Opinion: Time in a bottle

Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

Our fridge gets a good once-over every month. We wipe off the shelves and throw out any food item that has a green slime. I’ve tossed  out a lot of good guacamole based on this criterion.

In the back of the pantry, we found Greenie Hard Chews for dogs. The box said “best used” by August of ’16. But what could go wrong with them? I wondered. Would they turn greener, get harder, become even chewier? I was OK with that, and probably the dog would be, too—if we still had one. Back in the closet went the Greenies.

There was a bottle of Bookbinder Cocktail Sauce for shrimp. It said: “Use by October 2014.” It looked fine, although I think shrimp sauce is supposed to be bright red, not black with maroon specks. I opened it and gave it a sniff. It smelled better than the fresh shrimp that had been in our fridge for only 36 hours. Back it went.

We found some Orville Redenbacher Popcorn, and under Orville’s picture it said “Expires May 2005.” I put the jar back because I think that might have referred to Orville and not the popcorn.

A jar of tartar sauce had no expiration date at all, but it did say “Famous since 1877.” I’m thinking this may have been a 100th anniversary edition of the product, so I got rid of it. Anything that backward  spells “rat rat,” you need to be careful with.

Finally, we threw away a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing. I think the name tells it all. It had hidden from us for 17 years.

In an effort to economize and be less wasteful, the Wolfsies decided to prepare a dinner out of food that probably should have been discarded:

  • Popeye Spinach (Best if used by December of ’13)
  • Artichoke hearts (Enjoy by March ’16)
  • Tomato soup (Use by April ’14)
  • StarKist Tuna (Put in toxic landfill after October 2010)

We found a bottle of wine in the back of the closet. I immediately poured it down the drain.You can take a chance with a can of asparagus from 2011, but a bottle of Merlot from 2006 was just asking for trouble.