I woke up at 5:20 a.m. to deal with a dog-related issue and, by the time I was done, it was almost six.  Rather than head back to bed, I elected to head downstairs and tackle that long overdue pantry cleaning.  I was amazed at some of the interest/weird/downright mysterious items I discovered including two packages of four year past their due date TimTams, an economy size tin of duck confit, a jar of nutella so old it had started to sport brown (albeit delicious-looking) moss, and the following items…


This is one of those items that only sees significant sales during a looming apocalypse when the panicked masses descend on their local supermarkets desperate for anything.  Yes, even hearts of palm.
I had no idea dried pasta had an expiration date. In this case = early 1999.  I was reluctant to throw it out given it had practically achieved family heirloom status.
File this one under “awesome”: a jar of chestnut puree. Perfect for topping a bowl of ice cream, or a bowl of chestnut puree.
It’s like some mystery goodie bags they give out at Chinese birthday parties. Can’t read the label but my guess is it aint chocolate.
Another mystery something from Asian supermarket. I’m going to say wasabi-covered marbles, but it could actually be green tea.
Mix one part Jagermeister, one part rum, and one part squid juice and you’ve got yourself a Rusty Sailor. And, probably, vomit on your carpet.
The label ways “sweet, fruity and festive” but it was none of the aforementioned.  In fact, it was nowhere near as good as it smelled.  Still, far tastier than the hearts of palm.

Back in the office tomorrow to watch a couple of mixes, a visit to the neurologist (for Jelly, not me) on Tuesday, dentist on Wednesday, and then wrapping up the week with some Christmas shopping – unless I run out of time in which case I’ll be doing my holiday shopping in Tokyo.  Wonder if mom would like a takoyaki maker?

63 thoughts on “November 28, 2010: What’s in YOUR pantry?

  1. Heya, perhaps the green marbles are preserved green olives?
    Fingers and toes crossed for Ms. Jelly.
    You are a good man, sir, to look after the little ones.

  2. Okay everyone – a new competition!

    Go to your pantry, find the most out of date item.
    Send it to Joe.

    Whoever has the longest out of date item wins all the items!

  3. You do know that body shop is not a food maker but a beauty product maker right ?

  4. I’ll have the body butter….LOL…love Body Shop….um you haven’t used it for anything have ya?

    Hearts of palm? Chestnut puree? Man you have a weird pantry….I just toook a look in mine and found umpteen boxes of cocoa, trail mix and a packet mix of Lime and Coconut Syrup Cake – Expiry 03 Dec 04….6 years old….how bad could it be????

    Cheers, Chev

  5. I’ll make it easy for you…you can get my present in Tokyo…you don’t even have to gift wrap it 😀

    Cheers, Chev

  6. How did I miss the TimTams….seriously dude…I can’t keep ’em for a week….how do you keep 2 packets for 4 years????

    Cheers, Chev

  7. What’s in my pantry?

    A small bag of Planters Cashews!! BINGO!! I love those and didn’t realize I had any left. I’ll take it to work tomorrow for a snack. Thanks Joe!

    A holiday container of Cranberry White Chocolate milk mix I got one year at Christmas. Since I don’t really like cranberries or white chocolate (it’s not real chocolate!) I’ll put this back on the shelf.

    Four boxes of Jiffy Pizza Crust Mix. Four boxes? Must have gotten it during a “I’ll just make my own pizza” phase. Guess I better make some pizza!

    Glad you mentioned that pasta had an expiration date. I did not know and believe it or not, I was fixing to google “how long will pasta last?”. I have 4 boxes of opened, half used boxes of Linguine and Fettuccine and sure enough, there is an expiration date. I have 2 half used boxes of Lasagne and one new one I just got.

    Back in the corner of a shelf sits two huge cans of Sweet Potatoes. Every Thanksgiving I see them sitting back there and every Thanksgiving I decide to buy fresh cans because guests will be eating my sweet potato casserole. Don’t want to poison anyone. So they just sit back there like a lab experiment. I guess I’m waiting for them to explode.

    Maybe I’ll throw some of this stuff out. Naaaww.

