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Canned Chicken

Canned Chicken
By Joe Phillips Dear Me
Canned Chicken
By Joe Phillips Dear Me

Under the stars.

I don't know where I got the tome, “Everything is better in your memory.”

After an Internet search, I decided that it must be something I made up, but it sounds about right so I'll keep using it.

Some things are better in your memory. There were things I swore I'd never do again but did, roller skating.

My radio station broadcast from a local skating rink in Vidalia. I just had to put on skates.

It didn't go well and I needed help getting off the floor while people passed skating backwards.

Years passed: My next visit to a roller rink came when my cousins were small, as were my kids. I was able to stay upright when I stayed next to the wall. I'd forgotten how much it could hurt.

I enjoyed camping as a kid and did some airplane camping with a tarp over a wing and a small tent under the tarp. Sleeping was comfortable enough with a couple of foam pads.

It was more fun than Army camping. The huge plastic tub still contained things from my last camping episode, including canned food that looked perfectly fine, so I put it in the pantry. Last week I craved chicken salad. I pulled out a can of chicken and set to work.

I cook like I don't know any better and don't. I added things as I thought of them, such as sugar (of course), nutmeg, sweet relish, cranberries, celery, boiled egg, dill seeds, canned chicken, mayo, lemon juice, salt, chopped apple and some potato flakes to soak up the extra juice.

I took a taste. Just fine, and it turned out better than expected. I was proud of it until I looked at the can and saw the “use by” date, June 2001. The can of chicken was twenty-one years “out of date.”

It was still good. We don't pay any attention to the dates on food containers anyway because they don't mean anything.

A few years ago we had house guests who threw out some food they found in the house based upon the dates on the labels. They didn't bother to replace it, apologize, nor even mention it.

According to The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture, dates on food labels have nothing to do with food safety but a period of time when it will be of the best quality. Also, it helps the food store determine how long to display the product for sale. That's a marketing function.

Except for infant formula, dates are not an indicator of the product's safety and are not required by Federal Law.

The USDA estimates that 80 million tons, or 30 percent of the food supply, is wasted because consumers are confused by the dates displayed on the label.

I know there are people who assume food is “baaaad” after some date on the label, but experts say it just ain't so.

Drop me an e-mail and I'll send you the USDA link so you can read it yourself.

Dig in.

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