I wonder why they don’t put expiration dates on spices. Surely they don’t stay good forever. Maybe that’s why they say variety is the spice of life – it never gets old.

It’s amazing how many different spices were in the rack, even though I tend to use only a couple of my favorites. I made myself throw most of them away, knowing I’ll accumulate another stash of spices, I’ll never use, in a short amount of time.

That led me to wondering about those canned goods that always seem to be pushed to the back. I was embarrassed to find so many were outdated. What a waste of food and money. I must have a had a bean fetish as there were multiple cans of different kinds of beans which had expired and so I continued to buy them.

Two cabinets were full of recipe books. I can sit down and read through a recipe book like it’s a novel. I may not make one single dish from the cookbook, but I could never seem to part with any of them, just in case. What’s even worse, now I search through Internet recipes and so dozens of pieces of paper were also smashed between all the books.

I told myself I would only keep the recipe books that would fit on three shelves. I felt that was pretty generous, as it adds up to around 30. It took a while, feeling the need to go through each book to make sure there wasn’t a recipe I couldn’t be without. Almost every book had sticky notes marking recipes I have yet to make. Several hours later I had filled two boxes, which I finally had to take to my car, so I wouldn’t give in and try to make room for their return.

I asked the daughters if they wanted any of the cookbooks and although they didn’t seem too interested, they did at least look through them. The majority of the ones I kept were mom's, as they’re always my go-to recipes with ingredients I am familiar with, plus on many of them, she wrote comments to add a little more of this or a little less of that.

Many of the newer cookbooks I had accumulated, which ended up in the box to be donated, I had never tried any of the recipes. When it calls for an ingredient I have to hunt for in the grocery store, or can’t pronounce, I can almost guarantee it’s never going to be made.

My favorite cookbook of mom's, with both covers missing, pages that are brown with age and curling up on the ends have the standard makes-everything-taste-good ingredients such as cups of butter and sugar and are splotched from spills. Thank goodness the calorie count isn’t listed.

What I don’t understand, with so many recipes to choose from and variety being the spice of life, why do I continue to make the same things over and over again?


-- Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com