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I'm the kind of guy who thinks it's smart and convenient to make enough coffee so there's a cup's worth left over in the coffee maker for the next morning. That way, there's no fussing in the dark half awake, or waiting for the thing to brew, or having to gulp down instant to start blood moving.
My wife will not touch day old coffee. She won't even tell me what she really thinks, her opinion of it is so bad. She checks like an olympics drug screener to make sure I'm not sneaking any into hers before she takes a sip.
If it was just the coffee there'd be no big deal. But here's the thing. One of the fastest, easiest, smartest kid's dinners you can make is leftovers. But that means getting past the question: is that dish in the fridge too old?
I'm not talking about pink or green furry food, or anything that smells like gym socks, or has gone squish or slippery. I'm talking about the food that looks just fine. You remember when you ate it the first time. Give or take a day or two. You smell it. You decide you've got dinner made.
This is usually when the wife and kids and the TV producers and crew all leap out and confront you, caught in the despicable act of preparing to serve them spoiled food. According to them, what you thought was dinner is in fact so old it's nearly evolved legs and is crawling off the plate.
Now, it's a fact that men do not have the special eyesight that allows us to see at what particular hour the food in the fridge switches from yum to yuck. We are apparently willng to put things in our gullet that would gag a starving buzzard. We're willing to risk the entire family's health on a memory that's so tattered and flimsy we can't even remember to take out the garbage. Which is where that food is going.
If someone was to contact the United States Department of Agriculture, where whole herds of folks in white lab coats pick old things out of refrigerators in order to see when food has gone bad, the rule is, four days in the fridge. After that you're probably serving porcelein chinups, not leftovers.
Other than that, ask the wife. If it's less than five days old, and she says it's fine, the kids'll believe her, and you're off the hook. If not, you won't be making any points reviving Frankenstein, so get on with plan b.
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