Thursday, October 29, 2009

it's a generational thing

October 2009.
My brother is in from out of town and we are all gathered at my parent’s house for dinner. My mom, who is wearing an adorable HOT MAMA APRON has prepared a family favorite, roast chicken, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and green beans.
As we sit down to eat,
my mom asks if anyone would like some cranberry relish.
"It goes great with chicken". She says.
Yum, that does sound good. I LOVE cranberry relish, especially the kind my dad makes every November, right before Thanksgiving.
"I would love some. Is it as good as Dad's?" I ask
"It is Dad's" says my mom
"When did he make it? He usually makes some for me." I say.
(long pause)
Surely it isn't, do I dare ask? Could it possibly be the cranberry relish my dad made LAST Thanksgiving? Eleven months ago?
I cross my fingers and ask "Mom this isn't last year's relish is it?"

"Yes it is and there is NOTHING wrong with it; your Dad and I eat it all the time."
Oh dear God. Here we go again. The ongoing argument over the contents of my parent’s pantry and fridge. Milk two weeks past the sell by date, Tabasco sauce that is not refrigerated and has turned brown, leftovers from dinner last week...I could go on and on.
My mother, sensing that I am completely disgusted, tells me "It's a generational thing. You are part of the disposable generation; you all throw everything away and are so wasteful. You don't know what it was like to grow up in the shadows of the great depression. When we were growing up there were no dates on food. Food didn't go bad. The date on the milk is the SELL by date not the DRINK by date."
Maybe we are wasteful but if I were to eat eleven month old cranberry relish surely my stomach would explode.
I politely pass on the Cranberry Relish.
My mom plopped a heaping spoonful, onto her plate, right between the chicken breast and green beans.
My Dad had some too and, when dinner was over, the cranberry relish went back into the fridge.
Amazingly, my parents were totally fine after eating the ancient relish. There were no stomach explosions, not even the slightest grunt, groan or rumble.
So was the relish really okay to eat? Certainly not but how can we know for sure?
Here is a great website dedicated to answering such questions and solving this type of family dispute.
May your family dine in peace!
And, as always, while preparing a meal or cleaning out that fridge, make sure you have on your favorite HOT MAMA APRON!

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