You would think my mother grew up during the Great Depression. This woman hates to throw something away. She will keep food items until they change colors and grow hair and she has no choice but to throw them away. I distinctly remember her once pulling out a small container and saving roughly three green beans that hadn’t been eaten at supper that night. We still tease her over the three green beans and sometimes quickly dispose of leftovers if it’s the equivalent of three green beans so she doesn’t dirty up a container & clutter up the fridge for something so small. We just have to be sly about it.
A few weeks ago on my way home from work, I stopped for a few items to take to put in my fridge at the office – yogurt, Lunchables (gross, I know), a block of cheese, etc. I had one grocery bag that had items requiring refrigeration and I remember hoping I could find a place in my mom’s fridge to store it overnight. Thankfully, I found a place, but it’s not always an easy task.
Earlier this week, my dad looked in the pantry and said, “I wish she’d go through and throw some of this away.” Indeed.
This morning, Mama told me that she wanted me to teach her how to make granola. We want to make it this weekend, so I needed to dig through that overcrowded pantry and figure out what we have and what I need to buy. This was my golden opportunity. I started at the top and worked my way down. We found lots of things that expired over the past few years. Also, apparently my mom went through a phase of having good intentions of making dozens of batches of chocolate chip cookies a few years ago. I can’t tell you how many expired bags of chocolate chips we threw away. During this whole process, I pulled items down and Mama stood behind me, throwing the expired items (two full garbage sacks of them) away and keeping the good stuff on the counter top. Then we reorganized. It looks great. I can’t wait for Daddy to see it when he gets back.
While we were on a roll, I suggested we move on to the fridge. Two expired cream cheese containers, three expired boxes of Velveeta cheese (which, I have to admit kind of disturbs me, because let’s be honest, that is not how cheese is supposed to look), and a shriveled bag of grapes later, we were almost finished. I have to say, I was feeling pretty impressed that Mama’s fridge wasn’t worse. But then it happened.
We moved on to the bins in the door. I picked up a jar of dark brown liquid that resembled soy sauce.
Me – “What is this?”
Mama – “Oh, that’s the stuff Mrs. Marilyn and I made in that class we took!”
Me – “The class you took in Shreveport?”
Mama – “Yep!” (laughing)
Me – “The class you took in the town we moved away from in 1992?”
Mama – “Yep!” (still laughing)
I am thankful to report she immediately threw it away. That jar of stuff has been sitting in my mother’s fridge for the past 22 years. TWENTY-TWO YEARS. I thought tossing things that expired in 2010 was bad. The earliest before that was a couple of Kool-aid packets from 2007. But wow. 1992. I did not see that coming.