Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I've got culture, damnit.

Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what this is?

I'll give you a few options:
(a) an extremely expensive yak's milk cheese that is considered a delicacy fit only for Nepalese royalty;
(b) politically-conscious modern art - it's a representation of Australia in decay under the Howard Government;
(c) an unemptied ash tray into which someone spilled red wine;
(d) some Philadelphia Cream Cheese that I found at the back of my fridge.

All right, that one was sticking out like the proverbial. It's obviously Option D (though I would also have accepted Option B). I found this baby when I was making lunch today. I had a fancy for cream cheese and tomato on toast. For some reason, there were three cartons of cream cheese in the fridge. The first one had a few patches of penicillin and something reddish growing on it, so I said "euww" and binned it. The third carton was new, unopened and still usable, but behind door number two, we had the thing of beauty you see above.

It had a use by date of August 12, which probably means I opened it in June or July. I'm pretty impressed by the way the mould has completely engulfed the cheese. Look at it, it's crenellated and wavey and it looks velvety soft! There could be an entire society in there, a la that episode of the Simpsons.

Obviously, I'd be lying if I said this was an unusual occurrence. I only throw cream cheese out when it's mouldy, so it's just a matter of when I notice it. In this case, it's a real champion effort and I'm tempted to just return it to the fridge and see what happens. It's a bit wiffy if you take the lid off (which I did for your benefit, to take the photo), but then you don't actually need to take the lid off to appreciate the effect. A cream cheese container is the perfect layman's petrie dish because it comes with a clear lid.

Anyway, once I'd found my little science experiment, I started hunting through the fridge and pantry for other prehistoric shopping. So far I've found:
  • Three tubs of wildberry (what exactly is a wildberry?) yoghurt that should have been used by July 18.
  • A half-used jar of green tomato pickle that died in November 2005.
  • One zucchini that had turned to green sludge in its plastic bag (think of squashed caterpillars and then add water).
  • Some carrots that were so elderly they'd grown hairs.
  • A bag of apples that have been Around For A While, but since they'd probably been in cold storage for a year before I bought them, I guess that one doesn't count.
  • One bottle of gourmet olive oil that was bottled in 2003, but that I have yet to open (and now I'm not game - who can spell "rancid", children?)
  • A few sachets of yeast that weren't going to be raising bread any time soon.
  • A jar of some odd-looking mixed spice that included whole peppercorns and mustard seeds; I didn't remember buying it, so it must have been there a looooong time. I think it might have been chutney mix, in which case it was at least six years old because that's when I realiesd life was too short to arse around with preserves.)
  • A bag of bread mix that ran out six months ago and had some sort of crawlies in it. How did the little bastards get in? It wasn't even opened. Do the manufacturers drop in a scoop of weevil eggs as a biological use by time bomb to make you buy new ones every six months?
  • An unopened bottle of Caesar salad dressing that ran out in November 2005. (It was full fat, so I didn't really care.)
  • One unopened jar of tartare sauce that ran out before everyone realised Mark Latham was a freakshow. (Ditto Caesar dressing.)
  • A half-bottle of raspberry cordial that was packed in November 2004, but (creepily) has no use by date. (I guess it does explain why some little kids have pupils that wouldn't look out of place on a speed freak on a five day bender, though.)
  • A full box of taco shells that ran out in November 2005.
  • An unopened packet of fortune cookies from the local Thai takeaway that were delivered Ford-knows-when. Obviously we didn't feel like a reading that day.

I think I've already found all the weird stuff in the fridge, but the pantry might take a little longer. But if you get an invite to dinner Chez Hack, don't worry. The booze never gets a chance to get out of date and the takeaway is always fresh.

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11 Comments:

At 4:42 pm, October 04, 2006, Blogger PetStarr said...

THAT is hilarious!!!!! I thought I was the only one to get creepy weird red growth on my Philly. Why is it red? What the hell is it??

 
At 4:47 pm, October 04, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Um, Peter Costello? He's kind of a ginger. I'm just not sure how he gets into our fridges, though...

 
At 4:54 pm, October 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry about clearing everything out - just lug your entire fridge on the back of a trailer and cart it to the nearest dump. Much easier. :)
Meanwhile, who calls their kid Maggie May? Calling their daughter after a Rod Stewart song is wrong, wrong, wrong.

 
At 4:55 pm, October 04, 2006, Blogger audrey said...

I love the propensity as well to just pretend you don't see the tubs. Like, you know there are out of date tubs in your fridge but somehow, getting them out and binning them will be acknowledging that you're the kind of person that allows mould to roam freely in the mothership of your energy source.

 
At 5:08 pm, October 04, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Anon, I thought about doing the same thing with my oven. It was clean the oven or move house. Then my brother suggested that I just get a new oven...

Audrey, I know. It's tragic. But in my defence, yoghurt and sour cream are already kind of "off", so they shouldn't really taste any different when they're past their use by dates. Nevertheless, I did bin the July 18 yoghurt. :P

 
At 8:31 am, October 05, 2006, Blogger Susanne said...

Ewwww... I thought it was some kind of anti-smoking, this-is-your-lung-if-you-keep-smoking advertisement.

 
At 3:40 pm, October 06, 2006, Anonymous audrey said...

dude, that was a royal 'you're' - i found some moldy tomato paste last night that had its own dictatorship in the fridge.
audreyx

 
At 4:48 pm, October 06, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

He he he :)

 
At 8:40 pm, October 06, 2006, Blogger Steph said...

I'd put that shit in a condom and leave it under a friends bed.

Haaaaaaaaaa!

 
At 8:56 pm, October 06, 2006, Blogger DelightfulJen said...

I'm actually kind of impressed by all these old food experiences you've had.

My best story is when I was very poor and living in a share house, we found a lettuce (or that's what we think it began as) in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. It had turned to lettuce water and had started to freeze.

We also had a punnet of strawberries fairly recently which melted into strawberry water, very interesting.

I love seeing what colors stuff turns when it's old, maybe I should be a mouldologist...

 
At 8:21 pm, June 21, 2007, Blogger River said...

delightfuljen, you'd love my daughter's fridge; chockablock with "science experiments" that used to be lettuce, cheese, hotdogs etc. Not to mention the dinner plates under the bed and couch....

 

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