Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In Search of the Elusive Milk - Attempt #2

I was excited to find a can of condensed milk thinking I'd make myself some of that coffee with condensed milk without the trip to Chinatown. It seemed like the logical thing to do while I was desperate for coffee but would do anything but leave the house to buy milk.

With this milk, the condensed part was certainly a misnomer since it had expanded so much inside that both ends were bulging!!!!

When I opened the can it made a hissing noise. I was prepared to drain it down the sink as I did the other. Well, with an expiration date of 5/97 the draining of chunky milk time had well passed. The can was wrong!! It was condensed after all but unfortunately it was into a solid orangey mass!!

Does orange milk come from orange cows????

"Don't Want To Be An Angel Yet" Food Cake

I came across a package of angel food cake mix from 1989. If you notice on the bottom right side of the back they seem to be using a glass soda bottle to prop it up!

If you look at the side you can see that the nutrition fact label is not the new style introduced in the 90s.

A few years back I remembered hearing about old mixes being dangerous to eat so I checked it out on snopes. It looks as if it can be dangerous if mold grows in the flour. This can happen if the flour is kept loose in the box or in plain paper envelopes. Taking their advice I investigated further to see how the flour was packaged.

I just love those fancy 80s graphics!!!!

Unfortunately these were just in plain paper wrappings and smelled like basement (makes sense since they have been in the basment for 20 years).

Oh well, I guess they're off to the trash! Now I really want some angel food cake.....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where Do You Find A Recipe For Old Food?

Why from a Bon Appetite cookbook from August 1990 of course!!!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

In Search of the Elusive Milk - Attempt #1

In case of a coffee emergency (no milk) there is always, always, always a box of cupboard milk. This stuff stays fresh forever....or so I thought. Apparently they have expiration dates, and you should pay attention to that stamped date for a reason.

Exhibit A: A box of cupboard milk with an expiration date of 4/25/2007.

I was assuming it would still be good, it's pasturized using ultra high temperature!! Boy how wrong I was, it was so chunky it just sat in the sink until I squished it down the drain.

I guess there hasn't been a coffee emergency in a long, long time....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Potato berries

So, I was cleaning out a bowl full of "fresh" vegetables, and came across this specimen. At first, I was at a loss as to what it was, but if you look reeeeeeally closely, they may have been a few red potatoes. A reeeeeeally long time ago. They look like something you'd find being used in Middle Earth to concoct some kind of potion, but they probably came from a CSA in Western Mass. Last summer.

Apparently, neglected potatoes grow lots of eyes. And then they grow... berries? For real? I'll have to buy some more and forget about them again. This time, I'll label them so I know what they are. 

These went directly into the compost bin. I'm not THAT daring ;).

Brownies of Doom

Okay the title is a bit dramatic. I found some brownie mix with no date on the package but that I know for a fact was received, at the earliest, Christmas 2007. Obviously no one had a problem eating them.

Vintage Seeds - The Experiment, Day 1

Not wanting to limit my experiments to food that already exists I have decided to branch out into vintage seeds. Mostly this is because I was told I couldn't plant 10 year-old seeds, they wouldn't grow. Of course this is a challenge and one that will result in no harm but some empty potting soil with some dried bean 'compost' added to it so I couldn't resist. They might as well have double dog dared me.

The beans I am planting are low bush beans (meaning I don't have to scrounge around for anything for them to climb on and low maintenance is good). They were packed for 1999 making them 10 years old. The beans on the right are the same type of bean but were packed for 2007. Not exactly new but they should sprout just fine.

On their little popsicle stick marker they are labeled as 'old beans' and 'new beans' so I will remember which is which.

I planted 28 old bean seeds and 32 new bean seeds - this was only because I realized I could probably squish more in so, as this experiment progresses, I will now how many were planted and can calculate the percentages.

I can't help but wonder, if the beans do actually grow, will they taste musty coming from really old seeds?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Swiss Chocolate?? For Real??

