This is better done when Jan is not around. Because if she sees me doing this, she will rush over and start contesting every item I intend to toss in the trash. This inevitably leads to a heated battle of the wills and is of no positive benefit to anyone involved. And since she was still asleep upstairs, this was the perfect time to do it.
When everything was out, I was faced with a pile of assorted crap on the pantry floor that had fallen there over the past several months. Crumbs, toothpicks, cat food, pills, crackers ... and candy! I'm always tempted to save the candy because the individual pieces are wrapped, but my better judgement kicks in and I sweep them up with the rest of the mess and throw them away.
So after I vacuumed the floor and the shelves, and swept down whatever cob webs were present, I was left with a pile of food and whatnot on the counter. You're familiar with "whatnot" ... half-burnt candles, emergency radio, empty cans and half used packages of napkins, straws and plastic utensils.
I threw away most of this stuff, because it all goes on the top shelf and Jan's only 5' 2" and can't see up that high. So I'm pretty sure she won't notice stuff is gone and climb all over my ass.
The food is a pretty easy call on what to save and what to throw away. You just look at the expiration dates, or in this politically correct age, it's now printed on the package "Best by: whatever". Spices are another matter. The snoots on the Food Network tell you that any spice over 1 year old is no good, but that shit is expensive, so I save it and just use extra in recipes to make up for the lack of potency.
Anyway, I'm looking at the expiration dates and throwing stuff away, and I started wondering if this stuff is really bad, or it's just a ploy to get me to buy more of the same stuff. I hadn't had breakfast yet, so I decided to try an experiment. I'd open up some boxes and cans and see if this crap was really "off". So, I started opening expired packages of jello, Ricearoni, and potatoes Au gratin to see what they tasted like.
The Ricearoni was kind of crunchy and hurt my teeth, so I gave up on that after a partial hand full, but the potatoes weren't bad, particularly if you sprinkled them with the Au gratin powder mixed with the Ricearoni flavor packets. Sort of like potato chips. The jello was too tart on my tongue, kind of like those Pixie sticks you bought when you were a kid, but the banana flavor was best.
Next I opened some cans. The pork 'n beans still tasted okay, just cold. As were the peas and creamed corn. The tomato paste was still tomatoey, but strong, and I passed on the beets.
I tried the tin of smoked oysters, but I sprinkled in a few instant potato flakes to sop up the oil and added some wasabi to taste. Kind of gross looking, but it tasted okay.
By this time, I was getting kind of full, so I just pitched everything into the trash can and hauled it out to the main trash receptacle, so Jan wouldn't be wise to me when she came downstairs. I was successful and she didn't notice a thing.
It's been about five hours now since "breakfast", and I'm waiting for the first stomach cramp to hit.