    Thinking of Miss Jelly.

  8. I kinda really like hearts of palm. Don’t remember where I first ate it – probably on an appetizer dish at a party, but it’s really good.

    I once cleaned out my parent’s pantry for them and found a 15 year old can of tomato sauce. It had hardened and was rattling in the can! We had a great laugh that day….

  9. Heh…I think I have hearts of palm…unless I tossed ’em last time around. I went crazy a couple years back when first discovering an Asian market outside of Atlantic City…but then I developed this fear of eating anything made in China, as well as anything made with aspartame – a staple, it seems, in many Asian sweetened foods, like seaweed salad, pickled ginger, and several other things I really wanted to try!! 😡

    I do have a can of red bean paste, and a tin of that Japanese jellied yam stuff…unless I threw that out during my last cleaning, too. I freak out if I have something one day past its due date…so, Joe…you’re safe. I am NEVER coming to your house and eating anything from your Pantry of Natural History!

    Speaking of which…

    Oh, SPARROW!! I finished Cabinet of Curiosities and WOW! LOVED Pendergast’s family secrets! Drop me a note when you get a chance, so we can discuss. I am really liking Pendergast – very much up my alley. 🙂

    I also finished up Moorcock’s Doctor Who story (yesterday) – can’t remember if I mentioned it here, or not. Really enjoyed the tale, but I can see where it’s definitely more a Moorcock story than a Doctor story – and that’s why I liked it so much. It was a crazy story and entertaining read, a world right out of the End of Time.


  10. ROFLMAO, thank you Joe for the image of you and the body butter. … I didn’t need to know about that item, but I do wonder why it’s in the PANTRY? No, don’t tell me.

    For the rest, roflmao. Thank you. Now my daughter will see that I am not the ONLY one who has outdated items.

  11. Chestnut pure is really yummy with whipped cream!

    And a few questions:
    1) Is there any logic behind which SGU character’s hair is growing (Rush, Young, many of the scientists, Riley earlier) and whose hair is still being cut short (Greer, Scott)? Will some of them look like cavemen by Season 5 (assuming we get a S5)? LOL Maybe the spreading of lice on the ship could lead to Operation Haircut…

    2) Are we going to get some more of those contemporary songs in later episodes?

  12. Hey Joe,

    So I’ve been playing catch-up with your blog again (things have been crazy with school) and I wanted to say I’m sorry to hear that Jelly isn’t doing well… I hope the neurologist can help!

    The body butter thing literally made me laugh out loud, by the way..

    I was wondering, have you read “Locke & Key”?
    I just bought and read volume 1 and I’m planning on picking up volumes 2 and 3 as soon as possible. Quite a fascinating story, and some very cool artwork.

    Best wishes to Jelly this week!

  13. Oh, man, Tim Tams! I finally had a chance to try these earlier this year and LOVED them. How could you let them go to waste? sigh.

  14. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when I read this: “a jar of nutella so old it had started to sport brown (albeit delicious-looking) moss”. Seriously, you should be writing comedy. Any chance that you’re comic book project will have a comedic edge to it?

    I was going through my cupboards too over the holiday weekend, clearing out food that was near expiration to give to food banks. Filled up a couple of bags. Then I found an “Emergency Chocolate” bar that I had stashed with my quake food. Being the chocolate junky I am, I had to take a nibble just to prove it was still edible. It wasn’t. In fact, I don’t think it ever was. From now on, it’s Baby Ruth’s. Those things last forever.

    Looking forward to SGU Tuesday. And hoping for good news for Jelly.

  15. Hey Joe,

    My pantry is hopeless. It is full. Not one ounce of room left. I tried to clean it out…but everything is good…and I “might” need it or want it. I guess I will have to eat it to make room for more yummy choices. AND no I did not buy it all…some are donations from family members who seem to be under the impression I don’t cook enough. ha

    Your picture show-n-tell is ever so more interesting that what lies quietly in my cupboards…but then again what you cook seems to be ever so more interesting.

