Here it is, the secret chart used by bachelors worldwide, because they don’t have wives who can recognize on sight (and sometimes before) when the Big Mac has become one with the special sauce.
ICE CREAM – If you can’t tell the difference between your ice cubes and your ice cream, it’s time to throw BOTH out.
FROZEN FOODS – Frozen foods that have become an integral part of the defrosting problem in your freezer compartment will probably be spoiled (or wrecked anyway) by the time you pry them out with a kitchen knife.
IN THE FRIDGE:
EGGS – When something starts pecking its way out of the shell, the egg is probably past its prime.
DAIRY PRODUCTS – Milk is spoiled when it starts to look like yogurt. Yogurt is spoiled when it starts to look like cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is spoiled when it starts to look like regular cheese. Regular cheese is nothing but spoiled milk anyway — if you can dig down and still find something non-green, bon appetite!.
MEAT – If opening the refrigerator door causes stray animals from a three-block radius to congregate outside your house, toss the meat.
LETTUCE – Bibb lettuce is spoiled when you can’t get it off the bottom of the vegetable crisper without Comet and a brillo pad. Romaine lettuce is spoiled when it turns liquid. Endive never spoils, but you will never eat it anyway.
MAYONNAISE: If it makes you violently ill after you eat it, the mayonnaise is spoiled. Permanently.
CARROTS – A carrot you can tie a clove hitch in is no longer fresh.
CHIP DIP – If you can take it out of its container and bounce it on the floor, it has gone bad.
UNMARKED ITEMS: You know it is well beyond prime when you’re tempted to discard the Tupperware along with the food. Generally speaking, Tupperware containers should not burp when you open them. If the original can you put it away in has finally lost it’s label, it’s probably done.
EMPTY CONTAINERS: Putting empty containers back into the refrigerator is a fine old trick, but it only works if you live with someone else.
ON THE SHELF:
CANNED GOODS – Any canned goods that have become the size or shape of a softball should be disposed of … Very carefully.
WINE – Should not be confused with salad dressing.
POTATOES – Fresh potatoes do not have roots, branches, or dense, leafy undergrowth.
THE GAG TEST – Anything that makes you gag is spoiled (except for leftovers from what you cooked for yourself last night).
GENERAL RULE OF THUMB: – Most food cannot be kept longer than the average life span of a hamster. Keep a hamster in your refrigerator to gauge this.
BREAD: Sesame seeds and Poppy seeds are the only officially acceptable “spots” that should be seen on the surface of any loaf of bread. Fuzzy and hairy looking white or green growth areas are good indications that your bread has turned into a pharmaceutical laboratory experiment. You may wish to discard it at this time, depending on your interest in pharmaceuticals.
CEREAL: It is generally a good rule of thumb that cereal should be discarded when it is two years or longer beyond the expiration date, or when it will no longer fall out of the box by itself.
FLOUR: Flour is spoiled when it wiggles, or things fly out when you open it.
PRETZELS: Normally eternal, pretzels may be discarded if they can no longer be picked up without falling apart. Otherwise, there’s nothing to stop you from eating a pretzel that the Pharaoh put down only 4000 years ago.
RAISINS: Raisins should not usually be harder than your teeth.
SALT: It never spoils. However, if you can’t chip off reasonable amounts from the block, maybe another box is in order, as fresh salt usually pours.
SPICES: Most spices cannot die, they just fade away. They will be fine on your shelf, forever. Put them in your will.
VINEGAR: If your grandmother made it, it is probably still good.
EXPIRATION DATES: This is not a marketing ploy to encourage you to throw away perfectly good food so that you’ll spend more on groceries. Even dry foods older than you are may be ready to replace. Perhaps you’d benefit by having a calendar in your kitchen.