Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What's in your cupboard?

You have perhaps seen the tv commercials that end by asking you, "What's in your wallet?" Well, I think we've all had experience of going through our kitchen cupboards and finding stuff that makes us ask, "What the ***bleep***???" I remember being with a friend who had been vegetarian for years, in her own kitchen, as she was experiencing that sense of wonderment that comes from looking past the first line of defense offered by the row of canned gluten and bags of sun-dried tomato, groping, looking from some obscure ingredient or another.

First of all, no one really likes to do this because it is usually sticky back there, in the distant corners of cupboardom.

But bravely, she continued groping, and, after some time, she pulled out a tin of sardines.

A silence pregnant with disgust, denial and disbelief descended like a thick, down comforter over the kitchen.

She finally looked up at me in horror.

As members of the human species finds themselves confronted with the reality of what actually lurks within their cabinets, drawers, and pantries, they generally divide themselves into two psychologically distinct groups, the "tossers" and the "shelvers".

The shelvers take whatever they find, no matter how old it is, and put it back in the cupboard. The tossers, not knowing the age of the item and writhing inside with a semi-conscious fear of an untimely death, toss it. It can be in perfectly good condition but, nope, out it goes.

This division between the tossers and shelvers becomes more animated when we come to the area of refrigerators. She wants to toss the sour cream, but he is dead set against it.

But what if there were some way to tackle the experience, you know, scientifically? What if you could find a guide, a rational approach to follow in these moments of looking into the deep recesses of your kitchen cabinets and refrigerators? Well, happily for all, there is. A leading research think tank known as F.N.O.R.D. has provided us with an invaluable tool designed to help in the moments when the toss-or-shelve response is triggered.

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What this author simply cannot comprehend is that the question of chocolate syrup hanging around in a refrigeration for as long as six months could even come up.

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