    I have a recipe that I am going to send you. Nope..not for the contest…not nearly up to that level. But I will say that whenever it leaves the house I am hounded for the recipe. Yes…it is mine…I just don’t measure all that many things. It is usually some of this…some of that. I will have to make it this time and MEASURE.

    Best to you Joe,
    Cheryl 🙂

  16. You could also use that chestnut puree to make ravioli or agnolotti. Just add some marscapone and/or butter, i guess. I have a can of jackfruit in my pantry. A guy I know suggested blending that with some ice cream.

  17. You were kidding about eating the body butter, right?

    I think I can beat everyone on the “past its due date” challenge with this:

    After my dad died, my brother and some of his friends were cleaning out the house and on a shelf in the basement, tucked way in the back, was a canned chicken (the kind that were for camping trips) that had an expiry date in the 70s. So . . . about 30 years past its best before date has to take top prize.

    I think the worst I have is maybe two or three years past their prime.

  18. Your blog entry reminds me of my late father. He used to tell my brother and I that when he died we would have to clean out his clutter.

    After he died (2004) it took us months of to get through all his ‘stuff’. He had batteries in a drawer that were either dud or leaking, parts of his train driver uniform that had never been worn, paperwork from the war etc etc

    Laughing about all his clutter really made the situation much easier to deal with. But I think that my brother has some of the ‘stuff’ stashed away in his attic – there is always some of the useless stuff that you can’t part with. 😉

  19. I love pantry cleaning. I just put the overdue stuff right back. Lets see, I’ve got a Christmas pudding that was due in 1995, a packet of random lollies due in 1996, bar of chocolate expired 1998, lasagne pastry due last year… hmm, neopolitan icecream due 4 years ago, 5 year old frozen bread… I think that’s about it. Unless you count the rock sugar from year 1999. Gotta eat them all some time soon.

    Your first asian packet of stuff, looks like some sort of Japanese tea, but you probably already know that. The second does look like some sort of odd green tea. I know a guy who like to put those sour preserved plums in his tea – just loves it. Yech. He may as well add lime juice to make himself lime and plum tea, like they have in some places.

    That body butter… might be nicer if you mixed it with some sweetened cream and used it for cake topping. Who knows.

    Early morning random urges are interesting aren’t they? I’ve made myself full meals at 4am in the morning just so I didn’t have to share it with anyone else in the house and so I could cook whatever I wanted to eat.

    Btw, the fish/squid sauce is good for veggie-related stir fries. Some people love it and use it like light soya-sauce. I don’t like it in anything – especially not since a year 12 muck up day some time ago in ancient history where someone sprayed the year 11 locker bay with enough fish sauce to rust the locks so that they couldn’t be opened, painted real blood on random doors and decorated the place with a variety of offal. Pigs and chickens were the main offal representatives. The smell (it was a warm summer’s day) was horrendous.

  20. Also, all the best for Jelly. Give her a kiss for me.

    Someone gave my mother a ravioli maker one year – this is in 1990 or something like that. She still doesn’t know what to do with it. Hopefully you teach your mother how to use the takoyaki maker if you do give it to her. If it were my mother, I can imagine her reaction. “What’s this? Another ornament? You buy weird sculptures. Can’t you find anything nicer?”

  21. Yeah, exactly why I’m afraid to clean out my pantry…but I should. Maybe one shelf at a time will inspire me to bust clutter in other areas.

    Thanks for the dedication to AB. Waiting to hear what happens tomorrow /Monday.

  22. I’ll be keeping all my positive energy vibes to Jelly tomorrow for her neurology visit. Hope they can give her some relief.

    Expired TimTams should be against the law and according to Chevron7 I’ve only had the imitation kind, not the originals.

    I do have a funny story about expiration dates. We were staying with my in-laws. One morning while they were at church, I came across something disgustingly old in their refrigerator that I was about to put on my food. So I started looking at other things, and other things and I nearly barfed from thinking about the food poisoning I was going to get. So I took two huge leaf-size garbage bags and proceeded to through everything expired out. I was proud of what I did and announced that I had cleaned out their refrigerator while they were out. They looked horrified. Then I was mortally embarrassed. Apparently I had also thrown out current stuff they planned to serve for lunch, and I offered to immediately go out and replace all the stuff I had thrown away. I can only imagine the stories that went around the family about that event.

