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Thursday June 29, 2006 // By Sandy

When expiration dates start to mean something

This week, 21 months after we moved in to this apartment and mashed all of our possessions together, I finally cleaned out our kitchen cabinets. This involved mainly the top shelves, where cans of beans and unsealed bags of rice are left to die a slow and smelly death. It was a task long overdue.

The operative word being ‘overdue’. My concern for trivial things like expiration dates has been, let’s be honest, a slowly improving phenomenon. The crimes have ranged from the egregious, in my early years—ask Bob or Levi about the horror story of The Watermelon In The Fridge—to ignorant or just plain lazy in more recent times. If there’s a foodstuff in my cupboard that’s vacuum-sealed, thus hiding any signs of aging and degredation, then I’ve been known to let it sit for years. It’s my own personal metaphysical expiriment. I call it Schroedinger’s Cabinet.

I’ve gotten better over the years, mainly thanks to Sarah and her disgust for my extreme frugality. And as all good fiancees do, she’s trained me to alter my ugly bachelor ways. So it was with some personal shock this week that I found myself actually wanting to clean out our cabients and actually throw food away. It was tough. Here you see a portion of the food that we once promised a loving home, but now relegate to the garbage heap:

So long, Spam
So long, Spam

The exercise wasn’t all painful. I also used it as an excuse to reorganize and recategorize our shelves, an activity I treat with an unnatural exhilaration. Sarah may have a grip on what food enters—or barring that, remains—in our home, but I get to decide where it lives. We make a pretty good team. I bet we’d kill at Supermarket Sweep.

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