mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Skeletons (and 5 year old applesauce) in the closet...

One of the features of the tiny kitchen of Casa De Mad, my 70's-vintage townhouse in the rolling plains of White Marsh, is a small pantry (back left). It's narrow, but it's pretty deep and has quite a few shelves. For the two and a half years since I moved here, I've been storing food in it. It's become layered - in the front of each shelf is the stuff I use regularly. In the back is - well, who knows. Stuff I haven't touched in years. Stuff I've forgotten about.

It's gotten to the point that the pantry is full, and I've taken to storing some of my food and beverages in the corner of my dining room. Which wasn't terribly attractive, and since I'm hoping to hold another game night in the next few weeks and have some people over, I figured it was time to do something about that.

So last night I finally decided to tackle it. I swiveled my tv so I could see it from the kitchen, put Manhunters on from the DVR, and took everything out of the closet.

And the things I found. A package of applesauce with a "best by 2004" label. Tuna that was best used by 2007. Granola bars from 2005. A single vanilla snack pack pudding cup that was a disturbing shade of light gray. All in all, I filled a tall kitchen garbage bag with stuff that was at least a year past it's sell by/best used by date, and some of it was close to 5 years past, which means that I moved it from my old apartment, shoved it in the closet, and forgot it for nearly 3 years.

I feel bad about it, in the sense that not only did I waste a bunch of food, but I also wasted a bunch of money. I bet I spent at least $100 or so on the stuff I ended up throwing out. But the damage is done - I'm cheap, but not cheap enough to get sick off expired food rather than throw it out.

The good thing is that now I have a bunch of free space in my pantry, and I can actually see what I have. Two of my new year's resolutions were to save money and get organized, and this helps with both of those. I have quite a bit of usable food, and I need to work my way through that before I buy much more.

My next projects need to be my fridge and freezer. The fridge needs the same treatment - everything out, wipe it down, put back in what's usable. This is especially important since at some point I made the mistake of storing one of those jars of crushed garlic on it's side, and it leaked, and now everything I store in the fridge, including bottled water and butter, has a slight garlic-y taste. I'm pretty sure there is some 3-year old stuff in the freezer, as well as newer stuff that I need to use up. I'm thinking that, with the exception of perishables like bread, soymilk, and lunchmeat, and ingredients to accompany what I already have, I probably have enough food in the house to go a month or two without any serious shopping. I've still got Thanksgiving leftovers, and a ton of frozen convenience food in the freezer.

That means I can save some money on grocery shopping and get my freezer to the point where I'm not storing food in the automatic ice maker for lack of room. That's a win-win.


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