  23. 1999? That’s bad. Really bad. I had to clean out my pantry because of pantry moths. Ick. It was gross and disgusting. And most of that food wasn’t from 1999. So my pantry’s clean! Will it stay that way? No.

  24. Body butter in the pantry? That’s…visual. Dreams should be interesting.

  25. Forget the Pantry, try the Bottom of the FREEZER CHEST! Or, the BACK of the Fridge – I think we may have Leftovers from the FRANKLYN EXPEDITION in there….

  26. BTW: I noticed that “Vince Kwan” was called either Dr. Chan or Dr. Chen by Rush (can’t quite tell with his accent). Any reason for the name change? Thanks.

  27. I was rewatching SGA’s “First Contact” and “The Lost Tribe” earlier, and was wondering what you think was going on in the minds of Dr. Jackson and Mr. Woolsey concerning each other after the awkward events from SG1’s “The Shroud” two years before?

  28. G’day Joe

    Not much in my pantry at the moment. The painters were in a few weeks ago and they wanted to do the pantry. So ALL of the stuff had to come out. Not too much out of date. Just old bottles of sauce and the like. Never would find out-of-date Tim Tams here, the kids sniff ’em out. Anyway the need to be put in the fridge before eating cause it is SOOOOO HOT here or they melt, the Tim Tams not the kids. They sniff out Nutella as well.

    All my love to Jelly, sending out good vibes.

  29. Mailbag Q: Do you think the stones have a limit to their range, maybe the people using the stones will eventually have super slow reactions and then eventually the stones wont work?

  30. Interesting panty items! I’ve seen worse though. I helped clean out my “Hoarding” Aunt’s kitchen once. She saved everything! She reused foil, plastic baggies and kept leftovers from 20 plus years in her freezer. I was very grateful that I wasn’t required to clean out her several deep freezers. Major yucky….

    Good luck with Jelly!!!!!!

  31. Given that Nutella is already brown, how could you tell the brown mossy stuff was there?

  32. I have been cleaning out dad’s house since he died this summer. He was unable to get down into the basement these last few years, so the large pantry which used to be the coal cellar has been brooding alone in the dark. Dad was a Mormon, which meant he had a two year food supply on hand. Mystery jars of home-canned fruits, jams and veggies, some had burst. Leaking cans of tomato juice which glued other items to the shelves. A ham that rattled. And yes, odd foods from the Oriental Market. 24 five gallon buckets of hard wheat. Orangina which was no longer orange. Yes, foods from the 70s. They didn’t have expiration dates then (cough cough only packing dates), but I recognized the packaging from my high school days.

    I found tax returns from the 70s and 80s, one from 1967. I found cancelled checks from 1958. Mom’s social security card issue information in an envelope from 1946, the part you throw away.

    I too have an expired can of chestnut puree. And old squid jerky. I think my teas and hot cider mix are expired, they usually are. I have a very old can of Inari-sushi wrappers. I think it has been on the shelf around ten years or so.

  33. In true survivalist fashion, most of my foods are in tubs stacked in the part of the house I think most likely to survive a natural disaster. I also have about 70 pounds of rice still on hand. Most of which was bought when it looked like there would be a rice shortage. Which there was, but not a bad one. And wouldn’t you know, I’ve cut back on the amount of rice I eat. Guess it’s time to change the diet again.
    One thing I’ve discovered is no matter how carefully you clean out pantries, cabinets, bins, and tubs, you will always miss expiration dates. Perhaps we could start a museum of expired goods. And sell the excess stock off in the gift store…
    Of course you should buy your mum something in Tokyo. Doubles the pleasure of the gift as she tries to figure out what the bleep it is, and/or how to use it.
    Thanks for the laugh of the day, and good luck getting Ivon to the airport in time for the trip.

  34. 1999! wow, that’s impressive!

