Today Joe got out a jar of pickles. He set it on the counter and then strong-armed it open. Good for him, I thought, admiring his initiative. I waited to hear the sounds of him devouring the sour snacks, but none came. I turned around to see Joe, who usually dispatches pickles with relish (pun most definitely intended), curiously inspecting the jar. He was eyeing it from all sides. His face showed clearly something was amiss.
“What’s wrong?” I inquired.
“I think these are bad,” he replied, nose crinkled up.
“Do they smell bad?” I asked.
Although I had no idea what a jar of bad pickles smelled like, I had to investigate. I sniffed the jar. Smelled just fine to me.
“There is nothing wrong with these pickles,” I asserted with confidence.
With a very dubious look, Joe bit into one. “They taste funny.”
I took a bite. “Ummm….they taste like pickle, babe. They’re just fine.”
He was still inspecting the jar. And, that’s when I saw it…the object of his consternation. There was a bit of rust on the outside of the jar where the lid had been attached.
“Are you worried about this spot on the jar?” I asked.
“I don’t think it was sealed correctly,” was my ten year old’s response.
“I heard the jar pop when you opened it, sweetie. It’s fine.”
“Is this the freshness date?” he asked, still examining the jar.
Trying hard not to lose my patience, I told him it was not a freshness date but that I was absolutely, 100% positive that he would not meet an untimely death from picklitis or some other ravaging, pickle-borne illness. Isn’t it enough that my spouse is food paranoid? Now he’s tainted my son? I can’t tell you how much food we throw out because hubby decides it’s questionable, but I can tell you it seems like a lot. Another food sniffer is NOT what we need in this house.
I am not all that paranoid about food. This morning I ate a container of Greek yogurt that supposedly expired on November 23rd, and I’m still here to tell about it.
Joe did finish the pickle he started, probably more out of fear that I would strangle him if he didn’t than out of any confidence I instilled when I told him they were fine. I won’t be one bit surprised if that child refuses to eat another pickle from that rust-dotted jar. Once food fear has taken hold, there is no cure. At least you stand a chance of recovering from salmonella or E coli. It’s too late now to save Joe. All I can do is hope Luke doesn’t become infected as well.