I found a bottle of teriyaki sauce on the top shelf of my fridge today. I didn’t even know I had teriyaki sauce—now there’s a bottle of it sitting here on my desk. While perusing the label, I found the expiry date: 2001.
This bottle is older than two of my kids. It’s older than my last house. I’ve moved twice since buying it.
This sauce is so old, the label boldly states that it contains high fructose corn syrup (an ingredient that today’s manufacturers try hard to hide). It also contains Aspergillus sojae. This is an industrially important fungi, according to Google—it’s also a surprisingly ugly fungi, according to Google Images.
Now, I hate to waste food, and I don’t take expiry dates too seriously, but even I’m hesitant to use a sauce that expired 16 years ago and contains fungi that (under a microscope, at least) look like toilet brushes.
So I poured the teriyaki sauce down the drain. Okay, that’s not entirely true—I tried to pour it down the drain. Do you know what happens when you let toilet brush fungi and high fructose corn syrup ferment for 16 years? You get TeriYucky Sauce—a gelatinous mass that will not budge, no matter how desperately you want to recycle the bottle. So my TeriYucky Sauce is in the garbage, and I’m heading back to the fridge. Wish me luck—I’m going to see what I can find on the second shelf.