    No intention on my part of chucking this stiff out but I’ve got a tin of specialty hot chocolate that’s about 5 years old and no longer usable. It’s like a solid mass that sort of clunks around in the can. Every once in a while I’ll hammer out a few nuggets of the stuff, grind it up and add it to a buttercream. It turns out awesome. Whether that’s the original taste or some sort of hallucinogenic qualities the stuff has gained over the years, I don’t know, but I have yet to throw it out.

    Some rice noodles that are going on a year old. 2 tins of pumpkin puree and some pineapple tidbits. Man, my pantry is dull!

  35. I want to ask you a question about SGU thats been on my mind for a long while but I keep forgetting what it was. It was kinda important. Oh I remember,

    Is BAG still alive? And if not will he ever return?

  36. My contender for oldest strange item in the pantry: Boiled Green Peanuts. No expiration date, but they were given to my ex and me by my late father-in-law after one of his trips to Bogue Chitto, Louisiana. I’m guessing they are at least 15 years old. And from the corrosion on the numbers stamped on the top of the can, I think it’s safe to say they are no longer edible. http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm98/Sparrow_hawk_wdc/What%20lurks%20in%20the%20Pantry%20%20Nov%202010/IMG_2262.jpg

    @Joe: A couple of thoughts:

    1. There is nothing like an impending visit from Mom to bring on a cleaning frenzy.

    2. Fuzzy stuff on food is usually mold, not moss; however with some of the weird stuff you have in your pantry, there might be moss on some of it.

    @das: I finished the book yesterday. I’ll email you offline for discussion. “Family secrets” indeed. Gotta wonder what dear old Aunt Cordelia was up to.

  37. Since we are dishing about our pantry…. I recently looked in the cuboard above my firdge (which had been negleted for YEARS!!) and found expried jar of skippy peanut butter and a very old jar of coffee mate. The peanut butter expired in 1995 which means we moved with it because we moved to our new place in Oct 1996!! Couldn’t find an expiry date on the coffee mate but sure looked old. sent you a pic 🙂

  38. Hi joe, these are some questions from readers of our fans website (sg-portal.eu):

    1)When the others discovered the bridge, why they didn’t go back to Seed ship (they can control navigation now), killed aliens a took the energy to dial the Earth. There must be a connection between Destiny and that ship. How would they contact each other in other way?

    2)Is it possible that over time will die some of the leading characters?

    3)Last time you said that we will possibly see Ancients. Can we expext them in this season or do we have to wait?

    4)Will we eventually find out how Destiny had lost her third shuttle, which wasn’t present in the show?

    5)I have a question. If they are still thinking how save people aboard Destiny. They can built a ship with Asgard intergalactic hyperdrive powered by 4 neutrino-ion generators. With the help of these generators they can fly all over the galaxy in a couple of hours, so it would be one month journey, wouldn’t it?

    6)Could there be any solution if Syfy cancels third season? Such as cooperation with other company, so ratings could be affected by European audience?

  39. Okie dokie, I poked around a bit in my pantry, and came up with this (none expired, sorry):


    It’s a bit blurry, so from left to right there’s sweet tomato butter (tastes like apple butter, only better!), pickled asparagus, cactus, mole sauce, lotus rootlets (what I thought was hearts of palm in my previous post), spicy chipotle olives…and, yeah…spotted dick. I bet you don’t have that one, Joey! 😉



  40. I love Hearts of Palm ever since discovering them at a Brazilian restaurant; so tasty with avocado slices and greens, thin sliced red onion, yum.

    My pantry is fairly dull and healthy, but I discovered Edy’s Pomegranate fruit pops and I’m loving them; antioxidants and frosty fruit equals happy tummies. So my pantry is dull but my freezer is happening.

  41. Hey Joe,

    Sad news… Leslie Nielsen passed away. 🙁 Loved his movies! (Turns out he was Canadian, too. I never knew that.)

  42. I have some weird stuff in my pantry, but what is most likely to expire is tea. I like the *idea* of tea, the ritual, the warmth on a winter day, my Dad was a tea drinker (which for a prairie farmer was unusual). But no matter how many boxes of tea I buy I don’t end up drinking it. Mostly because….

