As my kids were growing up I was, I confess, somewhat of a distracted, haphazard housewife. I was always busy with interesting projects, juggling the kids’ activities and cooking meals for them, and then fussier dinners for my husband and I. My life was full.
So keeping house was a low priority. The house wasn’t super-filthy or anything, but definitely not pristine clean. I wouldn’t have encouraged you to eat anything off my floor. Forget the three-second rule in my house, if you dropped some food, you were wise to consider it a lost cause.
And my fridge seemed to harbour bearded food that likely could have walked out on its own. To this day, when the kids visit they still sniff something coming out of my fridge, just in case. They comment that they are amazed that they didn’t get food poisoning as children, given that I was prone to be a bit cavalier about those “best by dates.”
Last fall I decided to clean out and move stuff around in my kitchen. It wasn’t working for me, and so I rearranged the cupboards, much to my daughters’ chagrin – as if they did any cooking when they came home. I don’t think so.
But I have to say I was a little horrified to discover that my canned goods were three years past their sell-by date. I’d got them when we moved to the farm and they sat buried at the back of one cupboard. In fact, that was one of the reasons why I wanted to re-arrange the set-up in the kitchen. However I did wonder what would happen to you if you ate anything from the offending tins. Maybe your hair would turn curly or I might have found some miraculous cure for the common cold.
Well, we will never know, as I ditched the lot, feeling extremely guilty and frivolous at the same time. After all there’s the starving in Africa, and here I was just extravagantly chucking out cans of food that had wasted away, hidden in my cupboards.
It seemed like my sordid little secret, but when I ‘fessed up to my friends, it would appear that I am not alone. As harried mothers, those deadline dates alluded us all. Although in fairness, much also depends on your organizational skills. I have one friend who “files” her cans and herbs in alphabetical order. Now that seems a tad anal to me, and even if I started such a system, I could never maintain it, so why bother.
Living on a farm with a small kitchen has forced me to be more selective as to what I keep. M y focus is more on universal use so that I can improvise on a recipe when I don’t have something, as I don’t want to drive 30 minutes to the nearest grocery store.
Yes, lean and mean that’s me these days. Not all together a bad thing as at least there is less chance of food being discarded because I forgot to use it in time. Well OK … I admit, some habits are hard to break, but you know I am much more organized now.
And you don’t have to be nervous if I ask you for dinner, I promise. You will survive.