Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Ants May Have Saved Me


Never do I look forward to an ant attack in the kitchen, but this summer I found an upside: no death by botulism. 

By the time I noticed the first ant on the counter, the invasion was well underway.  The dishwasher seemed to be their new home, but soon enough I realized they had discovered my pantry—actually a tall, 5-shelved closet filled with boxes of dry pasta, sugar, lentils, spices and all kinds of bottled and canned goods.  “Thank goodness for cans,” I thought.  Ants may be persistent, but they can’t eat metal.

To impede the ants, I decided to clean out the pantry.  That’s when I discovered some very old cans of food.  They were years past their “use by” date.

How did that happen? 

I realized it was because we were eating healthier.  Now I made Russian Vegetable Soup with fresh beets, not canned beets.  We preferred fresh green beans over the pre-cooked version.  The large can of clams was just too large, so I kept saving it for the right occasion, which never came.  As for the can of sweetened condensed milk—I have no idea why I bought it 10 years ago. 

I checked the USDA site for information about botulism poisoning from old cans and discovered that my fears were mostly unfounded.  I probably could have eaten their contents without adverse effects because they weren’t bulging or leaking.  But I didn’t want to eat them.  I would rather use my pantry space for food I actually look forward to eating. 

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