    Although I am fascinated by the flavours, I currently have English Toffee, Cranberry Apple Zinger, 2 green tea assortments, Moroccan Pomegranate Red, Mango Passionfruit and Crème Caramel. I will see the *new* flavour in the store, and will be so excited. I’ll bring it home with such high hopes, I will prepare the tea and no matter what the flavour is, I will take a sip and it tastes like……. Tea…. It always tastes like tea…. I fall for it EVERY. Single. Time *snicker*

    I know that your response is “well duh!! what did you expect it to taste like?” I expected it to TASTE like Toffee… or Cranberry Apple… or Pomegranate and it doesn’t. So there the little boxes of tea sit, all neatly lined up in a decorative basket…. on the top shelf… forgotten… until the next time I go down the tea aisle. And see ohhh look there…. A *new* flavour of tea surely this one will taste like…..

    Hope springs eternal eh? (or there’s a sucker born every minute).


  43. @ Kymm

    I’m also a sucker for tea flavours and yeah, I get taken every time. Fortunately, teabags make for great bath additions, and also make for great rice flavours (just chuck a bag in with your water :D)

  44. What’s in my pantry? I don’t even like opening the door to that thing let alone go digging around in the back where any normal human should fear to tread.

    I did clean out my fridge recently though. Nothing there that a gun, a machete, a gas mask and an industrial strength bleach couldn’t fix. Now, it sparkles!

  45. Hey Joe, wow not been here in a whiile haha. anyways, i was reading Hamlet in class today and we came across his famous monologues (to be or not to be). I was wondering if several episodes of SGA were intentionally given titles from this speech ? (ex: “This Mortal Coil” and “Be All My Sins Remember’d”)

  46. A few months ago I came across a tin of tomato soup, expiration date May 2002. I put it back then washed my hands.

    With very hot water.


    Wishing Jelly all the best.

  47. @ xxxevilgrinxxx – that’s a great idea to use up the teabags in the bath tub, I’ll sometimes use Lush Bath Bombs, which can be a pain. You spend time relaxing in the bath and then you have to spend an hour cleaning out the tub of all the oils, glitter and flower *parts* Which kinda defeats the purpose… I’ll have to give the teabag idea a try.


  48. When I first read this I thought it said…

    “whats in your pants” 😛

    Thanks so much… keep the entries coming.. im still reading even if im not commenting! 🙂

    Major D. Davis

  49. Joe’s late posting for 29th…hope all is well.

    I busted a little fridge clutter…two open & expired cartons of rice “milk” from my 2005 food-sensitivity detox. *pats self on back* Baby steps…

  50. Tim Tams? Sacrilegious!! I love the double coated ones and the dark chocolate ones.. do you have them??

    That doesn’t look like chestnut puree to me… more like spaghetti ?

    Hugs to Jelly xx

  51. Coucou Joseph, comment allez vous today? …tiens pas de post aujourd’hui?

    Moi j’ai super mal à la nuque ce matin, impossible bouger la tête =S j’espere que ce n’est pas grave.

    J’attend avec impatience d’avoir de vos nouvelles.
    Gros bisou!

  52. At my parents place I once stumbled upon a jar of mussels. It was suppused to be some kind of salad I think… and it’s due-Date was well beyond 10 years old. I was like “Do you really want to eat that ever??” Cause I hadn’t seen anything like that anyway in our house. Well my father must have misunderstood me because next shopping tour he brought along another two of those jars. Not overdue of course, but still who want to eat that?? maybe it’s something for your weird food purchase aof the week 😛
    BTW the overdue jar was professionelly decomposed of 😉

  53. Hi Mr M!

    Been lurking for a while until the Mid Season Finale airs here.
    As you no doubt know, my article in the Irish Times, which you kindly linked, was just a symptom of a deeper problem, as sadly our little country is making headlines around the world – for all the wrong reasons.

    Interestingly I came across this animated link which (very succinctly) describes the situation:


    In any case, SGU keeps me sane!!

    Best to you, all at The Bridge, and all here.


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