Something which gets me leaping onto my hobby-horse and galloping round and round the room is best before dates; I understand why there needs to be some information on when a product was made and especially some suggestions of when such things as fresh meat or fish should be eaten by (even though your nose and eyes should give you a big hint) but modern packaging these days with its ‘best before’ dates has led to a huge amount of unnecessary food waste. People will throw things away as soon as they reach their best before dates even though they are perfectly safe to eat – ‘best’ means best – not you will suffer excruciatingly if a morsel of this passes your lips the day after…

Preserves – the clue is in the word ‘preserve’; the whole process, millennia old no doubt, is to keep food so it will last healthily and safely; a couple of days ago, I messaged a friend to tell her how much I was enjoying her whisky marmalade – which she gave me in 2012… yes five years ago, and it was delicious! I don’t often have bacon sandwiches, but when I do I have brown sauce, HP, actually; it’s the only time I have the sauce so you can imagine it’s not often used.  As I was closing the lid after dribbling it onto my bacon, I glanced at the ‘best before’ date… 2007… yes, no mistake, 2007…

This doesn’t mean you should pay no attention to bb dates – I opened a new bag of  couscous for dinner last night… It was edible but had a strange musty flavour – that’s because I bought it three years ago and it had got tucked at the back of everything else… It was edible but not very nice, so I threw it away (in the food recycling bin of course!)

By the way the word ‘sauce’ comes as you might guess from Latin, meaning things which have been salted… or seasoned. To be saucy is to be cheeky or suggestive, but the phrase ‘I like your sauce!’ implies that someone has been impolite, rude or arrogant – but sometimes in a joking way, as with me and my title!

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