I'm the last person in the world to consider throwing out candy. Even if it falls on the floor and the dog licks it, I would seriously weigh the pros and cons of popping it in my mouth. However, by the time Valentine's Day rolls around, even I realize it's probably time to toss the Halloween candy in the can.
The problem, is, you don't usually find expiration dates on candy. It's really up to you to decide if the candy is past its "use by" date. Sometimes it's not that hard. When the dark chocolate starts to turn white, I take that as a sign that it's time to chuck it. But there is other candy that seems to defy the aging process, and you don't really know whether to chuck or not to chuck. Although I've never heard of someone getting food poisoning from old candy, I'd hate to be the one who disproves that theory and then has to lie for all of eternity beneath a headstone that says, "Here lies Tracy, she was dandy. Until she pigged out on old candy."
This wouldn't really be an issue at all if it were just my Halloween candy. If that were the case, the stuff would be gone in a week. But somehow, my kids manage to make the candy last for months, despite my best clandestine efforts to help deplete the stockpile. How someone can ration candy and only eat one piece a day is beyond me. To me, that's kind of like eating only one French fry or just getting three scoops of ice cream. It's un-American.
Since I knew the kids were not going to be happy with this plan, I waited until they were otherwise occupied and then I scoured the pantry for all the hidden candy. Having already found all the hiding spots months ago, I was good to go in about five minutes flat. But just as I was about to dump it all in the trash, my daughter suddenly appeared, as though somehow her sixth candy sense had kicked in and alerted her to the fact that her stash was about to get trashed.
"Mom!! What are you doing? You can't throw out our candy," protested my daughter.
"I have to," I explained. "It's old."
"Candy doesn't get old," she said. "It lasts forever. Like plastic bags and Twinkies." She scowled at me and then peered in the candy bag. "Hey, where's the rest of my candy?"
"That's all there is," I assured her.
"Nah-ah. There was a lot more than that!" she declared. Then she narrowed her eyes. "Did you eat my candy?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," I said meekly.
Page 2 of 2 - "You did. You ate my candy. And now you're chucking the rest so I won't notice how much was missing!"
"No. You ate it," I protested. "You just forgot."
"I did not, and I'm telling Dad."
I sighed. Candy karma had caught up with me. I was caught red-handed, or, more accurately, chocolate-covered.
"Tell you what," she said thoughtfully. "You get me some more candy for Valentine's Day, and we'll just forget this whole thing, okay?
"I thought Valentine's Day was supposed to be about love?" I responded.
"It is," she said. "Love of candy."
Tracy's new book, "Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs" is now available for PRE-ORDER! To reserve your copy, go to Amazon or any online bookseller.