Very occasionally I clear out my kitchen cupboards, poking around at the very back behind the tins of baked beans, jars of jam and packets of cup-a-soup. And here I discover a netherworld of previous purchases, a comestible archive, a stack of stuff well past its best-before-date. And I always think, I should chuck this lot out, but I never quite do. I'm sure that most of it's perfectly edible, whatever the official deadline says. Here's a list of the worst offenders...
Bernard Massard - Brut [2000 vintage] - Given to me by my letting agent as a housewarming gift the day I moved into my flat. I'm still waiting for an excuse to open it, and/or company to share it with, but it's probably beyond flat by now.
Microwaveable Apple and Cinnamon Sponge Pudding (320g) [Nov 2002] - From the days when 'microwaveable' was a) still novel b) a selling point. I bet I could safely eat it tomorrow (but I'm tempted to hang on until 2022).
New Potatoes (530g) [Oct 2004] - Nothing says 20th century cuisine quite like a pound of new potatoes in salted water. How our palates have moved on.
Sliced carrots in water (no added sugar) (180g) [Jan 2005] - If nothing else, old tins show just how far graphic design's changed in the last decade.
Nescafé Gold Blend (50g) [June 2006] - I keep this tiny jar for when builders/workmen/visitors come round and ask for a coffee, because it would be socially gauche not to have any. It's still 80% full, if now fairly congealed, but I daren't throw it away before I remember to buy a replacement.
Limited edition 'Believe' Mars bar [18 02 07] - Issued in that heady summer of 2006 when England were absolutely definitely going to walk away with the World Cup, honest. I keep it as a totemic keepsake of misplaced optimism.
Evian Natural Mineral Water (2l) [31 03 2007] - I never drink the stuff, it's a complete waste of money. But I've got this bottle stashed away for the day my taps run dry. Or Armageddon, whichever comes sooner.
Stella Artois (440ml) [Mar 08] - One of the last times I had a friend round I bought a six pack of Stella to help us through the evening. I still have one left, chilled at the bottom of the fridge and ready to pour.
Tesco Snack In A Pot Roast Onion Mash (57g) [Aug 2008] - Before you judge my taste in food too vehemently, remember this is all the stuff I haven't consumed in years. And long may it remain so.
Bisto gravy granules (170g) [Dec 08] - We've all done it. I bought a new tub not realising there was already a spare one in the cupboard, then when the existing tub ran out I opened the wrong one. When I've finally got through the [Jun 14] I can make a start on the [Dec 08].
Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup (400g) [01 2009] - It's a classic, but when the need for soup strikes I invariably reach for a cup-a-soup instead, for convenience's sake. More fool me, because I know this'd taste much nicer.
Reduced sugar Strawberry Jam (454g) [Feb 2009] - I remember picking this off the supermarket shelf thinking it might be good for me. I still haven't thought it worth opening.
Green's Carmelle (4 sachets) [Jul 2009] - Who doesn't love a good "vanilla dessert", aka caramel pudding? But I never seem to have enough milk spare, or the nous to remember to open the packet four hours before I'm hungry.
Instant Jelly Crystals (2 sachets) [Aug 2009] - Low in sugar, fat and saturates? I should be eating this stuff more often, but instead it languishes too far back on a top shelf for me to ever spot it. Were it jelly cubes, I'd have gobbled it down years ago.
Marinated Herring (190g) [10.2009] - When my doctor advised a low fat diet, this was in the "eat lots of" category. Like a good boy I bought a tin, but have never been able to face opening it. Must still be safe to eat, surely.
Mandarin segments (175g) [Dec 2009] - The reason there's so much Tesco stuff on this list is that they were my nearest supermarket ten years ago, honest, not because I go there a lot now.
Lemon Juice (250ml) [03 2010] - The label says "Once opened, keep refrigerated and consume within 4 weeks". I guess, having never believed I'd get through so much lemon juice in a month, I've never risked unscrewing the lid and making a start.
Sliced Pickled Beetroot (198g) [Mar 2010] - It might be floating in vinegar but, now you come to mention it, the beetroot looks pallid and bleached, and this is going straight into the bin. It turns out there is a limit...
Lessons learned 1) I must remember to stop buying new food when I already have perfectly serviceable old food. 2) Tinned food's not big and it's not clever, but one day you'll be damned glad you've got some. 3) If you're an old school blogger looking for an idea to write about, go look in your kitchen cupboards.