Share Your World — Taste, Admiration, and Regret

Share Your WorldMelanie’s Share Your World prompt this week asks a few relatively simple, non-controversial questions, which is just the ticket for the day before election day in the United States. Here goes:

Which meal is your favorite: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

As those of you who read my blog know, I lost my sense of taste early this year (another reason to despise 2020) as a result of surgery in my middle ear. One of the nerves that apparently enables you to have a sense of taste in your mouth was severed and now almost everything I eat is rather tasteless. So rather than depending upon taste to get any sensation from my food, I depend upon texture. For breakfast, I have cold cereal with raisins, bananas, and, of course, milk. While that might not sound like much to get excited about, breakfast is now my favorite meal because of the crunchy nature of the cereal flakes, and the texture of the raisins and bananas. And I can taste the coldness of the milk. Unfortunately, everything I eat tastes bland. My dear wife tries really hard to make meals that tickle my taste buds, but my taste buds are no longer ticklish.

Who do you admire most in the world?

These days, there aren’t very many admirable people left. That said, with Barrack Obama coming out over the past few weeks to support Joe Biden, I was reminded of what a smart, articulate, intelligent, sane, and normal president can be. And while Obama was far from perfect, when compared with the current madman we have in the Oval Office at the moment (and hopefully for not too many more moments), I have to say that I truly do admire Barrack Obama.

With the obvious restrictions in place, what do you regret not doing in the last year?

I regret not being able to spend more time face-to-face with my grown children, and, particularly not being able to spend more time with my five month old grandchild.

Melanie also asks us to share something we are grateful for.

I am grateful that tomorrow is election day and that we shall soon (probably not by the end of the day tomorrow, though) know who won the election. And I’m grateful that, if Biden wins, on January 20, 2021, Inauguration Day, our country can begin to recover from this madness we have been living with for the past four years.

Questions That Make Sense

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in one of Rory’s intriguing prompts, but I had some time on my hands today, so I figured I’d jump in and respond to the four aces he threw at us today.

1. What three senses could you NOT live without? Discuss why.

I’ve already lost my sense of taste, and I can’t hear out of my left ear, so my sense of hearing is down by 50%. But I think the most important sense and the one I’d hate losing the most is my common sense.

2. What is your favorite of these two and why? Pen or Pencil.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I used a pencil, so if I must choose between pen and pencil, I’d go with pen. That said, my handwriting is essentially illegible, even to me, so I’d choose neither a pen nor a pencil, but a keyboard or keypad.

3. What are your top 3 colors and why are they your favorites?

Blue, light gray, and dark gray. Hmm. I guess I’m just not a very colorful person.

4. Are you able to list 10 basic smells and if so what are they?

  • Popcorn 👍
  • Dog or cat poop 👎
  • The smell of cooking on an outdoor grill 👍
  • The smell of a wood-burning fire (in a fireplace, of course) 👍
  • Another person’s farts 👎
  • My farts 👍
  • Body odor 👎
  • Sizzling bacon 👍
  • Cigarette or cigar smoke 👎
  • Freshly baked bread 👍

FOWC with Fandango — Taste

FOWCWelcome to July 7, 2020 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “taste.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Please check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

Twittering Tales — Politically Incorrect

EF3017AE-8182-4D8C-B7CF-4935AD54C653“I’m glad that the company that made those little Valentine’s Day heart candies isn’t selling them this year,” Carol said.

“Why not? I liked them,” Donna said. “I thought they were sweet, both in sentiment and in taste.”

“They just aren’t appropriate in this day and age. #MeToo.”

(278 characters)

Written for Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tales prompt. Photo credit: Skeeze on Also for Your Daily Word Prompt (sentiment.)

FYI, the New England Confectionery Company, or Necco, the company that made these candy hearts, known as “Sweethearts,” declared bankruptcy last year. Since then, the rights to Sweethearts were acquired by Spangler Candy Company last September. Because of the change, Sweethearts will not be sold for Valentine’s Day this year, but will be available again next year.

