We go into the grocery store with the best of intentions, usually... I mean, assuming we're not violating the cardinal rule, "Never grocery shop while hungry." We try to plan out our meals to some degree, and think of all kinds of great things we can cook with various ingredients. But outside the grocery store, life is different. You get busy, you get exhausted, you don't feel like making the intricate meals that seemed worth the time in your head. Or you get depressed and instead of something fresh, you reach for the comfort of microwave pizza or nachos or what have you. While you're breaking all these self-imposed promises, the stuff you bought is growing mold colonies that look a lot like your standard Sim City layouts. Here's the foods that have been left to decay in our refrigerators most often.
5. Vegetables It's after the holidays. You're fat as hell. Your clothes are tight, and you feel like you're starting to have trouble catching your breath. It's time to lose weight. In accordance with your New Year's resolution (the same one you make every year), you spent the last grocery trip buying tons of healthy meal options, including way too many vegetables. So you take them all home and put them in your crisper drawer, and there approximately 80 percent of them will remain until they've sprouted vines and walked away. Oh, you'll probably eat a serving or two of salad, or at least put some of it on a sandwich. The first couple of nights, you'll snack on the carrots and celery - with low-fat dressing, even - and try to be good. But then you'll remember the reason you never eat this crap in the first place: It's wholly unsatisfying. By the time you've eaten enough vegetables to feel full, you've got gas problems that scare your family and pets. You have to worry about whatever pesticides they're soaked in, and if you buy organic veggies, then you have to worry about them rotting twice as fast. We don't know how vegetarians do it. Veggies will never, ever beat chips or meat or pasta, and most of us are only able to lie to ourselves that they do for so long.
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4. Bargain meat Okay, just hold on a second. We know that bargain meat is super-cheap and you're tempted to buy 12 pounds of it, but stop and think. The manager has put that meat on sale because it's mere hours, perhaps minutes away from going bad. Is the entire batch going to be your very next meal? If not, are you going to go home and cook it right away and save it for later? Maybe you will... but probably not. Most likely, you'll stick it in the fridge thinking "I'll just cook it up tomorrow, it's no big deal." Odds are that's the last time you see it until a few months later when your fridge starts smelling like roadkill and you slowly open the meat drawer to look upon the squirming, exploded horror that is a long-neglected pile of meat. But even if you do let it sleep just the one night, will you really be okay with it the next day? The lights in your house aren't as bright as the lights in the supermarket, and the stuff is looking pretty gray. If you're health-conscious at all, you'll err on the side of caution and feed it to the dog.
3. Milk Milk doesn't get much of a chance to go bad at our house, because we personally go through a lot of it. It's our favorite thing to drink with meals, the one childish habit we never really outgrew (that, and our love of Silly Putty). Nearly every other house we've set foot in, however, has always held a trap for us in the form of a carton of milk curdling on the top shelf of the refrigerator. Spending the night at friends' places, we learned pretty quickly to thoroughly check the appearance and scent of their milk before giving it a passing grade. People just don't use milk for much. People put it in their coffee and on their cereal, but that's pretty much it. Very few people drink it by the pint like we do, and it goes bad quickly.
2. Bread Unless you're buying unusually small loaves of bread or sharing a normal-size loaf among two or three other people, moldy bread is one of the easiest things to wind up with in the world. Unless you're eating two or three sandwiches a day, it's difficult to make it through an entire loaf without the last few slices getting stale, and honestly, that's way too many goddamn sandwiches. If you're eating that many you'll need to stock up on all kinds of lunch meat, and then a few of those will go bad. One idea we've used a couple of times is to make French toast with the bread that's almost gone bad; you can't really tell the difference after it's been slathered with egg, sugar and syrup. In fact, you'd be surprised how many foods that's true with, but we're told "French Quiche" wasn't the rousing success we thought it would be.
1. Strawberries No fruit goes bad faster than a strawberry. Sometimes we can hear them starting to rot on the way home from the store. We usually only get one or two servings out of a box before inevitably we forget they're in the fruit drawer. Even a day or two of absent-mindedness is long enough for them to start shriveling and tasting funny, and if you've forgotten them for more than a week, you may find yourself stumbling across a plastic box full of white fuzz which you can't for the life of you tell what it used to be. Since bananas have this problem too, we like to take our almost-overripe strawberries and bananas and blend them into a smoothie. Or who are we kidding: shakes. That's right, shakes, with Bluebell ice cream. Try that shit with a vegetable.