Best by, Use by, or Expired

I recognise I have a problem.

I do.

Like the Yin for Yang, the black for white, my natural orderly personality that craves neatness and uncluttered areas has a secret obsession.

I am addicted to pantry items.

Larder loot.

Prada for the larder.

I have 2 large pantries that are filled to the brim. Chock-a-block with pickles, jams and chutneys that are made from exotic ingredients. Asian sauces with unpronounceable names. Sachets of hairy basil seeds and Argentinean high altitude Juniper berries and activated charcoal snowflake salt. And yes, these are real ingredients.

They are arranged beautifully and stacked  with labels facing forwards. That satisfies my OCD. Most of them are unopened… because they will be useful someday… should the perfect occasion arise.

Can’t waste a hairy basil seed.

So this year, when I commenced my foodie project of becoming as self-sufficient and natural as possible, I began making great pickles and jams and chutneys from exotic ingredients. I began making my own Asian sauces. I gave them unpronounceable names. And yet the stockpile still grows.

Enough is enough.

My mission is now, to slowly use every open, unidentified or out of date product before the end of the year.

Starting from open and oldest.

The snack food section is first.

I didn’t even realise we had an abundance of snack food, since it’s not something I ethically support.  Or purchase.

Yet, over time, I’ve acquired almost one entire basket of oddness.

The lucky recipient of stage one, are the boys. Specifically, the boy’s lunches.

A little addition every day.


My first offering was from a cute little container of chocolate coated sunflower seeds called ‘Sunny Seed Drops’  that an online contact sent me from Missouri. In 2008.

Yes, they were 5 years old. The candy colours were faded, but I pressed on.

My instructions were clear. 1 centimeter each day from the tube to be consumed.  After all, everything in moderation.

The 16 year old balked and gave them to his dad. Since The Sparky eats practically anything, that worked fine.

He’s still alive – so I pressed on.

The next challenge lie when I re-discovered 3 packages of commercial biscuits. I *never* buy shop bought biscuits. But each year, a school parent gave me a hamper and each year, a little box of biscuits were included. And filed in the ‘just in case’ portion of the pantry, just beside the tin of condensed milk. Just in case I ever needed ‘Gourmet Hamper Cookies’.

I decided the logical thing to do here was go oldest first. That would be the shredded wheatmeal from 2011. It became apparent that  these were not of sound biscuit body when the taste testing teen spat them back at me.  So we moved on, to English shortbread,  circa 2012.  They went into circulation today – 2 per lunchbox per day – which should knock them out in a week. There’s still the  2013 milk arrowroot to cover and that will be the end of the hamper biscuits.

The upside is, the terrorists are being well fed and I will slowly regain my pantry… that is, assuming I can refrain from the next providore that carries super interesting products.

Highly unlikely.


What’s the most bizarre thing in your pantry? Do you need to join me as I FOOD* food?

*Free Out Of Date food