Extremely premenstrual and desperate for something chocolate I came across this Coffee-mate creamer.

Expiration: 3/13/2002, slightly more than 7 years ago.

However, looking at the label further, I found that there were so many preservatives it was probably safe to try. The problem was mainly that, apparently, creamer is meant to be put in HOT coffee which I refuse to drink except under extreme duress. I stirred and stirred and stirred and as you can see, the powder went everywhere but into the actual drink. It just floated on the top like a little chocolate raft.

When I finally decided to give up on the stirring and start with the drinking I found that although not good (and probably it was never good), it tasted like those little marshmallows in Count Chocula cereal. The ones that are both delicious, disgusting, hard and soft all at the same time.

Swiss chocolate? Naw, the Swiss would be embarassed to sell this stuff as their own!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Westward, ho!

Sitting on top of the microwave this afternoon, I found something that had recently been excavated from the depths of the pantry. No one admits to pulling it out, but that's beside the point.

It was a sticky jar of hazelnut honey from when my sister was in grad school in Oregon. She was out there from 2001 to 2003, so that makes it 6-8 years old. In honey years, that's embryonic. 

Since honey found buried in the ancient pyramids is edible, I figured it was safe. After pouring hot water on it to loosen up the sticky cap (otherwise, I would have needed a vice), I tried a spoonful.

What was wrong with it?

Nuttin' honey!

Microwaving 101

For those of you who don't know this already, microwaving a cupcake for 60 seconds is a bad, bad idea....

I came across some old cupcakes from a cupcake decorating experiment about 2 months ago and was thrilled!!!! Well, I was until I noticed that they were rock hard. They were so hard, I think if I had thrown them at the window they would have busted through both the glass and the screen. I was about to throw them out since I like my teeth but someone recommended that I microwave them to soften them up a bit. Not being a microwave expert, I put it in for a minute to be sure it was really soft. Apparently this wasn't a good idea. Once the smoke cleared I found a small, even more hard and very black cupcake.....

I'm not positive but in the upper right of the picture that may be a piece of exploded cupcake.

Not to be discouraged so easily, I made a second attempt with cupcake number two. It was very successful. The cupcake was a bit dry but soft(ish) and edible. It helped that I put chocolate frosting on....

Mmmmmmmm cupcakes!!! Now I'm off to my class on proper use of a microwave!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cheap drinks

To save money on alcohol, you can buy generic booze. You can also save money on alcohol by buying generic booze and drinking it really slowly. Really, reeeeeaaaalllly slowly. Take, for example, this bottle of gin. Clearly a generic brand, since practically the only printing on the label is the word GIN. 

Notice the thick layer of dust. How does a bottle get that dusty? Well, a bottle that is between 27 and 31 years old would have no problem gathering that much dust! I know for a fact that this bottle was around in 1982. I used this bottle in 6th grade to spike the punch at a Girl Scout potluck with my friend Jennie. Relax, it's not as bad as you might think--we only put in a tablespoon of gin and then probably half a cup of sugar to hide the taste. It was a big bowl of punch, so I don't think anyone noticed. 

But, I digress...  The bottle was definitely purchased after my parents bought their house, since it came from the next town over (and we moved from several states away). If the bottle was bought the year we moved in, it would be 31 years old. If it was bought the same year I decided to serve alcohol to minors, it would only be 27 years old. 

Gin and tonic, anyone? 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Great Tea Experiment - Part Trois

I think I've been sticking to old tea since it seems safe and I'm trying to build up my tolerance for questionable food before jumping right in so, here goes!

Peach tea was another of the 'vintage' teas in the tea pile! I brewed it (no floaties since it was in a bag) and threw it in the blender since I have made many a smoothie that I'm considering my 'control smoothies' to be the baseline for deliciousness.

