Monday, September 26, 2011

The truth about Best Before dates

I'm still sated,  happy with the best feed 'o ribs I've had in a long while, and I'll let you in on a secret.

I just shared it with the guests, a couple of organic farmers busy with their hemp crop these days. They agreed the ribs were superb, and were taken aback to hear this revelation.

A few hours before the feed, the live-in cook here at Falling Downs, having misplaced her bifocals, had asked me to read the Best Before dates off the rib packaging. Sept. 27 I lied. In truth, the BB was sometime last week. I lied because I knew the consequences of telling the truth; the hounds would be gorging on forty bucks worth of perfectly fine baby back ribs all night, and us farmers would be scarfing back the peanut butter sandwiches.

Which brings me to the truth about stale dating. "Best before" means that the item in question is at its very best and most pristine before the date indicated. That doesn't mean it isn't still pretty darn ok the day after. And still pretty good four or five days hence. And edible still a few days after that. You need to let things go a good month past the BB before you even think about the hounds. Those Best Before dates are a scam designed to take advantage of people who lack common sense, which I suppose explains their ubiquity.

I remember once when my daughter was just around the age when she realized she was quite a bit smarter than I was, she took it on herself to clear out the stale-dated stuff in my medicine cabinet. She found all kinds of goodies in there that were two, three, four or more years past their Best Before. The record belonged to a store brand bottle of ACC's that were nine years past due. I'd just taken a couple a few days before and they worked fine, but that's never good enough for people who put their faith in the BB date.

We run a pretty traditional ship here at Falling Downs. After the rib-fest the gals get about the tidying while the menfolk belch and fart and scratch their balls. My farmer friends were greatly impressed to finally learn the truth about stale dates, and I'm sure you are too.

Join us for a cigar if you like. Still have a few Cohibas in that box I bought back in '88. Don't talk to me about Best Before dates.


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