to send cases of Ken’s Chunky Bleu Cheese to developing nations, but I’m not going to eat questionable dressing.
If Dan is fixing a salad and finds the way out of date dressing, he’s not one to make a hasty decision. First he triple checks the date; perhaps if he squints his eyes a certain way it will look like 2012 rather than 2002. Next, he holds the bottle up to the light and carefully examines the contents, and reads off the ingredients. He will note that blue cheese can’t go bad because it’s already made out of mold, and the eggs in there are pasteurized, and really the thing is so full of chemical preservatives it would survive a nuclear winter.
As I gag and look on in horror, Dan goes right ahead and takes the top off and gives it a good smell. “I don’t think it smells bad. I mean, it might smell a little weird but I don’t think it has gone bad.” Seriously? He’ll shrug his shoulders and go right ahead and eat it. I’m concerned, so I tell him not to let the cats get too close. I see no reason for him to take the cats down with him.
Sometimes I’ll just set a timer to check on his breathing every half hour or so…but sometimes I forget and get kind of caught up in a TV show. The bottom line is that he has never once gotten sick from eating food 10 years after the expiration date.
A few weeks ago he pulled out some bottled water that that seemed to have been sitting in the garage for a few years. I asked if it had been sitting around for a while, and he confirmed that the water should have been safe for consumption through 2008.
I started to fuss about the water, but ultimately it’s just water. I don’t think water goes bad, really. The truth is if you told me 20 years ago I would be buying water in a bottle as if it was soda, I would have said that the concept was ludicrous. It comes right out of the tap for free!
But that was then, and this is now. I turned my nose up at the bottle of old water he offered me and grabbed some freshly filtered water instead.