Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Shame of it.

I am here today to bare my soul.   This is a post of confession - all right, you all hate really personal posts which disclose intimate details best left unsaid - but I need to confess and to get it off my chest.

I have visitors coming to stay in a couple of weeks, so I thought I had better make a start at tidying cupboards before they came.  (they are relations and will no doubt help with meals, opening cupboards and drawers at will).

Now I must say that I am quite a tidy person in the places which are to be seen.   But what goes on behind closed cupboards and drawers is a different matter.   Today's post therefore poses a list of questions, all relating to my spice containers on one shelf in my cupboard.

1.  Why do I have three small jars of sage, all opened but all three
quarters full?  This is a particularly interesting question as I have a good sage plant in my garden.

2.  When did I ever use poppy seeds, and for what?

3.  How is it that the 'best before' date on one jar is 2006?

4.  We neither of us care for curry so why have I got a jar of curry powder, opened, and what did I use it for?

And all of these, of course, beg the question, when did I last clean out the herbs and spices box?

Well, I have done so now and I keep opening the cupboard door just to make sure that it is still immaculate.   But two things strike me as very important:

1.   I must not let it get like that again.
2.   I need to take lessons from Frugal in Suffolk and Frugal in
Derbyshire on how to be less profligate.


23 comments:

Becca McCallum said...

You are not alone! This happens in our house too.

Rachel said...

I have at least three of ginger, and ditto cumin and have lost count of the paprika and various strengths of chilli powders. These purchases can be traced back to days when I thought I would be more adventurous in my cooking. The dates go back to the early 1990s. If I had guests who got this intimate, and I cant really comment on this bit because I never have guests, I would be too pissed by this stage to care what they said. So have a few drinks handy.

Elizabeth said...

I currently have 3 cumins.....well, we like cumin but even so...

Old dictum: if in doubt, chuck it out!

simplesuffolksmallholder said...

Actually, you are right, I do only have one of each. With a couple of new packs of things about to run out to top up jars. I don't have many of those fiddly little spice jars, prefer to buy in packet from The Grape Tree and tip them into bigger jars
I could do a picture one day!

A Heron's View said...

'Best before dates' are a bit of a con when it comes to herbs, because providing they are kept dry in a well sealed container they will last for many a year.

By Law every edible produce has to have a best before date on it's label.

MorningAJ said...

If you don't fancy eating any of them you could always mix up some batches of pot pourri. The herbs and spices will still smell good. (Though the curry powder might be best used as a moth repellent!)

See you Friday!

John Gray said...

You naughty cow x

Bovey Belle said...

I would be as scarlet as my sweat shirt if I owned up to the "use by" dates on some of the stuff in my recent cupboard turf-out!!! I like to be organised, but life often gets in the way. Nearest I come to it is a list of what's in my big earthenware pot that has the soft fruits and dessicated coconut, nuts etc. I think I need lists like that all over the house!

Tom Stephenson said...

Is that all? I thought you were going to confess to a similar skeleton in your cupboard as I have.

Willow said...

Oh my ~ my spice area , well better I do leave it unsaid .lol

Mary said...

….maybe you baked lemon poppy seed muffins - that's about all I ever used them for, and come to think of it they must be way past their life date because I've not made them in years!

I now have three open curry powders because I just discovered they come in different strengths - I'm not sure which one I used and liked so keep buying more to try.

Well another kitchen job for me tomorrow - thanks for the reminder!!

Mary

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I have some out of date spices - it is mostly a ploy to get you to toss the old spices and buy new. If I can smell the spices and they do the job - I keep them. Besides "best by" doesn't necessarily mean "useless after". Lemon poppyseed bread - ohhhh so delicious - but I do find that poppy seeds lose their oomph faster than some things - so I buy small quantities in the bulk section. I think I'll make a lemon poppyseed bread tomorrow - it is more like a cake and baked in a bread pan. Perfect with a cup of tea.

Cro Magnon said...

I think the answer to all your questions is 'because you're human'.

angryparsnip said...

hahahahahaha... I loved your confession.

cheers, parsnip

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

From all the above comments (and the evidence of my own spice rack) one wonders how much of the spice produced in the world is actually used.

Virginia said...

Consider yourself absolved - you're definitely in the 'venial' category!! ! I keep telling myself to DATE herb packets and then get slack about it. Some herb are fine when they're old, but others are quite awful. If I'm confessing it should be failure to turn over the food and medicine in our Emergency Kit - it really should be done twice annually and I keep on forgetting. At least they are dated. We live in an earthquake-prone country so a goodly supply of provisions is essential.

Dartford Warbler said...

I dare not tell you how old some spices are in my cupboard. They are purely for decoration!

I have bought things in the past, meaning to be more adventurous, but then I go back to the same old herbs and spices and forget about the newcomers. Maybe it`s time I had a sort out too?!

Heather said...

Only 2006? I did better than that when I cleaned out my larder. I think you are perfectly normal! I think we get the odd Domestic Goddess urge to make some special dish, buy all the ingredients and only use them once. Your honesty does you credit - I keep quiet about the items in my cupboards!!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I used to have a real problem with this, but I had a good clear out a while ago, still it's astonishing how this can happen, without even realising it....

Linda Metcalf said...

I can relate to your herb and spice stash...I have 2 or 3 of everything and they are so darn expensive! Why did I not check my recipe and see if I had it before I did a shop?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Half a jar of teriyaki marinade anyone? (refrigerate after opening and use within five days). Such a relief to find we are all much of a much ness. Thanks for contributing and lightening my conscience.

Tim said...

The three jars of sage....
only one is yours...
the other two belong to two of your parallel-selves...
that is why they were all at the same level.
The curry is slightly different...
one parallel-self used curry for a dish and put it back in the cupboard...
and has been looking for it ever since.
The poppy seed is a different matter altogether....
it comes from another dimension entirely...
that's why we think of it as exotic.
What happens is that, as you put things in cupboards, little windows elsewhere open to accept your offering.
Which is why, when we moved here and started unpacking...
we found a pair of size 13 plimsolls...
Hhhun? We are both size seven...

Anyway herbs&spices...
Herbs go stale and smell of old compost within a year...
spices, if kept in the dark, tend to live well beyond their supposed sell-"buy" date.
You can grow some of the most exotic herbs in The Dales...
they have a wonderful selection at Harlow Carr.
Take coriander... at our allotment in Leeds it grew wonderfully...
rich, flavoursome and lush.
That same T&M variety doesn't like Central France [a Kentish climate]...
And there is a Yorkshire Farmer and a Bradfordian of Pakistanii origins farming fresh coriander and other Indian continent herbs in the wilds of Todmorden...
and they "export" to London Markets!!

We have a spice rack...
it covers one wall!!
but they aren't in cupboards...
they aren't able to slip sideways.

Just been pointed at your blog by Sheila who reads our blogs...
I've enjoyed the reads so far....
but had to comment on this one!!

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