Undesirable Surprise

by Sherry Riter in Memory,Mom

cereal

This is going to make you sick.

No, really. This is a true story with a great lesson, but the squeamish will want to puke. That’s your warning.

Mom, if you don’t want to relive this story, I understand. Just click to a prettier story on another blog today. Maybe you want to look at damask here or the recipe for apple bread here instead.

Oh, so you’re brave and want to continue reading the story. Okay then, let’s get on with it.

Once upon a time…

Many years ago my family lived in Texas. Every Saturday, my ex-husband and I would drive about fifteen minutes down the highway to get to my mother’s house. He would mow the lawn and I would help Mom clean and gab. This was our Saturday routine and I loved spending time with her.

Mom is a fanatically clean housekeeper and I say that in the nicest way, I promise. She always said, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” and her home reflects clean on every surface. However, there is one task that Mom just doesn’t focus a whole lot time…food rotation.

When grocery shopping, it is wise to put the old food behind the new food. For instance, if you buy a can of green beans, put that can behind the green beans that are already sitting in the cabinet. That ensures that the oldest is eaten first and nothing ever goes past the expiration date.

Well, that didn’t happen at Mom’s house. I would often reach into the pantry to find a can that was about to burst like an atomic bomb. Eventually, I gave up trying to teach her the rotating concept and bought a black marker to write dates on the tops of the cans. That made it really easy to keep track of old and new food. It worked like a charm for her.

Dry food was a different story. Mom kept the flour in the freezer and everything else was usually eaten fast enough to not cause a need to worry. Things like spaghetti noodles and rice disappeared pretty fast!

On one of those lovely Saturdays together, with the chores completed inside and outside of her home, we were all sitting around talking. I can’t remember the topic of conversation, but it was late and Mom wanted a snack. She disappeared into the kitchen and I could hear the cereal being poured into a large bowl. Mom hates milk, so whenever she eats cereal she sprinkles a little Carnation Evaporated Milk on top to just make the cereal a little damp. I know, gross, but to each their own.

It is important to note that she was not wearing her bifocals.

Rice Krispies was the cereal of choice on this particular evening and Mom’s bowl was filled to the top when I walked into the kitchen. She was just munching away. I noticed that their was a powder that wafted around her spoon every time she dipped in for another bite.

I walked over to the cabinet and pulled out the box of Rice Krispies. Opening the box I noticed that not only were their very small dead weevils on the outside of the bag, but there were also hollow weevil bodies and disintegrated Rice Krispies all of which turned into powder when touched or moved in the bag.

Gagging, I ran over to Mom’s bowl and took it from her while trying to tell her to stop eating. At this point my ex-husband was confirming my belief that the very, very, very old Rice Krispies box was the burial ground for way too many weevils to count. The “bowl of cereal” that Mom had been munching on was all the powdery remnants of weevil bodies and previously bug-munched-on cereal puffs.

Trying desperately not to throw up, my ex-husband and I told Mom to spit out the food in her mouth and wash the powder off her lips.

I distinctly remember her saying in quite an aggravated tone, “What’s wrong with the two of you? I’m hungry! Give me my cereal back!”

Eventually, we were able to explain our actions to her. Then Mom had a sweeping emotion cross her face like she was going to puke. It only took a few seconds and with her normal upbeat, positive attitude she said, “Well, it is too late now. It’s just bugs.”

Moral of the story: Rotate your food, wear your bifocals and don’t trust the cereal in Mom’s pantry.

rice weevil
Image: H. A. Turney

The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.



{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hannah June 30, 2010 at 12:44 am

OMG, that is so gross! I know I would have thrown up with out a doubt I hate bugs! I am really happy you didn't end up eating them. And I also rotate my food, after this story I am really glad I do!

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2 twinsnsingles June 30, 2010 at 1:00 am

I have a strong stomach so I read it. Sorry that happened to you! When I was in graduate school, we had a "meal worm" outbreak at the house I was renting with other women.

