When Bad Things Happen to Good Food

My Easy Cheese expired on May 24, 2002. No memorial service was held. I didn’t even know it was sick until I tried to squeeze some onto a potato chip and the first four inches were dried out. I’m not exaggerating about this.

I had to call Nabisco to find out when it had died, since the expiration date that’s on the can is encoded. In addition, I was curious as to the approximate age of my canned cheese in case it was an antique of sorts.

Getting the woman who took my call to reveal the expiration date was easy enough, but she seemed not to understand when I asked, “So, how old does that make it? When was it produced?” I knew now that the cheese had died in May of last year, but I was still anxious to know its age when it passed away.

She seemed to get a little pissed off when I asked that question. Maybe she had been left out of the will or something. She almost yelled when she said, “Well, it’s over a year old. We don’t recommend eating it after that point.”

Indeed. This was bad cheese.

It was well beyond the stage where it could be considered “easy” in any sense of the word. It struggled to emerge from the can, and when it finally did, it refused to be squirted into any of the standard Easy Cheese formations. It traveled with difficulty in a straight line and broke off mid-stream every couple of centimeters. Although I tried to be artistic with my ancient cheese, I soon came to realize its limitations were many. It simply could not be convinced to arc in any way, therefore a cheese circle or a cheese star were impossibilities.

By pushing the nozzle, I animated the dead. It was wrong. It was a cruel mockery. I was playing God. I was behaving like some snack food Dr. Frankenstein. I defied the natural laws of life, death and aerosol cheese.

I may just have to pay for this vanity with my very soul…

I ate some. Just a little. Don’t judge me. I felt compelled to, because it looked so gross. I had to test whether or not it still tasted like Easy Cheese.

It did. The consistency was different, but it was still deliciously cheesy.

I beg you to please just take my word for this. No matter how tempted you are, don’t try this experiment on yourself with a similarly old can of Easy Cheese. I only warn you because my vision is beginning to blur a bit, and I’m pretty sure that’s a bad sign.

As for the Nabisco lady, she never gave me a clear date of birth for my cheese. I would have questioned her further, but I feared pushing her over the proverbial edge. She seemed pretty stressed, and I didn’t want her to have a stroke or something on my account.

If answering a simple inquiry about cheese gets her freaked out, maybe she should take a little time off. I mean, if you work for Nabisco, you should be used to confronting cheese problems head on. Now that I think of it, that’s probably why Keebler just hires elves to make their cookies. They’re nowhere near as high strung as humans. I’m sure hiring elves has other benefits, but I digress.

Anyway, maybe it’s better that I’ll never know the age of this particular can of Easy Cheese. Some answers are so frightening that the questions are better left unasked.*

Isn’t it amazing how thought provoking a call to Nabisco can be? Depending on how this food poisoning thing goes, my next call might need to be to 911.

*I should write movie trailers.

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