Monday, May 27, 2013


June 27, 2013

I'm afraid it gets worse.

Along with the ancient box of corn muffin mix, I explained a couple of days ago, we also composted four boxes of barley. . . and I can't possibly explain how a single family (a couple, actually) comes to own four opened and expired boxes of barley.

I do know that we had, for some time, added pearled barley to stew when we made it, but stopped doing so suddenly and permanently after Erin sobbed about it at the table one evening, "why do you always ruin the stew by putting oatmeal in it?!?!"

We were laughing about that memory this morning with my mom, which got us riffing on my complaints about the family stew recipe.  Years ago, some point early in our marriage, I had to forbid the addition of whole cloves to the stew.

My mom wasn't that familiar with cloves, so I reached up in the spice rack to let her sniff the cloves so she could understand why, though lovely in hot tea or wine punch, they would be an objectionable ingredient in beef stew.

The label described in detail all the different ways you might use the "pungent-sweet flavor" of the "dried flower buds of the clove tree picked just before they open."  

It also specifies where these cloves, in particular, had originated.  I have to admit that I was on geographic shaky ground when I read that "Top quality cloves are produced in Penang and the Malagasy Republic."  A quick google showed me that Penang is a state in Malaysia.

The Malagasy Republic, however, no longer exists, and hasn't since 1975.

I think, perhaps, I should pitch a new PBS series:  Antique Roadshow--Pantry Edition.


  1. LOL.. reminds of when I was helping my mother clean out the old medicine cabinets from our childhood home. She was finally moving out and we needed to throw things away. I found Boric Acid in that cabinet that had expired in 1969. Ummm... MOM... I was born in '65. I am now 38 years old. I think it's safe to say this stuff is no good anymore. Ok to throw out? She actually had to think about it. :-)

  2. I wouldn't be surprised if similar items existed in my parents' kitchen...