For the past two weeks, my dear, dear husband has been on a kick to use all the expired food we dragged from Spokane, WA to Alexandria, VA. Not by throwing it away, mind you, by eating it. Yum! He is willing to part with it via recycling bin or trash if it’s too far gone. I'm just grateful to be married to a man, such as Jake, rather than . . . say . . . my grandma.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, not even a gnarly chunk of mold could deter my grandmother from throwing food out.
Mold lumps floating in a half full Gatorade bottle found under the couch – “Just drain the Gatorade into a cup. It’s still good!” Black slime crawling on an old chicken patty – “Just wipe it off. It’s still good!” Chip your tooth on last year's Christmas cookies – “Don’t throw those out! They’re still good!”
One summer, an ulcer hospitalized my grandma. Because I was a schoolteacher, and had the summer off, I traveled to Nephi, Utah to help her. Although I stayed at the hospital most of the time, time at her house consisted of two things: cleaning and organizing – which consisted of one thing: throwing out expired food, ingredients or medicine.
After a few weeks of hospitalization, she came home. That evening, she poured herself a glass of milk and then set it on the counter near the window. I didn’t think much about it. But when I saw her pick in up at 11:00AM the next morning, I said, “Grandma, you can’t drink that. It’s been out all night and sitting in the sun all morning.”
“I can drink it if I want to. It’s still good!” said my grandma.
I said, “But you’ve just been in the hospital because of an ulcer! You cannot drink that.”
“It’s still good!” she said. “I’m 87 years old. I can do what I want.”
I said, “Grandma, I’m frustrated. I’ve been here practically three weeks. I bought you fresh food to eat, and you ruined it on purpose.”
She drank the milk defiantly and said, “If I don’t eat rotten food, how else am I gonna die?”
“If you wanna die," I said, "Stop taking your medication!”
My grandmother, bless her, just turned 90 years old. She has opted not to get a new pacemaker, which will work a lot better than the two options mentioned above. When it is her time, I’m going to miss her so much, it will hurt like a permanent ulcer.
Grandma, if you have miraculously figured out how to use computers or some dreadful relative printed this out for you to read to spite me, know that I love you tons – with or without expired food. I might be a rotten granddaughter, but something tells me no matter what, you’ll think I’m still good.