Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Meatballs Of My Discontent


I woke up in the dead of night, and stayed awake, for hours and hours, ruminating. You know, as one does. In this case I was ruminating about meatballs. Specifically, the meatballs we had for dinner, and whether or not they had an exit plan, and if so, what it was. "Ruminate" comes from the Latin and means "to chew on again," and that was certainly one possibility.

This isn't a normal thing for me to ruminate about. One of the things I think Dave can be most proud of is that he's prepared our food for forty years and only poisoned us the one time. And that time, near as I can guess, was because of the bagged salad greens he bought at the store, and that is totally their fault. It's not as if Dave took the greens out of the bag and sprinkled Dried Poop Flavor Flakes on them or anything. Dave, whose reputation is at stake, still puts that episode down to a 24-hour virus. Whatever it was, it required a toilet and a bucket, both. Just one of them would not do.

I can't overindulge without consequence like I used to. There was that time I woke up in the middle of the night convinced my dinner was going to make a reappearance. The dinner would have been collateral damage--the culprit was the slab of layer cake I ate afterwards. I'd made it myself. It had apricot preserves in the middle and enough buttercream frosting to set a horse back, and I ate a wedge of it big enough to prop open the gates of Hell during election season. We were at the cabin with friends, and I knew I'd have to put clothes and shoes on, sneak out the door, and walk way down the road if I didn't want to disturb anybody. I opted to remain in bed and give my valiant digestive system a challenge for the next four hours.

So, the meatballs. They weren't really Dave's fault either. He found them in the freezer, store-packaged. "Do you think these are still any good?" he asked.

"I don't know. Do they have an expiration date?"

They were Swedish meatballs from IKEA. I guess I bought them because I thought they'd be worth a try. When? Let's see. We bought the kitchen cabinets from there in the winter of 2012. So, around then.

"Well--all it says is 'best if eaten by January 2014.' I don't know."

"'Best if eaten by' is not the same as an expiration date, is it? They're just slightly less tasty. And they've been in the freezer all this time. I say, let's give 'em a whirl." Mmmmm! Meatballs!

They were a little musty. Not all that good. Dave, who can eat anything but won't, had three or four and pushed them aside. I had seconds. I can't help it. I'm a sucker for little bite-sized items. Plus, there were, like, a billion of them. I thought: might as well get a jump on them.

An hour into my nighttime rumination, I concluded a few things about their exit plan. They're from IKEA. They're not going to go out the same way they went in. They were going to go out the exit door, but they were going to take their time. They had to go past cabinets, computer tables, bedroom furniture, bookcases, picture frames, and glassware first. Then they'd shoot straight out past the meatball display, and Katie bar the door.

I settled in for the long haul.

38 comments:

  1. I find that context can save you a world of grief in situations like this. In other words, never buy food from a furniture store, or furniture from a food store. Once, there was a van from one of these online meat suppliers trolling around our neighborhood. The guy rang our doorbell, and said he had meat for sale cheap, as there was some leftover from his deliveries. "I buy meat from the market, not from the back of some truck," I told him, closing the door on him. Probably saved myself from a mediocre meal, if not a case of dysentery.

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    1. So I should have politely declined the fellow who stood at my door with a selection of fine magazines and burritos?

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  2. Last night found a box of Hamburger Helper in the back of the pantry...we NEVER eat that stuff so must have been for a camping trip. Anyway it expired in 2008. I cannot throw anything away and added the fresh hamburger, cooked it as recommended and we ate a nice adult serving...and we survived. Boxed food can be preserved forever it seems...frozen not so much. We took the lamb chops back to the big box store as they definitely were not cookable when thawed and the big package cost over $20.00.

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    1. Oh yes they do! When we lived outside of Chicao I took meat back to Whole Foods. On more than one occasion.

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  3. Not sure I would eat anything from IKEA. Seems like it would taste like laminate coated particle board and sound like ABBA. I would have to drive nearly 300 miles to find out and I can't ruminate like I used to.