Best if Read By Date

I read a post yesterday from Roger Shipp in which he asked that age-old question, “What is with this gobblety-goop with the sell-by dates?” Roger’s post reminded me of something I posted back on September 6, 2010 (yes, that’s right — ten years ago) for a now defunct blog I used to have, although my focus was more on the use by date than on the sell by date. Anyway, I dug up that post, and with a few minor edits, present it to you here.

It seems that all food products these days have expiration dates on them. Are these dates, often worded as “best if used by” on the jars, bottles, cans, wrappers, or boxes, warnings to indicate that something may be amiss if the product is consumed after the stamped date?

Or is this a conspiracy by food packaging companies to scare us into tossing out perfectly good food and to spend money to replace it with a “fresher” product?

My approach to determining whether or not something is okay to consume is to apply a series of sensory tests.
F561D376-3180-42C3-85E5-331B7F33B651The first test involves using my eyes. Do I see, for example, anything blue or green growing on cheese? When I open up the jar of half eaten salsa that has been in my refrigerator for a couple of weeks, are there white, fuzzy things growing inside the jar? Is a penicillin-like mold spotting my bread slices?  If so, regardless of the “best if used by” date marked on the package, it’s time to toss out the product.
EFCC0151-98B9-477C-A589-36B667E9E193The second test involves the sense of smell. If I put my nose up to the opening on the milk carton and a foul stench strong enough to cause me to gag emanates from within that carton, it’s a sure sign that the milk has turned.

But if the milk smells like milk, even if the “use by” date on the carton was two weeks ago, I feel safe pouring it all over my bowl of Wheaties and munching away.

I became curious about this “best if used by” date as a result of several recent occurrences. First, my wife tossed out nearly a dozen eggs because the “use by” date (or maybe it was the “sell by” date) had passed a week or so earlier.

Unfortunately, you can’t look at an egg, assuming its shell is not cracked, to see if it looks bad, and because of its shell, you can’t really sniff an egg to see if it smells bad until after you crack it open.

My wife also pointed out that our butter has “best if used by” dates stamped on the packages, which is something neither of us had ever noticed before, much less heeded.

Then just yesterday I was fixing myself a tuna fish sandwich and I noticed that the jar of mayonnaise that I pulled out of the refrigerator had a “best if used by” date of June 16, 2018, which was about two and a half months ago.

I opened the jar and looked inside. Nothing fuzzy growing in there. I stuck my nose into the mouth of the jar and it didn’t cause me to retch.

Having passed my sensory tests, I took a spoonful of the “expired” mayo and mixed it into my tuna fish. Then I took out two slices of Swiss cheese where the “best if used by” date stamped on the package had also expired. I carefully examined each slice of cheese and saw nothing unusual. No white spots, no green or blue areas around the edges. When I smelled the cheese slices, they smelled like cheese is supposed to smell.

I confidently prepared and then proceeded to eat my hand-crafted tuna fish sandwich. It was delicious, even though several of the ingredients were well past their “best if used by” dates.

According to the USDA, the “best if used by” date serves as a recommendation from food manufacturers to suggest that the food will have the best flavor or quality when consumed on or before that date. It is not a “purchase by” or safety date. Of course, that’s not how most people interpret that date.

A study by the Journal of Food Science found that it was more common for people to perceive that foods labeled as being past their “use by” date tasted bad, even though the food was actually not beyond that date. Conversely, taste acceptance increased when people ate foods that were labeled as being within the “best if used by” date range.

So is this “best if used by” date a ploy by clever food manufacturers? Is it intended to persuade people to throw out anything past the date, regardless of whether it still might be good, and to go out and replace it with the same product with a future “best if used by” date?

Being the cynic that I am, I believe it is. After all, I am still alive to share this tale of my tuna fish sandwich made with out-of-date mayonnaise and cheese. Thus, while I will be aware of the “best if used by” dates, I will pretty much continue to ignore them and will stick with my sensory tests.

If it’s not discolored, not fuzzy (assuming it’s not a peach), and doesn’t cause me to gag when I smell it, it’s still good to eat…for me, anyway.