Friday, March 9, 2007

One a day


We moved into our house 17 years ago; that seems impossible to me, but there you have it. We've gotten to that "stuffed to the gills" point, as can happen when you live in a place a long time and acquire more than you should. It's my kitchen cabinets, lately, that have me feeling overwhelmed and driven to change -- I've recently pulled out some specialty ingredients to use (I do love to cook) and been horrified by how many years past their "best used by" dates they were. I guess I should qualify the "I love to cook" statement to also say that I love to find new recipes and stock up on the new and intriguing ingredients called for, but I (1) don't always get around to making the thing that I bought the ingredient(s) for and (2) don't necessarily repeat the reccipe often enough to make use of what I've bought.

The point of all this is that I started a campaign to toss out something every day. I would not, of course, throw away anything still useful to me or to someone else (I'd give something away before throwing it out) but I'm talking about those mystery bottles lurking at the back of the cabinets that have gone years, and years, and years past their dates. We accumulated a large collection of certain kinds of items (supremely hot sauces, for example) because of what friends and family knew of our eating habits back before our son was born. We just don't have the opportunity (or to some degree, the stomach anymore) for the most fiery cuisines, and so sadly some items did go unused for so long that they turned funny colors.... But having all this stuff crammed in my cabinets doesn't help, so out it goes. The McCormick spice company ran a great series of ads last fall and into the holiday season about how to determine how old your spices might be (and how therefore it was time to pitch them and start fresh) -- I want to say it was something about whether Baltimore was listed on the label as their headquarters, and whether the packaging was tin or glass. I thought it was inspired, and wondered just how many tons of ancient spices are lurking in kitchen cabinets out there.

2 comments:

Flibbertygibbet said...

I'm kind of scared to think how old that jar of tahini in the cupboard is - am I really ever going to make my own hummous again...?

Jennifer said...

Join my club and toss it out! The other thing I've been trying to be more careful about is using a permanent marker to label containers with the date I open them, to spare me the time wondering if something's now poisonous....