Monday, September 10, 2012


I was stranded at home once for two days while my car was in the shop. As my husband was leaving for work on the second day, he gave me an assignment - to find the source of the bad smell in the refrigerator. It was bad enough to waste two vacation days sitting at home waiting to get my car back. Now I had to empty my fridge, hopefully NOT finding anything too gross. My goal was to discover the bad something before it had grown fur or changed color. I started out by making a pile of anything that could be expired. The pile got pretty big before I hit pay dirt. Lurking on the bottom shelf, way in the back, was a bag of sausages that had expired six months ago. I did not look very close, or open the bag for a smell test, but was relatively sure that six month-old meat was not a good thing. In my perusal of the refrigerator door, I found seven bottles of salad dressing and barbecue sauce that had also outlived their freshness date. One bottle was three years past its expiration. A new world’s record? Not by a long shot. I believe my own personal best (or worst) record is a nineteen year-old package of yeast, discovered last Thanksgiving. Technically that was hanging out in the cupboard, not the fridge, but it’s an awesome record just the same. I was in high hopes that the smell would go away with the sausages, but that didn’t happen. I tackled the freezer next, whereupon I discovered a new personal fridge best - a 7 year old roast. If it was in school, the Mystery Meat would be a first grader. I filled up four tall kitchen garbage bags with frozen meat. The next day was garbage day and I was lucky that my neighbors had room for two of the bags in their can. The bags o’ meat were extremely heavy. I worried the whole next day that the garbage men would think a dead body was in my can. What if the meat had thawed out overnight, and disgusting liquid leaked out from that little hole in the bottom of the can? I wouldn’t have been surprised if Seattle Homicide showed up at my door. The bad odor still wasn’t gone, but I probably wouldn’t be able to smell it from jail. Maybe things were looking up.

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