This one was surprisingly good, almost as good as the blueberry. Expiration? 13 October 2000. Yes, 2000. If you don't want to do the math, like I did, that would be 8 years, 5 months old as of tomorrow.....

Only two more tea bags to go and I will have no more ancient tea to hide behind. Wonder what I'll unearth next!!

Not So High Tea....

The second tea from the home pantry version of '[food]Overstock.com' is True Blueberry tea. According to the expiration date, it magically went bad as of 2 January 2007.

I brewed up the tea and made another smoothie hoping it wasn't a case of fooled me once, shame on you....you know the deal....

So I threw it in with the same fruit mixture as before and voila! Another smoothie! This one was pretty damn good if I do say so myself. If I hadn't used up the box I would make another one for myself right now!!

What could survive a nuclear holicaust?

Well, besides cockroaches and other creepie-crawlies, I would wager that the condiments in my refrigerator have a good chance, too. I pulled this jar out of the fridge at work:

This is a jar of muffalata mustard, made by me in 2001. Every once in a while, I rummage around for mustard for a sandwich, take it out, look at it, say "nah, " put it back in, and use something else. No, it hasn't been at work since 2001. And, to credit my co-workers, we do clean the fridge. I have commandeered the left produce drawer for myself and they leave it to me to maintain cleanliness. And it is clean, it just happens to have some pretty old inhabitants. 

As I was slathering it all over a couple of slices of bread (no use being timid with it), my boss walked in and asked what I was putting on my sandwich. Strategically positioning the label screaming "I AM EIGHT YEARS OLD" away from her so she couldn't see, I told her what is was. Fortunately, she immediately got caught up in a reverie about the time when she and her husband made muffalata sandwiches for another co-worker's wedding shower. 

So, how did it taste? It made a damn fine turkey sandwich. 

And I put it back in the drawer ;)

Metabolic Frolic

That's the name of the 10 year old tea I brewed up, Metabolic Frolic!! I happen to know this is 10 year old tea since I was responsible for purchasing it for the guilty party as a gift. Bad idea apparently.

It looks as if the tea has gone all powdery since it kept coming out of the tea brewer. This led to me having to fish out all the floating nibbly bits.

I decided to put it in as the liquid part of a smoothie since I love smoothies made with tea (used as others use juice or soy) and the fruit seems to hide all evils. Unfortunately this was not the case here.

All I wound up with was a pretty gross tasting smoothie. But when I told the other person I tricked into having half I was told, "It tastes like tea". Perhaps I just don't like the tea? Well stay tuned since there are many, many more old teas for me to try this trick on......

Coffee Time!!!

I found this giant container of coffee in the basement hidden under some other items (notice the dust) and immediately decided to turn it into my next experiment.

The price sticker (bright orange thing on the right you can't read) says it cost $7.50. Since when has any self-respecting coffee been priced at $2.50 a pound?? Well, I brewed it up by my favorite method..

I measured a pound of coffee and put it in my toddy 'machine' for 24 hours........

It looks pretty disgusting on the image but they all do so that didn't deter my mission.

Then I drained it and proceeded to prepare it for drinking. One quick sniff told me it was a bit weak and stale smelling and would need a LOT of doctoring up to be drinkable.

I added coffee, milk and about a pound and a half of sugar. None of this helped the coffee become drinkable. It was certainly stale and weak - and the purpose of the toddy coffee is to make coffee concentrate. This was anything but concentrated. In fact, it was weaker than Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Conclusion: If you have coffee that has been opened and is of an indeterminable age and quality STOP!! DON'T DRINK IT!!! I didn't come to the point of throwing this mess up, however I did compost the rest, it is not worth the pain to my taste buds.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Oprah On This Issue....

A few days ago Oprah was discussing the issue of food and wasted food, she is firmly against wasting food. I wonder if she would like to come over for a "I'm not sure if this is expired or still good so I'm going to cook it up to see what happens when I eat it" dinner party?

On with the crusade!!!