It was heartbreaking to have to throw away my food when I was just scraping by trying to put myself through school!

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3 Mama Penguin June 30, 2010 at 1:30 am

Ummm, eeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww xD

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4 marlenebarber June 30, 2010 at 1:33 am

Ooo! Ick! The only time I ever found weevils in my cupboard, I threw every bit of package goods in my cupboard away. No checking for bugs, just throw it all away and start over!

BTW….I love evaporated milk on my cereal too. 🙂 I think probably because when I was young, mom made my baby formula out of canned milk and Karo syrup.

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5 Susan June 30, 2010 at 1:44 am

Gross! I learned not to eat anything at my grandma's house when I was a kid. She didn't believe in expiration dates…lol!

I ate maggots once, by accident. They were in Reese's peanut butter cups. I ALWAYS look before I eat, now.

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6 Kristi, Office Mgr. for Karyn Henley Resources June 30, 2010 at 2:15 am

Ewww! Your story reminds me of one in my family. My parents and I went to visit my aunt and uncle. My aunt had been cooking split pea soup from scratch in the crockpot. She served up the soup and we all bowed our heads while someone said a blessing. As soon as the Amen was said, she yelled "Don't eat." When she bowed her head, she noticed bugs floating in the soup. Thankfully she saw it before anyone consumed them!

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7 The redhead June 30, 2010 at 3:19 am

My grandmother's kitchen/pantry is the same way. We are always caution when eating at the grandparents, bless their hearts.

Personally I rotate food like I rotate underwear.

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8 Tree June 30, 2010 at 3:41 am

Oh gag!! LMAO My MIL sounds just like your mom….her house is perfectly spic and span, but she ALWAYS has expired cans and cereal. UGH!

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9 Vicki June 30, 2010 at 4:11 am

Yuck!!

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10 Carolyn Phillips June 30, 2010 at 9:07 am

Well I'm not eating rice crispies for breakfast today!

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11 Jen June 30, 2010 at 9:25 am

How disgusting!! I love your mom's attitude about it though hehehe.

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12 Oh Sew Good June 30, 2010 at 11:30 am

First of all, I'd like to apologize up front to your mother but it is in hindsight now after all…I thought that was funny. Especially when she asked what was wrong with the two of you? Priceless! 🙂

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13 TJ June 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I HOPE THE GIRLS READ THIS, SILLY GIRLS, A LITTLE MORE PROTEIN DID NOT HURT ME, MY CEREAL JUST TASTED STALE,LOL. WE EAT ALOT MORE THAN THAT WHEN WE EAT OUT. RAISNS, CANNED FOOD, AND FROZEN FOOD HAVE LOTS OF BUG PARTS AND RAT HAIRS IN THEM. I HAVE LAUGHED MY BEHIND OFF AT YOU GIRLS THIS MORNING. I DO ROTATE FOOD BETTER NOW. I DO NOT RELISH THE THOUGHT OF EATING OLD FOOD. LOL

MOM

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14 Chels... June 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm

That makes me want to throw UP. Rat hairs? Ewwwww.

My grandparents have food from the 60s in their cupboards still. Unreal.

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15 Teresha@Marlie and Me June 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Your mom has a iron stomach! I would have thrown up.

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16 The Zany Housewife June 30, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Good grief.

And here I thought my mom was the only one who did that…leave old food in the pantry that is.

She just came by for a visit and gave me a box of buttermilk pancake mix. It expired in 2008. Thanks mom.

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17 Donna1264 June 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm

OMG! That truly is gross. I can't imagine eating cereal such as this, but some older people w/o their glasses most likely, as you pointed out, wouldn't even notice.

I'm so grateful we eat a box of cereal within a couple of weeks.

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18 MaryB September 11, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Ack! That is horrendous! I think I'll be off of cereal for awhile, just to be safe! Blech!

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19 Alyssa September 13, 2010 at 5:15 am

There is a reason the word weevil ends with evil. Yuck. I am not, however, squeamish. I was even eating while reading this lol. Not cereal, though.

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