It all started with Sodium Chloride
January 24, 2009 10:53 PM   Subscribe

Periodic Tables and variations thereof are a long, proud tradition at MeFi, but here's one I think (I hope) we haven't seen before: The Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad

"We do not guarantee that any of the above information is in any way accurate."
Contributions to make the chart better are welcomed here. For example: Element 40 (Sw) Sweet and Sour? That fluorescent red stuff in the jar? I've recovered some from the back of a fridge over a year after purchase and it showed no change from its original state. Also, if you cover it with a thin layer of Lime Juice (or Lemon), you can extend the life of Element 29 (Gc) Guacamole for up to 3 days and still pass it off on guests...
posted by wendell (22 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Huh? I wanted to be ONE OF the first posters after it came back up, but apparently I beat pb's Test Post by a few seconds. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I ACCOMPLISHED THAT. (But I'd like to take this occasion to say THANK YOU to pb, mathowie and anybody else on the MetaRepairTeam for the timely return of the Blue and the Green.)
posted by wendell at 11:05 PM on January 24, 2009

Yes, THANKYOU! .. this FPP is really going to cut down the Askmefi traffic.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:11 PM on January 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

First. After wendell that is.

YAYYY MetaFilter! pb, mathowie, jessamyn and cortex, you rock!! Long live the mods and the techs!

And fun periodic table too. It's good to know mayo lasts 3 months. Dang, way longer than expected.

What about the life of tomato sauce? I had a bottle of Tamari sauce for years, like 5 years I think, tasted great.

Honey only good for 8 months? That seems bogus. huh. I presumed, as a sugar, that it lasted years. And since when is lox a condiment? It' s Jewish soul food.

Nutella 4 months?! Oh please. One hour is more like it. If I could I'd mainline that stuff. Can't keep it in the apartment.

On preview, third.
posted by nickyskye at 11:16 PM on January 24, 2009

I'm pretty sure honey never expires. Gets all crystalline, yes, but it can still be reconstituted after a couple thousand years, ants and bear attacks notwithstanding.
posted by luftmensch at 11:17 PM on January 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Tabasco doesn't go bad, it just separates. Shakes that sucker up again. Probably gets better (or at least spicier) with age.
posted by bardic at 11:21 PM on January 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Phew. That was scary for a little while there.

In re: this post, it really bugs me when people make fake periodic tables with no attempt to group the items in the table in any rational way, as they are in the "real" periodic table. Also, hummus is a condiment?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:33 PM on January 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

See also the wonderful periodic table from the BBC science education spoof series "Look Around You". See marzipan, wax, fool's gold, and neighbouring elements rhubarb and custard amongst many others.
posted by tim_in_oz at 11:45 PM on January 24, 2009

How can vinegar go bad? I thought it was wine that had already gone bad.
posted by awfurby at 1:02 AM on January 25, 2009

EXCELLENT use of the "SPOILER" tag btw.
posted by awfurby at 1:03 AM on January 25, 2009

temperature, temperature, temperature. Inexplicably ignored.
posted by telstar at 2:05 AM on January 25, 2009

Being Vietnamese, the idea of keeping a bottle of soy sauce for an entire year baffles me.
posted by mmmleaf at 2:30 AM on January 25, 2009

Being Kentuckian, I can tell you soy sauce will go well beyond a year.
posted by Roman Graves at 2:38 AM on January 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

Um, what is "French"?
posted by trip and a half at 2:38 AM on January 25, 2009

"French" is the opposite to the way you're doing it.
posted by bystander at 3:01 AM on January 25, 2009

Doh! I was talking about this at the St. Petersburg meetup. Now I don't have to find it.
posted by chillmost at 5:49 AM on January 25, 2009

Having had a bottle of rancid ketchup explode on me in a cloud of greyish-red ooze, I'd say that 5 months is about right. Don't open the ones with bubbles in.
posted by scruss at 7:26 AM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not too long ago I found a sealed packet of airline peanuts in my stuff, and judging by the squishy contents inside I can safely say they don't last 19 years.
posted by crapmatic at 7:41 AM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've seen a twenty-year-old bottle of ketchup. The ketchup had turned black and contracted into a solid-looking column going up the middle of the bottle.
posted by escabeche at 8:16 AM on January 25, 2009

"Lunchables" in no way constitute a "condiment," (and I agree with Rock Steady thst hummus is dubious) but I do know that some friends had a "lunchable" tacked to their kitchen wall for upwards of years with no detectable change.

And I think it contained something called "baloney."
posted by emhutchinson at 8:46 AM on January 25, 2009

Sugar goes bad after two years? I have been using the same bag since I moved into my current place three years ago... should I keep poison control on speed dial?

Nice Richard Armour title, by the way.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:09 AM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I posted this one in a comment a year ago along with a bunch of other PTs. Updated list of Periodic Tables (self-link).
posted by psyche7 at 9:32 AM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is of no scientific merit until it adds the halflife of the foodstuffs when unrefrigerated. Granted, we'd need a formula that accounts for other things, such as the age of the food as it was kept refrigerated, the external temperature, and so on, but it would seriously cut back on the number of pointless Ask MeFi posts. Or it could just say, "It's good, eat it," which is usually the right answer.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:33 PM on January 25, 2009

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