Friday, March 10, 2006

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus . .

My sister in law and I have been the object of derision at the hands of our children for different but not un-related reasons.

Mary Ann’s crime has been labeling the shelves in her refrigerator, so that visiting sons, or even her marauding husband, don’t stand there with an open door rummaging perpetually for cheese. The cheese shelf is clearly marked! Mostly, it gives Mary Ann the sense of organization we so dearly need as we grow older. A kind of domestic “God’s in his Heaven—All’s right with the world” moment.

In my case, it’s for date labeling newly purchased cans, bottles, jars and packages before putting them on the pantry shelves. Not pickles or mustard, never cereal or eggs or ice cream. They always get eaten up. It’s the more esoteric purchases that can languish in the back of the cupboard way past their “use by” date. You know the problem: every Thanksgiving you throw an extra can or two of pumpkin puree or evaporated milk into the cart, just in case you want to make an extra pie, or you go on a chinese food kick and buy lots of jars of hoisin and plum sauce. All those mediterranean hors d’oeuvres that call for jars of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto are my summer downfall. You get the idea. The beans in my photo date back to a trip to Santa Fe when I came home and invested heavily in tex-mex ingredients. I was appalled to see that the jar of anise was bought in 2001 (though Mary Ann claims some of her spices date back to her wedding in 1965.) Since the shelf life of spices is limited (six months?) I need to go on a search and destroy mission.

But I take great comfort in knowing that next Thanksgiving I will not make pumpkin pie out of 1995 pumpkin, while throwing out a can I bought two weeks earlier. Nor, dear children, will you have to eat it.

No comments: