I wonder who looks at expiration dates on food and over-the-counter meds other than my children. Bing and I seem to have reared five super-cautious (a nice way of saying paranoid), compulsive label-readers.
Case in point: Last year, Meg asked what she would need to make turkey gravy at Christmas. I told her to be sure to get a small bottle of Kitchen Bouquet. For those of you who know even less than Meg about making gravy (I doubt that any such person exists, but one can never be sure), Kitchen Bouquet is a dark liquid that gives the gravy some flavor and a nice color.
A few days later, Meg said she couldn’t find Kitchen Bouquet in Los Angeles, so I told her I’d bring my bottle out. How long have you had that bottle, she asked suspiciously. When I said I didn’t know, she insisted I look at the expiration date on it. I didn’t think fast enough to lie, but read to her over the phone, “July 14, 2003.”
“MOM,” she said, horrified. Of course, she texted her siblings and they all were equally horrified. “No one’s been poisoned yet,” I said defensively.
Meg is not alone in checking up on the age of my supplies. Heather once nearly fainted when she found a bottle of aspirin in our medicine cabinet that had expired seven years earlier. Instead of fainting, she gave us a stern lecture. I still have that bottle of aspirin, but don’t tell Heather.
I also have a jar of Vicks VapoRub that expired in 1999 – it came with the house and is still perfectly good.
My keeping things for long periods of time also extends to my wardrobe. I once bought a lovely Lanz shirtwaist dress at a used clothing shop. It’s maroon fine-wale corduroy with a white Peter Pan collar – I love it. I didn’t realize quite how long I’ve had it, however, until recently, when looking through an old photo album, I came across a picture of me wearing it and holding baby Wade on my lap.
Oh well – at least there is no expiration date on the dress.