That Help’s the Kind of Help We All Can Do Without

I kind of know a lot about food. I’m not saying that to sound all braggy — I know a lot of useless stuff, like how the mystery flavor of Dum Dums is produced and what to substitute in the event of a crisis, like having stuff boiling on the stovetop and not having THE INGREDIENT. I also like to help people. I don’t claim to know everything, but I like to impart what little, useless knowledge I have in order to make a person’s day a little bit better.

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The mystery flavor is a combination of one flavor and the next in the factory. Which is why it tastes bad.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when an older gentleman, alone at the grocery store, started talking shelf life with the stockboy.

First, there’s something about single, older guys in the grocery that seriously bums me out. Same with restaurants. There’s a part of me that is extremely concerned that they aren’t getting the proper nutrition they need to actually survive (seriously, this one time I went to Oregon alone for a long weekend and I came home to discover Husband had eaten generic puffed rice cereal and saltines for every single meal. Tell me that’s not mildly alarming.), but I also feel sad that they might be lonely for some companionship.

Single women are better at the companionship thing that guys are, it seems to me.

Anyways, before I start getting all weepy about the single, old guy I saw at a restaurant who ordered the special that I knew kind of sucked, let me get back to the original story I interrupted myself during. Shelf lives are kind of a fascinating thing for me. You’d think with all the germophobia running around in my brain, I would be a stickler when it came to shelf lives. On the contrary, I am utterly fascinated by how much I can push the envelope.

Mom hates that phrase. Push the envelope.

I wanna know how long I can eat or drink something before it will put me into the hospital. So far, no hospital visits, so I’m doing pretty good, I’d say. So, as he, the stockboy, and I were standing in front of the egg display, I overheard him say, “What’s the shelf life of this?” to which I heard the stockboy reply with, “May 25.” And then he wanted to know how long it lasted.

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Well. Here it was — a golden opportunity for me to not only share my vast knowledge of eggs but also help someone in need. I sidled right up to the man and said, “Oh they last 5-8 weeks past the pull date. So you can have them up to 2 months without worrying.” (This, by the way, is true, but if you are ever super concerned about it, go ahead. Crack that egg open and tell me you can’t tell whether or not it’s good or bad. Spoiler alert: bad eggs are bad. I totally just cracked myself up with that spoiler pun. And the cracked one.) I didn’t want to overstay my welcome, so I simply gave out the information and walked away.

It was when I was perhaps two steps away from them when I realized the man was asking about milk. A gallon of milk.

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As it turns out, milk does NOT have a shelf life even sort of like eggs. If you keep milk 5-8 weeks past its pull date and attempt to do anything with it besides throw it in the garbage (seriously don’t even bother recycling the plastic container — just throw that sucker in the trash), you will go the hospital, where you will probably die.


Unless the stockboy told the older gentleman that actually I was extremely incorrect and to completely ignore me, well, let’s just not think about it.


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