Table of Contents

    Musing: Mystery Munchies

    Sitting in a desk chair typing on a computer doesn’t burn many calories. That’s a challenge since the second most popular procrastination technique for writers is snacking. The first, of course, is social media, which doesn’t bode well for weight loss either.

    To combat this, I follow a strict regimen of exercise and diet. The exercise part is not overly difficult to accomplish since I have four furry critters who insist on their twice-daily dog walks. For motivation, a human trainer has nothing on a herd of Siberian Huskies bemoaning that I am an entire minute late getting out the door. If I try to ignore them, they just get louder. And louder. Until I surrender.

    The diet is different. The dogs are enablers, if anything, because they will happily accompany me to the kitchen as often as I want to go. To their disappointment, though, my snacks consist mostly of carrots and hummus or fruit and cottage cheese. They find that boring. Truth be told, so do I some days, which is how I found myself rummaging through the pantry looking for something tastier.

    To my astonishment, I stumbled across a treasure chest. A box. A metal box. Bright red. With Christmas decorations.

    I broke the cellophane wrapping, lifted the lid, and spotted a cornucopia of Christmas chocolates, cookies, and candies. A veritable smorgasbord of unhealthy snacks. I drooled with excitement.

    And then doubt hit. Was it leftover from this past Christmas? The one before? Or was it an archaeological find of an unknown Christmas past?

    With my stomach rumbling, I searched for an expiration date. To my pleasure, I noted it was the current year. Unfortunately, it was dated May 31. Expired.

    I know exactly what some of you are thinking. Okay, most of you. Probably all. What’s a few weeks when we’re talking sugary sweets?

    Ah, but you’ve stumbled upon one of my phobias. I can’t stand expired products. Logically, I understand things do not magically go bad at midnight on the printed date. Emotionally, though, I’m convinced food poisoning awaits just one nibble away.

    As I stood in the kitchen assessing my gastronomical risk level against my craving for a sugary snack, my Ever Patient Partner in Life came into the room, probably wondering why I had left my writing cave when I was supposed to be typing.

    “What are you doing?”

    Sigh. I felt like a truant student caught wandering the house without a hall pass. And with contraband in my hands. “Found these. Guess I have to throw them in the trash.”

    A quizzical eyebrow raised. “Why?”

    “They’re expired.”

    “How expired?”

    This is one of our differences. While I’m a firm believer that an expiration date is a line that no man should cross, EPPIL has a more flexible opinion. When I said it was nearly four whole weeks past the expiration, I received an exasperated sigh.

    “They’re fine.”

    “You’d say that if they were a year old.”

    “They’d be fine then, too. You know how many preservatives they add to those things?”

    “That doesn’t sound particularly healthy.”

    “They’re sweets. Healthy isn’t exactly the criteria.”


    “I’ll prove it.” EPPIL took the box from my hands, extracted a cookie, and bit. The results were horrific. Foam forming around lips. A horrid gagging sound. The thud of a body collapsing to the ground. Convulsions.

    Oh, wait. That’s the dreaded writer’s imagination at work. What actually happened was EPPIL swallowed, declared it fit for consumption, and exited the room.

    So I stood alone with an open box of treats in my hands. The debate raged in my head. Eat the expired food? Toss it in the trash?

    Then the answer came to me. The sight of a bag of carrots might have influenced my decision. I ate a cookie.

    And I’ve lived to tell the tale.

    Enjoyed the Story? Try a Short Story

    Secrets, passions, and a reunion that changes everything

    Benjamin Walsh sees his wife, Nicole, walking down a city street. With her busy schedule at work, he doesn’t know how she found time to get away, but tries to catch up to say hello.

    To his surprise, she greets an old friend of hers, Eduardo Rivera. Eduardo left town two decades earlier to pursue a theatrical career in New York. What is he doing back?

    Benjamin is shocked when Eduardo and Nicole embrace. They disappear through a door together. With understanding of what is happening, Benjamin realizes he has only one choice.

    Publication Date: February 6, 2024

    Format: E-book (EPUB, MOBI, PDF)

    Pages: 38

    Price: Pay what you want (Minimum 99¢ to cover processing costs)

    Gratuitous Dog Photo: The Siberian Side-Eye

    Siberian side-eye - mystery munchies
    Questioning human logic

    The look I receive when I say something that doesn’t quite meet Siberian Husky approval standards.

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      May all your food be fresh and your snacks tasty.

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      1. Jean B Burkhardt on June 26, 2023 at 11:06 am

        Once again my Monday is graced with a BIG LAUGH! IN my house it’s that way too. If bread isn’t eaten by the next day after purchase by my husband he won’t eat it anymore-even IF the date is a week away. Just about everything else too. I have eaten quite a few items beyond the expiration date(although if it’s dairy or meat it’s different)! I am still alive to tell tell the tale.

        The Siberian side eye is a REAL thing-lol

      2. Juno's mom on June 26, 2023 at 1:18 pm

        Landon agrees. Expiration dates are no match for a good sense of smell.

      3. Fay Bach on June 26, 2023 at 3:48 pm

        As usual, enjoyed this weeks Monday Musings. Have to admit I’m not so much a “ best before “ date person! Have eaten many past date foods! Only thing
        I will get a second opinion from my partner, when it
        comes to dairy products, get him to sample!😊

      4. Judith Vran on June 26, 2023 at 11:05 pm

        Enjoyed the Monday Musings. I have a fairly carefree attitude to Best Before but am pretty serious about Use By dates. Love your huskies 😄

      5. Jan Jasa on June 27, 2023 at 1:45 pm

        I’m one of those “depends on what it is” expiration date people. For example, I’m still using flour tortilla shells that expired in December. No mold, look, smell and taste fine. No tummy issues, so will finish them up. (They are kept in fridge which might help). But if my yogurt, or cheese is 1 day past it’s expiration date, it’s in the trash! Something canned? I give it a good 6 more months. So, it really does vary. I guess the thing to consider is if it says “BEST by” ” USE by”, “SELL by” or actually gives an expiration date. I figure the best, use and sell by dates are just suggestions for freshness only, not when they are actually no longer ok to eat. But, I just hate to waste things that are probably still ok to eat even after whetever date is stamped on them.

      6. Laura on June 27, 2023 at 7:38 pm

        My recommendation follow up with an alcoholic drink 🍷 🥃 … alcohol will kill any unhealthy flora😊

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