Part of a text conversation between me and Craig on Friday:
Me: I made a big mistake.
Craig: What happened?
Me: I ate the expired yogurt. Think I’m going to vomit.
Craig: Oh, no. How long ago did you eat it?
Me: 3 hrs
Craig: Right on schedule. Better to vomit.
As I finished that last word, I was at the park with the dogs, bent over on one of the trails, mouth watering. ‘It was only two days past the expiration date. You are not going to vomit. You are not going to vomit. Think about something else This is not going to happen.’
The dogs were happy to stand around in the sunshine but I was quickly trying to get myself together before the elderly couple I had recently passed caught up with me, wondering why I was suddenly three shades of green and foaming at the mouth. I took several deep breaths, stood, and started making my way back to the car.
See that date that I circled? Turns out it’s not there to look pretty – it actually means something!
Your first question I am assuming would be, ‘Why on earth would you eat yogurt that was 4 days past the expiration date in the first place?’ That is a good question. What can I say? I grew up in a household where we frequently ate expired goods – especially canned goods. My dad would assure me that, ‘if it ain’t bloated at the top, it’s perfectly fine.’ It’s a miracle I never ended up in the hospital with botulism.
Before I continue, let me just say (in order to regain some sense of dignity here) that don’t normally go around deeming a piece of stale bread Grade A Quality after picking off the fuzzy mold. I am not crazy weird. And, I might add – Greek yogurt is tart anyway. Plus, it was only 6 days past the use-by date.
….okay, it was nine – are you happy? It had been expired for NINE days, but I swear I did not know that when I ate it. I mean yes, I new that I was eating expired food but did not realize it was that far past until I got back home and dug through the trash to find the foil lid. Please don’t be grossed out by me.
When Craig came home from work, the first thing he asked was, ‘Well? Did you?” No, I did not. I could have – in fact, I came close several times but willed it back down. I am one of those people who will do anything to keep from vomiting. I’ve always been that way. I think it’s because I become afraid when I don’t have control over my body, and anyone who’s ever thrown up will tell you that it’s quite a sight; it kind of feels like I’m fighting an exorcism.
Instead, I spent the entire day listening to my stomach churn, rumble and make all kinds of strange noises while I moaned from nausea. It lasted until Saturday afternoon until, finally, I was able to eat some oatmeal.
I’m feeling much better now, but am a little unsure as to whether I should be proud of myself or seek mental help. I mean, on the one hand I think it’s pretty awesome realizing that I can will my body to push through even the most unpleasant of circumstances (I’ll have zero excuse of being too tired to hike that last mile). On the other hand, it is still disturbing me as to why I thought eating expired food was a better choice than simply throwing it away. Maybe my long-gone father was speaking to me from beyond…
I’m so proud of you, Ellen. You didn’t need your stomach pumped and you saved a whole dollar! Woo-Hoo!
This isn’t the first time I’ve had a bad experience with food poisoning. There was the special date night Craig and I had many years ago that required several phone calls to Ask-a-Nurse before ending in a shared bottle of syrup of ipecac. That story is for another time, however. Come back later in the week as I dedicate Friday ‘National Purge and Hurl Day’ and share it with you. Right now, my stomach just can’t take it.
Question: How strict are you with expiration dates? Anyone else grow up in a frugal household (with a depression-era father as a double-whammy) and base your call of spoiled food on the ‘bloat-factor’?
Wow. My teachers were right. I am special.
Have a good week, everyone. Watch those dates.