I know, technically "foodum" isn't a Latin word. But when I looked up the Latin word for food, it was "victus," and if I said "Carpe victum," it would sound like I was saying "Seize the victim," which sounds vaguely aggressive and threatening. So, Carpe foodum it is.
I have been seizing the food. Indeed, as my regular readers know, last week we cleaned out our pantry and seized lots of expired food to throw away. Some people might wonder, "Seth, why do you keep food long past when it would be good? Where did you learn these awful habits?"
So, this weekend I went home to visit my parents. My mother's collection of old food is truly something to behold. On previous trips, we've found gray meat in the freezer and desiccated soy sauce packets with only powder remaining. We once found a frozen cake from my brother's Barmitzvah so many years past that we decided to throw a Barmitzvah for the cake. This time around, highlights included some decade-old cereal, and ... suffice to say, my initial plan for this column was simply to make a list of old and expired items I had found in my mom's pantry, kitchen and freezer.
But that would only address the effect, and not the cause. The cause is this: The theory passed down from my mother was that special things were to be saved.
Growing up, I remember staring wide-eyed at what seemed like an overwhelming tower of desserts over my head in the pantry (granted, I was shorter then, so more
Well, as you've probably guessed, a lot of those saved sweets got saved right past the point of oblivion, long past expiration dates, and in some cases even turned into popular nightspots for some members of the insectoid kingdom.
And it wasn't just food. Growing up, we had a special room in the house (ironically called the "living room") that none of us were allowed to go into. You see, it was special, so it had to be saved. We never used the room, perhaps because the white carpet would be too easily stained.
My parents' poodle has cancer.
It's a small fluffy dog, pushing 14 years old, and its health has been rapidly deteriorating. It has lost bladder control to some degree, and so there is an incontinent poodle wandering around the house and occasionally urinating in an inconvenient location.
The subject came up last night, as we were all sitting in the living room, because my foot brushed against something on the carpet which was decidedly non-dry-carpet-like, and the information was relayed to me that the dog may have been piddling in various places around the house. I expressed my sympathy, and then we continued sitting casually in the once-sacred living room, now relaxed on the couches, chatting amiably.
"Help yourself to anything you'd like," I was told this weekend regarding the pantry. This largesse was a definite change from my childhood, and while I did end up having to throw away most of the box of cookies that had expired in mid-2011, the thought was appreciated.
The thing is, you never know when a metaphorical incontinent poodle is going to urinate on the carpet of your life.
That's why my advice would be to use your living room because in the end, the carpet never stays clean. In other words:
Seth Brown is a humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and an enlightened hedonist. His work appears weekly in the Transcript, and weakly on RisingPun.com