Freshness Dates

How did my generation (and those before) ever survive without freshness dates.  Those dates that counsel that food is “best by” or a store must “sell by” or you have to “use by” — a certain date.  How did I live?   I will tell you how . . . .

My father would take a sniff of the carton of milk that had been in the refrigerator since before I was born – and say “it’s okay. Drink it.” And I would.  I remember going to my grandmother’s apartment once.  She made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.   I took a bite and started chewing.  I looked at the sandwich and then at my grandmother.  Mouth open.  About to heave the whole thing onto the table.  She picked up the peanut butter.  Waved it under her nose.  And made a face.  “It’s rancid” she said [I swear those were her words].  “Okay – spit it out.”  And I did. My cousin Wayne came over to our house one day.  I was perhaps seven or eight.  He went into the frig and pulled out the orange juice.  Poured a glass.  “Ouch!” he said.  “This stuff is baaaadddd.”  My father took a whiff and said “it’s just a little over the hill.”  “Over the hill” as in enough botulism to wipe out the entire State of Pennsylvania.   I’d been drinking it sporadically for the last few weeks.  Or months. 

I’m sure my experience is not unlike many of those reading this post.  We’ve become a nation of wimps.  Allowing the “freshness date” to dictate whether a food is good.  Or not.   What about letting the old sniffer make that determination?  But for the fact that I have granddaughters (who will never know the meaning of the word “rancid” or “over the hill” except as it applies to me), I might be using the “sniff test” to determine what’s good.  And what is. . . . yuck.  Then again . . . .  

Death to the Infidels

[A repeat from March 25, 2017] I go to the local fitness center a few times a week. When I come home, I get the question “how was your workout?” And my response – for the longest time – was “fine.” And that was it.

But my workouts vary. Sometimes it’s a quick in and out. Other times, I’ll be there for a while – punishing my body. Grunting, groaning, lumbering and lurching through all manner of cardio, weights, stretches and contortions. So one day when I got home and Donna asked “how was your workout?” – I responded “I did the puppy dog.” I got the look . . . . “What’s that?” Donna asked. “I was only able to work out for 45 minutes.” “Oh.” Later that week, I went home, got the question and responded “I did the Gorilla.” Nearly 90 minutes of exercise. And so it goes. I have now identified five distinct categories of workout:

The Puppy Dog — A workout of less than 45 minutes

The Regular — An hour

The Gorilla — An hour to an hour and a half

Death to the Infidels — Pushing two hours

Death to the Infidel” workouts are rare but they happen. However, while on vacation a few weeks ago, I came up with a fifth category: “Death to the Infidelsal-Shahid [the martyr].” This is where I try to kill myself working out. But I don’t succeed . . . .