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.
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.