Miercoles, 12 Enero 2022: Thoughts on Old Food


Today's disgorging covered the top shelf of our pretty large hall closet but required no trip to Goodwill. Since the hall closet's highest layer contained almost exclusively foodstuffs, it didn't yield anything Goodwill could resell. But it did have nearly a decade's worth of history into our various adventures into eating differently, healthily, and cooking for fun and profit.


The latter category included an unopened bag of almond flour which I purchased, I believe, in the early two thousand-teens in a quixotic attempt to make macaroons for Christmas gifts. As it remained unopened, I flirted with the idea of using it for something but allowed the notice that it was "best if used by 2014" to discourage any notion. Honestly, I don't know that it would have been inedible at eight years old, but I recognized the inner subterfuge aimed to keep me from adding it to the dumpster bag.


Articles disgorged also included several things purchased on sale because, you know, Such A Deal! These were often forgotten as other "great deal" purchases crowded in or because dishes I made with them drew only mild praise or, sometimes, rebukes. I considered the gazpacho made with a base of Spicy V8 juice to have been delicious and the Husband overly sensitive. Yet I allowed the discouragement I felt from the first time preparing it to prevent me from using the other two large bottles for anything else. Thus the perfectly good 2012 Spicy V-8 headed down the drain in 2022, unmourned but not forgotten.


Then there was the much smaller category of Old Food that managed to escape the dumpster. These included a couple of Such A Deal boxes of fancy pasta (animal shapes, anyone?), which made no recommendations about when they should be consumed. I decided they could remain because how much drier could they have gotten? And the small jar of Okra Pickles pictured above.


This jar advised that the contents needed to be refrigerated after opening but issued no warnings about age. It rested on the precipice of the counter-edge over the black plastic trash bag until I concluded that its existing and incredibly binding vacuum seal merited at least a sniff. When the sniff came back all pickle and no mold, I ventured a taste and let spicy, salty brine flow over my tongue. I put the jar in the refrigerator after eating one.


As I finally hefted the whole black trash bag into my arms to carry to the dumpster, I thought a bit about it all. How many of these wildly different things disgorged today, from the 2013 canned coconut milk and jarred green curry paste to the 2016 box of almond milk and 2017 can of lentil soup, represented forays on our parts to live differently, to become different people. People who drank almond milk at least often. Who made Thai food at home. Who lived other lives than those we were living. And how now, as we ready ourselves to leave our native soil and plant ourselves abroad, we were finally about to achieve that, as though everything those now discarded foods represented were just steps along the way toward lives we could not have envisioned at the time.

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