EXPIRY DATES


I don’t know what going on with my nearest and dearest, well to be more precise Rosie. She has suddenly started checking packaging and especially expiry dates on food.

Now back in the day food came in two varieties – fresh or vrot – the fresh food you ate and the vrot food your mom made into pot luck soup – which by the way was sooooooo delicious you always went back for seconds.

Hardish bread was toasted and really, really hard bread was made into bread and butter pudding. Bread with green stuff growing from it was ……. ummmm …… I cant really remember what happened to that bread but I am sure that something did.

I never and I mean NEVER in my growing up years between the ages of 4 and 40 examined a tin for its expiry – rule of thumb was that if a tin went WHOOSH when you opened it there may-possibly-remotely-inamillionyears be possibly-maybe something wrong with it, but then again a hungry student will and can eat just about anything without any side effects – it may or may not have something to do with the amount of alcohol that was pickling the insides of our bodies.

When we first started dating Frans and I sort of ate out a lot, eating a home cooked meal was a special thing and came to an abrupt halt when I gave him food poisoning on butternut soup (there is still a small part of me that reckons that he acted the whole thing so that I would stop cooking).

When we first had kids and until very recently we would eat what they ate – no “eat your broccoli or else!” in our house.

Now at the ripe age of 11 Rosie has turned into a food monster. She checks all food, shopping has become a seriously long process where she will pick up an item then:

a. Check the expiry date – now remember this very poorly laser printed or on boxes sort of squashed on the box date is normally in a really random and hard to find place, she then;

b. Puts the item into the trolley, or, shouts at the top of her voice MOM!!!!!! I then run – fearing the worst – tripping over shoppers, displays, random spilt items and shelf-packers to check if she is OK, I then get asked “Is this ok if it is a year before its expiry date?”. “Yes Dear”, (read – YES YOU LITTLE NON-CHILD OF MINE!), I huff, “R u sure?”, she repeats, “Yes Dear (Read – No I Just Moved My Lips A Few Seconds Ago AND Made Funny Word Noises For Fun DEAR!), and there the whole process will repeat itself many many times till we leave the store.

Now I am not sure about what the whole big deal is about and I am not sure whether or not we even had expiry dates on food back in the day. But now – since Rosie has this “thang” I haven’t really started going with the flow, but it has got me thinking. Here is an example:

You used to be able to buy Coca Cola – and that was ONLY on Fridays, special occasions and on road trips where garages would only sell Coke (and only in a stand-up fridge outside the office which you had to drink outside the office or forfeit your bottle deposit). NEVER did we worry that Coke contained Carbonated water, Sugar, Caramel, Phosphoric Acid, Flavouring and Caffeine, and that it was bottled under Authority of the Coca Cola BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA …..

We never worried about how much of your RDA allowance of anything was affected by 250 ml of the delicious treat, and we NEVER worried about how much energy, protein, glycaemic carbohydrates, total fat, total sodium and dietary fat ANYTHING contained. The expiry date did not even enter our Planetsphere.

Most of us lived to tell the tale.

In fact the words “Its something I ate” was actually code for “I drank too much last night”, “I’ve got food poisoning” was “I drank too much last night” and, “I’ve got a hangover” was “I drank too much last night”.

Nowdays it takes you longer to read the packaging than to cook and eat Christmas Dinner. My advice, well its simple – eat, enjoy and have fun on the ride. My advice to my package reading daughter, simplify your life, Supermarkets and grocery suppliers do not go out of their way to poison as many customers as possible, relax and enjoy the fact that your supermarket will go out of their way to ensure that non-expired items are on their shelves. Actually spend as much time as possible in grocery stores chatting to new and old friends, OH! And of course buying groceries.

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