I suppose I should be used to it by now: the apparently inevitable ant invasion of my kitchen and bathrooms come spring and come fall. One day, my counters are sparkling clean and bug free -- okay, bug free, at least -- and the next, they're alive with pesky little creepy crawlers. After my initial revulsion, the killer instinct kicks in, and I go about squashing the little boogers and flushing them down the sink. When that fails to prompt retreat, I bust out the Raid. I've yet to move onto actual baits, but I'm not ruling it out. I also keep making a mental note to call "The Bug Guy," but I'm lazy. And forgetful. And trying to save my pennies.
This year, they pulled a new trick out of their tiny little hats: they invaded my spice/noodle/baking goods/pet treats cabinet. I go to grab some pepper, and suddenly, "Them!" is there! Making Themselves right at home, in the dog's chewy chicken treats, and tracking across the lovely contact paper my Mom so graciously installed for me 3 years ago. Gack!!
For a couple of days, I stayed the conservative course -- smashing them as I saw them, pitching the dog treats and any other obvious "come hither" sorts of foods. Finally, though, I realized I was losing the battle, and more drastic measures were needed. Time to clear out the cabinet, and let my Raid flag fly.
And since I was clearing it out, anyway, it only seemed appropriate to check expiration dates on the odd assortment of items it had accumulated. It was then that I discovered, much to my surprise, that spices have expiration dates. Spices?! Seriously?! I was so shocked by this discovery that I did what any normal person would do -- I announced it as my Facebook status. (Some revelations are simply too amazing to keep to one's self.)
What was even more unsettling was the realization that some of the spices I'd been housing in there had apparently expired several years ago. And here I was, assuming my lemon pepper, chili powder and garlic salt were all alive and kicking. The thing is...none of them tasted old, or smelled funny. Which leaves me wondering: At what point does a spice truly qualify as "old"? And when does it make you smell like a man, man?