Please don't eat the 44-year-old crackers
As our small children look up at us with adoring eyes, does this thought ever cross our minds: "I wonder which of my many flaws they will be mocking one day?"
My mother is a bit of a pack-rat: not true "Hoarders"-level, but she could possibly be one of the characters in the Hoarders Junior board game that I'm sure will be invented eventually. Case in point: The Mysterious Middle-Aged Saltines.
My sister and I surprised Mom with a visit for her birthday this past weekend, flying to the Midwest secretly and descending on her like a bad case of stomach flu. Sorry, with a bad case of stomach flu -- both of us. Surprise! She tended to us in her usual loving, non-homemade way: Lipton Noodle soup with Saltine crackers.
Except for some reason, the soup tasted, well, off. And not off like "that soup tastes a little weird," but off like "that soup tastes like boiled Tin Man." The overpowering metallic flavor could not have come from the soup, my mother insisted, nor from the crackers because they were fresh. Trying not to puke anew, my sister and I followed our sniffers to the culprit -- the battered metal Saltine Cracker canister, which smelled like a welder's shop on a high production day.
"How old is this thing?" my sister asked, peering at the tiny print on the canister. "Old enough that one of the ingredients listed is ‘lard,'" I countered, grabbing my reading glasses. Then I shrieked, "Good Lord, woman! 1969?!"
"So what? I bought it to hold my crackers," my mother shrugged.
"For 44 years?! Do you realize how much metal has possibly leached into your food?"
She shrugged again. "Eh. That's probably why I'm goofy."
She took our "Heirloom Crackers" ribbing with good grace for the rest of the weekend. But after approximately the forty-fourth joke we made at her expense, I started to feel a slight poking and prodding at my conscience. Considering that I've occasionally found items in the back of my refrigerator that are older than my children, it began to feel like I was perhaps staring into a crystal ball at my future.
And I wonder, which of my many quirks and oddities will my spawn be laughing at one day? Which of yours? And what if our children have (gasp) their own blogs in which to mock us?
Go ahead and answer, I'm listening. You know, while I'm cleaning out the fossilized onions from my vegetable drawer.