Proof that these apples haven't fallen far from the tree

>> Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Long-term readers of The Potty Diaries may have noticed that from time to time a post from my sis pops up in here.  (She's very funny - more than I am - in case you've missed those).  Well, also from time to time, my father sends me a missive - and the one below was too good to languish unused in my inbox.

Entirely co-incidentally, just as I am working my way through our cupboards here to prepare for our move back to the UK, my parents are having a proper clear-out of their kitchen cupboards.  This is my father's commentary on what they found lurking within...

Hi Clare,

My, you should be really proud of us. Just cleared out the food cupboards, most notably the herbs, spices, oils, vinegars and other hard-to-get comestibles. We are left with roughly 10%, which are within 'best by', and a further 5% that smell-alright-and-therefore-probably-are-alright, mostly antiseptic-based food colourings. 

And the awards?

For the Longest Past its 'Best By' date:  A large sachet of Japanese, oyster-based fish sauce, purchased in Aspen Colorado, marked ‘Use By January 2002’.

The Most Tedious Piece of Food Recycling in 2015: A jar of Tate and Lyle Black Treacle c. 2008. Recognised for blocking up the kitchen waste pipe for 37 minutes until cleared by a stiff dose of Whiting's 'Big Biffa' waste clearer.

The Recyclable Most Determined to Leave its Mark: 100gms of Sharwood's turmeric powder which, despite the efforts of the household, and Wells' team of First Responders, managed to despoil the boot of its owners' Seat Ibiza motor car, her spouse's foul-weather upper body protective, and the glass recycling bin in the Tesco car park.

The Recyclable that Most Brutally Brought Tears of Nostalgia to the Eyes of the Recyclers: 50gms of Madagascan Vanilla Essence c. 2009; recognised for its incomparable contribution to the culinary excellence of the local area by infusing six years of festive panna cotta desserts for the poor and needy of the village.

And the Lifetime Achievement Award goes to: 500 gms of Malaccun cloves, sourced before modern records (and ‘best by’ dates) began, but believed by experts from the V&A to have been distributed by Nurdin and Peacock’s Cash and Carry Warehouse, Wadden Way, Cheltenham in the late 20th century. Probably predates the Japanese rubbish mentioned earlier. Best guess? 1975 when the memsahib started baking flans for the company canteen.

No prizes for guessing which cupboard I'm clearing in the next 24 hours...


expatmum,  5 May 2015 at 15:25  

Oooh, there's eclectic for you! I keep trying to do the same thing but the Ball & Chain then goes out and buys the same spice-that-we-never-use. At present we have about four small jars of dried fennel and three plastic jars of cinnamon sticks. Cause you know, they come in handy ALL the time.

MsCaroline,  5 May 2015 at 16:12  

Reading this makes me feel better about the clear-out I did before we moved to Seoul, in 2011, when I discovered products dating back to the early 1990s. Of course, moving doesn't seem to have helped me at all; yesterday I went to open a jar of mustard that turned out to have a 'use by' date of Jan 2014. I love your dad's way with words; maybe he can be a regular contributor?

Jennifer Howze,  5 May 2015 at 18:04  

ha ha - hilarious! We cleared out our spice cabinet last year and found some notable golden oldies. Turmeric always seems to be in that category.

pottymummy,  5 May 2015 at 19:04  

The spice cabinet is on my list for tomorrow, Jennifer - will be interesting to see just how out of date I've managed to let them get in only 5 years here...

pottymummy,  5 May 2015 at 19:06  

But how is that possible MsC; did you bring mustard with you from Seoul? (And not much hope on the regular contributor front - since I haven't *cough* actually mentioned the fact that I used his letter. Yet.)

pottymummy,  5 May 2015 at 19:07  

Yeeees. I MAY have gone a little overboard on the cinnamon sticks myself, EPM, when visiting a herb and spice store in Greece last November. Happens to the best of us - apparently.

KnackeredMother,  5 May 2015 at 22:13  

I love he free to do mine?

pottymummy,  12 May 2015 at 12:57  

For wine, KM, undoubtedly!

MsCaroline,  19 May 2015 at 14:40  

Actually (hides face in shame) I did(it was unopened, of course.) Our movers packed up everything in the cupboards, which must have included some out-of-date mustard. Of course, in those last days, I stocked up on purpose on a few things that I could get (from the US Army base in Seoul) there that I was fairly sure I wouldn't find in the UK (like Zatarain's jambalaya and gumbo mixes and a couple of spices (I was right - I can't find smoked paprika anywhere around here!) and a few Korean items I knew would cost a bomb here in the UK.) A shame your dad won't be a regular contributor for now, but maybe you can gradually introduce the idea...?

pottymummy,  20 May 2015 at 15:03  

Aha! You can find smoked paprika - try Sainsbury in the World Food section. They certainly used to sell it, anyway...

MsCaroline,  20 May 2015 at 15:23  

They didn't have it the last time I looked - much to my surprise, because goodness knows they had everything else - but I will keep looking - maybe it's online- it's good to know that you've seen it. My mum arrives in a week and will bring enough to tide me over until I either find a source locally or get back to the USA in August. Any idea if you've ever seen roasted ground cumin anywhere about? That and the smoked paprika are my 2 go-to spices for a lot of my cooking.

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