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Expiration dates are just suggestions, until they’re not

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 9:48 a.m. CST

So ... a while back I fixed some beef stew and thought corn bread would be tasty along side it. I reached for a few boxes of Jiffy corn bread in the cabinet, mixed them up and baked up a nice batch of cornbread. But there was a problem. It was as flat when it came out of the oven as it was when I put it in.

I dug the box out of the trash and noticed the expiration date. 2012? Ouch!

One night last week, I needed some type of dish to go with our supper. I had several packages of butter and herb pasta sides just waiting to be devoured. Once I opened it and gave it a quick ‘is it still good?’ whiff test, I made the decision — no, it wasn’t. The expiration date had come and gone ... four years ago.

We had chili the other evening. In the area of the state where I was raised and the school district where I was educated, chili was always accompanied by cinnamon rolls. It’s that tried and true union of sweet and savory. Why mess with perfection? So that’s how it’s done at my house, albeit I generally make money bread instead.

However, Mick saw we had some handy-dandy tubes of cinnamon rolls in the basement refrigerator, where we keep the over-flow groceries like the extra butter, milk, eggs ... you know, the stuff you don’t want to be caught without, but there’s no room for it yet in the fridge in the kitchen. When you live in the country, you learn to be prepared.

OK, sounds good. So Mick was in charge of the cinnamon rolls. (I hate opening tube biscuits. It’s like cranking the handle of a jack-in-the-box ... you know it’s just a matter of seconds before it strikes.)

But when the tube was opened, the usual smooth, pliable, perforated roll of dough was not much more than a crumble of clay. We questioned whether we could salvage it, but upon looking at the expiration date thought it best not to tempt fate.

Hubby’s back-up plan was peanut butter sandwiches to have with the chili, because that how they did it at his school. No, no, no! Peanut butter sandwiches are to be served with a gooey bowl of mac and cheese, not chili. (Just ask my former cafeteria ladies.)

I told him we’d just stick with the usual and I’d make some monkey bread.

So Mick made another trip back down to the basement fridge for a few tubes of the little refrigerator biscuits.

I had my butter, cinnamon and sugar heating up on the stove, but when we started opening the biscuits? Yuck! Not again! At least we were within the same year.

Those peanut butter sandwiches were looming in my near future.

There was still hope though. I had a few tubes of the big, buttery, flaky biscuits in the kitchen fridge I’d been saving. For what? Who knows.

So anyway ...

I reached for them and checked the date — this time before I peeled the outside layer of packaging off and took my chances banging the tubes on the counter.

Ahhh ... success. I still had one day left before they expired.

Contact Dana King at dking@shawmedia.com

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