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    1. Well, you got me with the sounding like ABBA part. Now I've got Dancing Queen in my head (and now so do you) and am considering going vegan.

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    2. I have this horrible head vision of ABBA sounds, rumbling through the pipework of your intestines.Please tell me your jammies are not electric blue satin flares...

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  4. I am here to defend the frozen IKEA meatballs, as we eat 'em with consistency, and nary a middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom. Dave must have sprinkled some of his Dog Poop Flakes on them.

    Also: if you listen to podcasts, I have a good one to recommend -- about the nonsense that is expiration dates.

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    1. Maybe I could find time for that. I have to admit when I go look up something (like How To Grout Tile) I'm always disheartened when it's a video. I want to just read it. It takes less time. Shit, I'm made of time. I should watch more podcasts.

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  5. Don't eat an under-heated (my fault) quiche from Whole Foods. I did and learned about the wonder that is demerol.

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    1. Isn't that a pain medication?

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    2. Oh yes. Turns out that really, really bad food poisoning can put you in the ER with an IV with demerol in it. I'll spare you TMI.

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    3. Ack! See above comment about Whole Foods. Is this becoming a trending thing?

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  6. I am not going to debate the wisdom of eating meatballs from Ikea, although particle board was the first thing that came to mind. Instead, I am going to compliment you on your ability to tell this story with a combination of decorum and hilarity. If only the Repugnant debaters were so well-spoken.

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    1. I'm available for speech-writing, although I can't guarantee the Rs that they wouldn't discover some major policy changes.

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  7. Does this have anything to do with the IKEA meatball scandal of early 2013? Their meatballs were found to contain horse meat around then, which might fit your time frame . . . Equine revenge, maybe?

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    1. I never heard of that! I'm okay with eating horse I guess. A little tough around the hoof region.

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  8. I'm sorry to hear about your indigestion. May I suggest a nice salad instead of IKEA meatballs next time?

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    1. NO! NO BAGGED SALAD GREENS! Okay, I eat them all the time. But that WAS a bad one.

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  9. Of course they took their time reappearing. You needed the special allen key.
    I hope you found it. And survived.

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  10. "When in doubt, throw it out."

    That right there is all the wisdom of the world, in six words. For those of us who worry about this stuff, anyhow. The thought of having to throw something away that I paid good money for often propels me toward the right actions - putting leftovers away promptly, eating them promptly, using things before their best by date. You know, all the things I wouldn't do otherwise.

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    1. I just leave it all to Dave. He is cautious. The meatballs were totally my fault, from purchase to consumption.

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  11. P. S. I hope your innards feel more settled today! And, as always, you can make anything entertaining!

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  12. So timely... I am in the "it required a toilet and a bucket, both. Just one of them would not do." stage... plus have grandkids here and Jerry is working.... ughhhhhh

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    1. AAAAGGGH! Under the circumstances I am so honored you took the time to weigh in.

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  13. I love Ikea, but have never, ever eaten their meatballs. I'm just not game enough. If I'm eating any meatballs at all, I'll be making them myself. I like to know the individual ingredients.

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    1. With either meatballs or sausage, I would prefer NOT to know the ingredients.

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  14. P.S. even frozen meat has a shelf life expectancy. Anything that far past its expiry date or best-before date is no longer any good.

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  15. Meatballs from IKEA?? Are you sure they were not made from sawdust and meant to be a decorator item, kinda like those fake fruit?

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  16. Ok, living here in the wilds of Montana, I have no conact with IKEA, until last October in LA, waiting to go to Europe, my friend and I went. Rather, I was escorted.
    I got some of the afore-mentioned meatballs, and they were not that good freshly-frozen.
    But Swedish food masquerading as Italian (pasta) is a bad idea.

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    1. I can't help it. If it comes in a bag and you can snap it down in one bite, I'm going to eat it.

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  17. I have the greatest love for Ikea meatballs. And everything else Ikea. It's a good thing the closest one is two hours away.

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