there's a general loose rule my siblings and i follow when staying at my parent's house: if it isn't thanksgiving or xmas, or you didn't bring it with you, don't eat the food.
i'm not saying my mom isn't a good cook, because she does very well at it, even while apologizing about the food at the holiday feasts, but that's just an ingrown tradition, and almost expected.
let's just say, my dad likes to shop. a lot. and often. and at costco. so there's always way too much for the two of them to finish. fruit is ripe the day he buys it, and really what does one do with two dozen ripe pears?
i've probably mentioned all this in past posts. if so, stop reading now. same old, same old.
they have two refrigerators: one in the kitchen, and one in the garage for the overflow. i don't remember the history of how they ended up with two, but they are pack rats, so i think the one in the garage was a castoff from my brother.
anyway, the one in the kitchen is filled top to bottom, like a tetris game. no, better—jenga. if you pull something out wrong, the whole pile of stuff on the shelf might shift and dump out on the floor.
actually, my mom is frequently found cleaning up the mess made by a can of diet pepsi, that my dad had placed in the freezer and forgotten. used to never hear her use curse words, but this clean up is usually accompanied by a muttered string of them.
nevermind trying to reach something in the back of the shelf. my sister-in-law has been known to empty the fridge and toss out of date items, leaving whole shelves sparse with edible food. but now, she's moved to the east coast, and i'm not going to do it.
i've seen my parent's carve off moldy bits and eat the rest of a slice of bread or cheese. they sometimes leave out a carton of juice clearly marked refrigerate after opening, because a) they've forgotten, or more likely b) there isn't room.
at least when visiting at holiday time, you know the ingredients for the meal are going to be fresh(er). i've seen her working up her menu and shopping list in the days ahead of the feast.
anyway, the point of this background detail, is that they seem rather careless in their old age with the food situation, and their generation tends not to throw stuff away.
when i went over there the other night, i brought a batch of sweet hawaiian meatballs i'd made that same day. they'd already been chilled, so they made the not quite hour drive down safe enough. i watched as my mother ate a plate full, and then promptly put them in the fridge.
fast forward to the next day, i call them at five p.m. from work, to tell them i'm working a bit late, but because of the rain, would be staying the night with them. wondered if there were any of the meatballs left, so i wouldn't have to stop for dinner on the way.
they were having them for dinner right then, but there were still plenty left for me. they'd save some for me.
so, left the office after six. stupidly took the freeway, instead of the surface streets, and got stuck in traffic for half an hour.
arriving about seven, i was famished. the leftovers were sitting on the counter, waiting for me. which meant, they'd been sitting out since before they were eating dinner, say about three hours by then.
took a chance and ate some anyway. they are/were pretty good, even if the sauce wasn't cooked long enough (apologies to my better half).
lost that bet this morning, when i got to work: meatballs' revenge. that'll teach me a lesson, that i already knew and ignored anyway.
sorry dad, i know you're gonna read this. but i really had other things i had to do at work than sit and ponder...