What's That Growing in My Sour Cream?
IN OUR HOUSE, WE HAVE A BAD HABIT
We keep certain items in the refrigerator far too long. Now, I’m not referring to the ketchup, mustard, relish, and that jar of jelly tucked in the door. When were they purchased? Who knows? They always taste fine. Which makes me wonder, does a condiment ever go bad?
One thing that doesn’t hold up as well is dairy. You know when the milk has turned, by the flecks that appear in your coffee. Before plastic containers, I used to think those floating islands were pieces of wax from the carton. Of course, milk’s expiration date is front and center when you buy it. It’s not unusual to see people buried in the refrigerated section, butts sticking out of the dairy case, searching for the latest expiration date. But then most people use milk every day. The likelihood of its going bad is pretty slim. And if it does, coffee offers that early warning system before the milk is added to the cereal.
Sour cream, on the other hand, is a different dairy story. We don’t use it often, but when we do, there’s always a half-used container sitting in the refrigerator. And, since I’m the guy who plans most of our meals and hates to waste food, that darn sour cream calls out to me: “How can you use me up today?” I usually have no idea. Until I do.
And when you think about it, doesn’t sour cream sound as if it has already gone bad? Sure, it does. Which makes its extended stay in the refrigerator even more alarming. I can’t tell you—though I’m about to anyway—how often I’ve peeked in the container and seen something nasty. Something green and fuzzy. Like the art project your kid might bring home from school. Only, with an added aroma.
Perhaps sour cream is a metaphor for life! Delicious when it’s fresh, not so great when it’s old and expired. And it’s our job to think about how to use it all up in the most creative way. So, here’s to hoping that there’s nothing growing in your sour cream. That every day is a bright and happy one. And most important, that your expiration date affords you to do all the wonderful things you love with the people you love. Including eating blintzes, baked potatoes, and Mexican food. Which by the way, all go great with sour cream.