Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

I was in the kitchen the other day, examining some questionable spinach, when it occurred to me: much of the food we throw out is perfectly safe for consumption. Many of us pitch the sour cream when the clock chimes midnight the day of its expiration stamp, but I'm thinking more broadly. A lot of food is safe well past any reasonable level of edibleness. Take my spinach for instance. It was in a bag, and at the bottom was a mass of green mush and liquid. Would you pull out your Oneida spoon and dig in? Nonetheless, I'm sure I could dump it in a pan with a little oil for a stir-fry and never know the difference. Popeye ate mushy spinach, and look where it got him.

On the other hand, no one ever ate blue-green chicken, cooked or otherwise, and was happy with the result.

This epiphany led me to the following, very important, list of foods you can eat when they're rotten:
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Cheese (just cut off the fuzz)
  • Olives (Testing this now! 2 hours and counting!)
  • Bread
  • Potatoes (like a Chia pet, just trim the sprouts)
  • Rice
  • Flour (worms = protein)
  • Twinkies (these don't actually go bad)
  • Apples
  • McD's french fries
Surely you've found others...

(PS: I don't really know if you can eat this stuff. When faced with the omnivore's dilemma, I recommend, as always, taking the conservative position.)


  1. For the record, I disagree and make us throw away rotten produce on a regular basis!

  2. At first, I thought Krystle wrote this, and by the list I realised it was probably NOT Krystle.

    Potatoes are toxic when they are green -- especially if refrigerated or frozen raw (and especially if organic)!

    Rice is toxic after it becomes slippery, I've read.

    Or are you joking?


    I do agree with you that there is a lot of food waste and lots of things (bar the rottenness) can be stir-fried to a delicious meal.
    Alternatively, you can bury the food and make compost, like they do here.

    Beth Fisher

  3. From the NY Times:

    "It sounds like a joke, or perhaps just an urban legend that grew out of Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham.” But food scientists say this one is no myth. The reality is that green potatoes contain high levels of a toxin, solanine, which can cause nausea, headaches and neurological problems."

    Hence the disclaimer! Thanks Beth!

  4. You have a point, but since we don't really know, is it worth the risk? We've tried the questionable cheese thing, and paid for it the next day. Not worth it! Plus I can't stand the smell of rotting spinach or the texture of rotting apples, although some of them could be de-grossened a little by cooking like you suggest. I'm just not that creative...I bought that spinach for a salad darnit, not to cream!

  5. You are so funny! Definitely food for thought!

  6. Oops! I missed the disclaimer! Sorry, Jesse!