Here’s the deal. As something of a clean freak, I like to straighten up my kitchen every chance I get. And, as I was doing my quinquennial sanitizing, I came across a number of food items what had been sitting around longer than I’d expected. Sadly, I am not jesting when I tell you that I found some canned fruit with expiration dates from 2004. And just because those peaches were packed around the same time that Janet Jackson’s peaches were unpacked in front of a live Super Bowl audience, I had to throw them out.
Or did I?
Desperate for information (and thoroughly craving peaches), I dashed back to the pantry and began to sort through my various food stuffs. I found a variety of cryptic warnings: Best By, Sell By, Best Before, Enjoy By, Best If Used By, and Best Before Date. It was all so overwhelming. (The issue is only further complicated if you happen to pick up some snacks on your way out of your local electronics superstore and end up with a Best Buy Best By date). And, to top it all off, some items merely have a date stamped on them with no indication as to whether this is the packaging date, the suggested consumption date, or the don’t you dare take a bite if you cherish your sweet life date.
But I’m fed up with not being fed up because some company has declared my groceries goners. I don’t need some box or jar to tell me my rye is dry, my kale is stale or my jelly is smelly. Expiration dates are like ticking time bombs in my cabinets. Eat…or else.
I’ve got enough stress in my life without these pesky dates pressuring me to consume. Stop making our fast food culture even faster, little, black Sell By stamps. Stop threatening me with spoilage, expiration dates! Stop yelling at me! Get out of my head!
Sorry. It’s been a long, peach-free week.
Sure, the food mega-producers want us to eat or toss our snacks post haste so that we can buy some more. But I say enough is enough. (Then again, what else could enough be?)
And, as 2012 is set to expire itself, it occurs to me that the grocery stores aren’t the only ones getting it wrong. In this time of deep contemplation and reflective reflection, I ponder how the Mayans predicted that our collective expiration date was earlier this month.
I now suspect that their estimation was more of a Best By date.
Part of me sees a lot of nastiness in the world and fears that they may yet be correct.
But wouldn’t it be something if we weren’t quite as spoiled as we suspect? Wouldn’t it be something if we were to go ahead and eat those peaches? Wouldn’t it be something if we proved them wrong?