Wednesday, 22 September 2010


There's nothing like the hint of a cool snap in the air, the ground gaining a carpet of golden leaves, and the general clunk swish of the central heating kicking in after a few months' leave of absence to get my thoughts turning to the inside of the house and to the joys of cosy evenings curled up with curtains drawn and candles burning.

Forget Spring Cleaning (Why not? I usually do); the weather starts to turn and suddenly neglected corners of my house start crying out for attention. Well, that, the prospect of visitors, and the fact that I could no longer open the pantry cupboard without dodging falling tins and flour-bombs. The realisation that with our new streamlined rubbish collection system (rationed to one wheelie bin a fortnight for general rubbish and one for recycling; interesting with two girls who can between them produce a vast amount of medically-based waste) I will no longer be able to sling out an extra couple of binliners whenever I do have a general sort out was a good motivator too. So, I gathered the essential tools of the trade, and made a start.
One box for the inevitable duplicates; cunningly providing us with cans for Harvest Festival on Sunday too. One bag for hopelessly out of date or else unbearably sticky stuff (there was an unfortunate incident involving a packet of ground ginger, a jar of marmalade and a box of rice cakes longer ago than I care to admit, considering some of the debris remains welded to the shelving and to anything which sits near it), and fuel for yours truly.

Half a shelf down, I'm finding packets with a best before date of 2005. Not great, but hey, flour doesn't really go off does it? I think the powdered milk might have had it though.
And this one is particularly worrying, considering we didn't move here until 2003. Why on Earth did I feel the need to bring out-of-date foodstuffs with me?
I'd allowed myself a generous ten minutes per shelf - bin, donate, or dump on the side, wipe down the shelf and replace. Four shelves, forty minutes?

Four hours later, two bin liners full of the rejects, one box containing eight cans of tuna, three of condensed milk and very little else, the shelves looked more like this.
That's better. And very nearly neatly organised. All the food about to expire neatly stacked towards the front. And a determination to be a better steward, and to use the short-dated stuff first. Of course this means we're going to be eating eleven packets of chicken noodle soup, livened up with some tasty suet dumplings, and finishing every meal with tinned mandarins, but that's balanced, right?



HennHouse said...

Your descriptions are so vivid... and FUNNY!

Loved this post.

Although, now I feel like I should head into my own pantry.

Anonymous said...

Ha. They should allow you extra rubbish for the medical stuff; it's a requirement of the DDA. Most of them have an official policy on that, but if not you should be able to get that sorted, if you need to.

Tina said...

Made the dismal discover that pickled onions do go off yeaterday!

pippinsmum said...

Tia, it sounds just like home, and there's only 2 of us now! I must get round to doing my cupboards.I have only done 2 shelves this year. I don't think most tinned stuff goes off, but condensed milk does turn an unpleasant shade of brown.

PMDPeter said...

Not heard of Flour Weeviles then Tia. Not always easy to spot as they are small but can invade an out of date (even unopened) flour bag.

Good to see you are making good use of your days.

I dont see why your Council shouldn't supply either a larger bin or an extra bin given the valid reasons for the request.


Anonymous said...

About my food storage, Lets just say that the Mancub keeps asking when we can have 'buggy' porridge again...

Doorless said...

Yeah, When I clean I have found expired tins also. When I clean the ones close to expiration go to our church food drive. They have one monthly.
I keep flour in the frig as I hate the flour weevil.
One time when we lived on a farm I took our a box of Elbow macaroni dumped in boiling water and there were mouse droppings floating to the top of the water! UGH! made me not wanting to eat that night! I then kept rice and noodles and oatmeal and stuff not in tins in the frig for the rest of the time we lived on the farm! I don't think I will ever forget that!

Tia said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one.

Our church food bank needs items with a longish shelf life (6 months plus) so they'll be getting the newer dupilicates but I shall just have to plan some interesting menus for the next few weeks (excluding days when we have visitors, before my houseguests all cancel)!


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