Earlier this year, January 10th to be exact, I did something that made me wonder if I had lost my sense of culinary adventure.
I don’t mean raw, oysters-on the-half-shell-type culinary adventure. What I’m referring to is surrendering to full-fledged FEAR: Forsaking Edibles to Avoid Risk.
Here’s what happened.
I found an unopened Chobani Greek yogurt in the back of the refrigerator and noticed the expiration date was 12/12/15. I started to open it, but a wave of caution assaulted me, and I hesitated.
I stifled my doubts, and proceeded to breach its sterile, hermetically sealed package, using an arsenal of Craftsmen tools.
I rationalized that even when yogurt is fresh, it is fermented. And cultured. So how could it be harmful?
It turns out it was extra zesty, and I gobbled up every tangy clump of it over the next few days.
But the shameful memory haunted me: I had hesitated.
Has eating become a new minefield of risk for me, as I grow older? Am I one birthday away from tossing out expired dairy products before I taste and smell them, or worse before I open them?
- Restricting peanut M&M’s for fear of choking?
- Breaking up with hard cheese for fear of cracking a tooth? (Last week I left half a molar in a slice of smoked cheddar).
- Incinerating two-year-old frozen lasagna for fear of freezer burn?
- Wasting hot dogs for fear of cancer?
- Narrowing options for saturated fats for fear of constricted arteries?
- Eliminating prunes for fear of diarrhea?
- Stoning Lay’s Classics for fear of a gallbladder attack?
- Extracting chocolate for fear of cavities?
- Kicking nachos for fear of addiction? (Too late)
- Expelling beans for fear of gas?
- Scaling down white sugar for fear of obesity?
- Bypassing marbled sirloin for fear of heart disease?
- Gutting gluten for fear of intolerance?
- Canning tuna for fear of mercury?
- Severing ties with bone-in chicken for fear of lacerating my esophagus?
- Shunning tequila for fear of losing everyone and everything I love?
Facing each of these fears has bolstered my courage. I am happy to report I continue to ingest these hazardous delights without FEAR, or any adverse health effects.
Though I do admit I’ve curtailed my consumption of Greek yogurt, since for some strange reason, I’ve had an upset stomach.
And Patrick tried to rock my resolve last night when he cooked a killer batch of nachos, topped with cheese and homemade chili. When I was serving myself a second helping, heaping them with mounds of salsa, he remarked, “Did you think that salsa tasted bitter? Do you know how long it has been opened?”
“The expiration date is August 2018.”
“But when did you open it?”
“Does that matter?”
Suddenly I was snorting salsa out my nose at the absurd idea that salsa could spoil in a nacho-loving household like ours.
Here is the new acronym I use now to guide my eating: FU: Feast Unfettered.
What food fears are eating at you? Have you swallowed all the hype about bad, scary foods? Have you eaten yogurt beyond its expiration date? Did you think it was delicious? Have you ever gotten sick from eating raw oysters? Have you ever snorted salsa?