When I was a child, I don’t recall ever seeing an Expiration Date, or a Good-Until Date on anything. We took a sniff or two of the milk before pouring it on the oatmeal. We pitched the cottage cheese and the hard cheeses if they got moldy. Actually, I think my mom cut the mold off the cheddar then grated the formerly expired brick of cheese into that evening’s Mac and Cheese.
Eggs were easy. If it stunk to high heaven when you cracked one into the cup, it was obviously bad. If the applesauce tasted really sour, like vinegar, it probably “turned” as my mother would say, and wouldn’t hurt us if we ate it.
Frozen food was never bad in those days because germs can’t live in below freezing temperatures. I know because my mother said so. It needed no Expiration Date. Cereal, cookies, and other dry goods were also not a concern, because bacteria can’t live in a dry environment.
My mother said so.
Then I grew up, got married, and bought groceries. By then, Expiration Dates had made their debut on milk cartons. It was stamped right onto the top tab for everyone to see that the grocer was selling fresh milk. I thought I was pretty clever when I figured out that the milk in the back of the cooler had a later Expiration Date, therefore I was getting more value for our hard earned money by pulling my milk from the back. Funny though, I still take a couple of sniffs when I open it before I pour it on my grandsons’ Lucky Charms. (Like all the chemicals, additives, refined sugar, and preservatives in the Lucky, Lucky Charms are OK. Right. The only Lucky thing about that cereal is the Grandkids. They are lucky that I will buy it for them as a treat because it’s not allowed at home.)
So, why am I talking so much about Expiration Dates, you ask? Well, I must preface the explanation with a big excuse…ever since I hit menopause, I make many stupid little mistakes daily that the younger me would never ever make. Like yesterday. I took the plastic jug of milk out of the fridge, noticed it won’t expire for a number of days, open it up, and took a couple of sniffs, like always. It didn’t smell good, at all. It smelled weird. I checked the date on it again, then had a little mental melt-down thinking maybe I was so menopause-whacko that I didn’t know for sure if it was still even November, but then shook off the possibility that I had finally reached my own Expiration Date — that event will for sure be far more entertaining than milk. So, I asked Hubby when he cracked open the seal, which, as it turns out, was only a day earlier to give our grandson a cupful before bed. I guessed maybe my sniffer was off, so I took a small sip of the weird milk. Yuck! I spit it into the sink it was so horrible tasting. Then just as I went to pour it down the drain, I saw the words on the label. It was BUTTERMILK! I bought buttermilk. Whacko menopausal me bought buttermilk. No wonder why the grandchild didn’t drink it.
Anyway, I know that was a long way to go to explain another stupid mistake, but the whole issue of Expiration Dates is getting pretty whacko, too. There is an Expiration Date on everything!! I can’t make myself pitch a $17 tube of sunscreen. I won’t put it on my Grandkids, but it will work just fine on me. I honor the expiration dates, but sometimes I need a therapist to talk me into pitching some “supposedly” expired things. I swear the manufacturers of these products are pulling the wool over our eyes. They know the expiration date guarantees repeat sales.
When my mother moved to a smaller place. I helped empty her house. There was 8 year old rice, 3 year old pickles, and 10 and 11 years old salad dressings, just to name a few examples. The suntan lotions and everything else in the medicine cabinet were destined to be appraised at the local antique shop — I hadn’t seen packaging like that in so many years that they could be valuable antiques. My mother-in-law was even worse. She obviously used everything no matter how old it was.
Which brings me to the point of today’s blog. I’ve had a revelation, “Old Ladies do not honor Expiration Dates”. Therefore, if we go through our fridge and medicine cabinet on a regular basis, and throw away everything that’s expired, then we won’t ever be Old Ladies. I like it — how about you?
Enjoying Life after the Big M,
About Ann Sandretto: With over 10 years of research behind Hormones-Beauty-Health.com. Ann created alwaysnewyou.com. Ann’s mission is to inspire women to continuously reinvent and renew themselves by providing trusted information, expert advice and a community for supportive interaction. Together with her panel of expert contributors, she shares health and beauty tips with women navigating menopause.