Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Why I'm wary of potluck food

Myself and a colleague spent 75 minutes cleaning out our two staff-room refrigerators. This job takes two people, I have found, not just because the refrigerators get as manky as a family of run over squirrels on a dry summer day, but because one has to, in the process of cleaning, throw out a lot of other people's food.

Yes, there were two all staff email warnings. There were also the large signs up, with specific dates, on both refrigerators, for weeks. But despite all that, when one finds four containers of sealed, fancy yogurt, and they have no initials on them, it can be a wrench to toss them in the garbage. At that point one needs a partner to remind one that "They were warned." Alternatively one can look and see that the yogurts expired two years ago, but that only works for some things.

Near the end of our clean up one of our colleagues came into the break room. We were quite eager to see her because we had some questions about a bag with liquid in it that had her initials on it. It was okay to throw that away, she said. Then she listed off the only things she had in the refrigerator that she cared about. I wasn't paying much attention at this point, but I'm pretty sure she mentioned "Meatballs for tomorrow's potluck".


I listened a little more carefully when she spoke about her meatballs for tomorrow's potluck again a little later. I definitely threw away two bags of meatballs, in sealed packages, and then in a grocery bag, about an hour ago. In retrospect they might have been slightly frozen and were thawing out in the refrigerator. I think those might be the meatballs she was talking about. They had no initials, which was technically enough to do them in. But, as usual, I discussed them at the time with my cleaning partner: "Do they have an expiration date?" She asked.

"11-9-17 on one." I replied. "I can't find one on the other. It might be from before they put expiration dates on food."

Ha ha ha. We threw it out.

And in so doing saved the potluck, and maybe some of my co-worker's lives.

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