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Showing posts from April, 2014

The Dating Game 過期照食

I have a perverse household routine. Every few weeks, I will go through my kitchen cabinet looking for expired food. Canned tuna, tea bags and rice — items for which I had paid good money — will all go into the trash. Once I am done with that, I will move on to the refrigerator to weed out the proverbial bad apples: a half-dozen eggs, a bottle of chili sauce that I had used once or twice, a wedge of cheese still in its original sealed wrap. The purge is indiscriminate and my guilt palpable. I will start talking to the garbage can: “Sorry,” “forgive me,” “I’m a terrible person.” But there is nothing I can do: I am just doing what the white labels say.

I know I am not alone. Each day we throw out food that we believe is past its prime, all because of that tiny, hard-to-read six-digit death sentence called the expiration date. But date labels are a modern mystery. For starters, the wording is confusing and inconsistent — no one knows whether “sell by,” “use by” and “best before” all mea…