Monday, July 26, 2010

Deep Clean

My adult daughter, that lives with us and her one year old, has a quirk. Ok, she may have a lot of them, I do too but this one bumps into me. She refuses to eat anything, boxed, canned or refrigerated that is past it's SELL BY DATE.
As a result, her groceries tend to sit on my counter top because she refuses to "mix" them up with my, apparently outdated goods.
She has been living with us since last August so this has been an ongoing issue.

My refusal to deal with my own feelings about this issue was like those "light bulb" moments.
I have a lot of "pockets" of un dealt with feelings about things. I suspect I'm not alone. I think it's rather a human condition. Then again that could just be justification and you all are pretty normal out there.

My mother was a child of the depression era. Her growing up, her habits, her beliefs were a product of what she learned in the home. A home that valued anything that was earned by hard work. My great grandmother had a garden and canned as much as she possibly could for the winter ahead. My grandmother did have space for a garden but she bought from the markets and vendors and canned and pickled her goods. My mother had a pantry. She bought in bulk and lord help us if the shelves got low on something. To this day, my mother, in a nursing home has a closet shelf stocked with toilet paper. Very little was ever thrown away. If it has mold you scraped it off, if it had a smell then you put it in the compost pile. You were tough. Food was expensive. No one in the family had ever died from eating those canned tomatoes.

Raising a family, I too had a pantry. I bought in bulk, large things, broke them down into packages or froze them. It's how I made the money stretch. Not unusual I think, for my generation.

So, two thoughts have come out of all of this, while I was standing on my step-ladder, cleaning out my cupboards. One, many children of today tend to waste more than we did.
And two, what the hell are the packaging companies playing at with their fancy date codes?
Do you know how much time I wasted trying to find the SELL BY DATE, read the darn thing?
So is the 03Jun04 the date first and year last or other way around.

Ok, I know it really doesn't matter because 2003 or 2004 should probably be tossed.

My continuing to practice habits from the first part of my marriage, raising children, doesn't work in this half of my life. There is no point to stocking a cupboard with "great deals" because Zeus and I can't eat them fast enough, probably shouldn't be eating some of them anymore and it's just as wasteful as my complaint about this generation of kids.

My daughter came home and opened the cupboards and stood there smiling.
I stood next to her and smiled at my nice clean counter.
Two generations happy at last.

:)Bea Who created on Sunday by creating space.

P.S. The above story illustrates my need to examine a lot of those "pockets" of old habits, beliefs and deep clean them and move on. Life is short. Clinging to outdated behavior is probably just as bad as eating that mix from 2003.


  1. Yes, aren't we all held prisoners by our past thinking and habits? It does not make them wrong in the past, or even wrong now, but we do need to examine them occasionally to make sure they still work for us now and heading into the future.

  2. Absolutely right. What always surprises me is an old belief or habit that I have been doing LONG after it is necessary. Like cleaning my closet it's a good thing to do, at least once a year, you know? :)Bea

  3. Oh Bea, I think that would drive me nuts. My daughter in law is a little like that and anything not eaten is thrown away. Ours always goes in a container, in the fridge, then when it grows mould it's thrown away!! We eat past sell by date regularly and we're still here!

    My niece once looked after our bed and breakfast (another lifetime ago) and she cleared out all my lovely old jars and pots of herbs and spices that were my mother's. I was so upset but of course she was right. They were of no use anymore but I'd always just had them there. Sighs.

  4. Uhm - I think I'm with your daughter on the past date food - I'm the same way - out it goes. But I agree that I buy things thinking I will use them and then they sit there. So if they are getting close (within a few weeks) and I don't think I'll be using them, I give them to a shelter or the food bank. I'm really bad about fresh fruit and veggies - I go to the farmer's market and am dazzled by all the freshness and REALLY DO have good intentions about cooking it for dinner that week. Then cooking time comes around, I'm tired from work, and all that chopping - nope! So a good portion goes into my compost pile - good for the compost pile but not so good for my pocketbook! I'm just going to have to try harder.

  5. Oh wow, I had to laugh at this one today as I read thinking I should have written a blog post like this!! Sooo true in this home as well BUT....I still garden and I do all of my home canning...much to my amazement my oldest daughter raised her very first garden this year and is doing some freezing!! Not bad for 2 generations huh!!

    I do agree however if it is too much past the date expired or sale after date Im a good tosser!!

    Thanks for the grins today i really needed that

  6. Happy to make people smile and perhaps grin and think about things. I have a feeling my "deep cleaning" is just beginning. I think it's another one of the stages of taking a look at who I am again. Geesch, you think I would have this thought out by now. :)Bea

  7. I'm reminded of a bit by the comic Elayne Boosler - there she is in the kitchen at 11:45 pm, speed eating her yogurt, because it's expiring at midnight.

    And what's that lime doing in my fridge? I never buy limes. Oh, yeah, it used to be a head of lettuce.

    If the milk still smells OK, it's going in my coffee. Actually, if you put the coffee into the milk, it's less likely to curdle.

    Fussy, fussy, fussy... I think you can eat most things a few days after their expiry date.