I am totally my mother's daughter.
Whenever I visit my her in Illinois, I go through her refrigerator, sniffing at the out of date cheese, cold cuts and condiments. "Mom, you mind if I toss this mustard that is two years out of date?" And I roll my eyes when I talk with my siblings about the dangers of eating out of Mom's fridge.
And my mine? Pristine, full of fresh ingredients and condiments that are well within their date? Of course not! It's easy to be judgemental with someone else's refrigerator contents, but it takes vigilance to deal with one's own cupboard of poisons. I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to chutneys. And because the Critic has a reputation for loving hot mustard and spicy sauces, we get a lot of those as gifts. And then there is my generous Midwestern family, who see that I am more than amply stocked in jams and jellies. I have a complete shelf in the fridge devoted to condiments and jams and that isn't nearly enough: they spill onto other shelves and into the door. And they go out of date.
By the time you read this, I'll either be in the US or on my way there. Two glorious weeks of holiday, sitting by my mother's pool or simply basking in her air conditioning. And then a beach holiday in Cornwall, at a delightfully named village called "Frogpool". Because of the five week holidays, we had to find a cat-sitter. Through the bulletin board at work, I found someone who is taking up duties in Paris in August and needs a place to stay while looking for a flat for his family. He is a cat lover and garden lover in need of an apartment; we are cat and garden owners in need of someone to look after them. A perfect match.
In fact, it's like having a house guest over, but worse. He's going to use the fridge. He's going to see those out of date chutneys and the withering strands of onion leaves in the cooler bin. He's going to see the stacks of books in every room, spilling off of tables, piano and anything that doesn't move. He's going to wonder what exactly that cheese I left in the cheese bin is doing walking all over the kitchen table.
So I had to do a little summer cleaning. These two were the ones that didn't fit in the dishwasher. If you could read the dates, you'd see January 2006 on the left and April 2005 on the right. They are gone, emptied, washed and sent to the recycling bin. Now I just need to attack the cheeses...