It’s bean swell smellin ya, but the swelling’s gone. Too bad the smell lingers.

by Janie Jones

I like dark red kidney beans.

I like them in my chili, in my cooked veg, and I like them cold in my salad.

Unfortunately, I’m mostly in the minority in my house.  And, it seems particularly challenging to make just a small Janie-sized portion.  Cooking dried beans takes for ever, and a can of beans is way too much.  But canned beans are quick, so, there you have it.

A couple weeks ago I had a taste for kidney beans.  So I popped open a can, spooned some on my salad, covered the rest with plastic wrap and popped them in the fridge for later.  Sadly, they weren’t a particularly tasty batch of canned kidney beans, and later never really came.  I’d open the fridge and think, “I need to eat those beans.  But, not today, perhaps tomorrow.”

Then, about a week ago, something began to smell in the fridge.  So much so that Leif took out the meat drawer and cleaned it.  Then continued to complain how something smelled.  I rummaged through the fridge a few days later looking for something which had either spilled or gone south, but found nothing and only vaguely thought perhaps it might be the beans.  But, they weren’t that old yet, so seems that something else must be the problem.

Just now I opened the fridge to get milk for my breakfast and saw those beans.  “Damn.  I guess I might as well just pitch them.  I don’t feel like eating beans again anytime soon.”  So I took off the wrap, and pitched the beans in the compost bin.  Whew!  They were stiiiinkyy!  Guess they were already heading south, as was evidenced by the slimy ring around the bottom of the dish.

Then Leif walked into the kitchen, or rather the green cloud that was the kitchen, and before he could say anything I explained that I’d pitched the beans and we would need to empty the compost bin on or way out later.  But he was having none of it, “You need to take that bin out now!”

So, I did, and when I came back in I was greeted by the smell of Glade Cinnamon Apple with a somewhat less than subtle undertone of rancid kidney bean.  On a vaguely related note, I now feel compelled to share one of the grossest “food gone bad” encounters I ever had.


Eh, I guess because gross is meant for sharing.  In high school I was dating a boy from a family of seriously disgusting housekeeping (or lack thereof) habits.  I could fill pages with stories of the yuck, but I’ll just share one particular incident today.

One summer, someone in the boyfriend’s family bought a watermelon.  It got put in the refrigerator in the service porch.  It got forgotten about.  The service porch fridge was also the place sodas were kept, so although everyone forgot to eat the watermelon, almost everyone went in that fridge at least once a day to get a soda.  Months went by, and I began to watch in a sort of disgusted fascination as the watermelon slowly decomposed into a brown liquid mass in the bottom of the fridge and I internally made wagers with myself whether or not it would overflow the lip in the bottom of the refrigerator.  Miraculously it didn’t, but it did grow a new rainbow colored fuzzy skin.  The boyfriend, his 3 sisters and both his parents stopped using the bottom shelf, but never got rid of the offensive watermelon.  After a little while longer, the  pretty colors turned black and the transformed watermelon must have figured it was time to conquer the whole fridge, so it began growing up the sides and encroaching on the upper shelves.

I spent a lot of time there, because being at my house, though pristinely clean, was like living in a war zone, and eventually my amusement with the situation faded.  So one day I got a bucket, bleach, and some rubber gloves and cleaned out the fridge.  A few sisters wandered through in search of soda and looked at me funny.  One actually asked what I was doing.   A few days later the father asked the oldest sister, who was in her mid twenties and did most of the family’s food shopping, what happened to the watermelon.  She said I threw it out.  The father looked at me strangely and said, “What did you do that for?”

“Because it was disgusting.”  Was my brilliant reply.

He one upped me with his own brilliance, “Well, I guess it’s good someone did.”

I imagine the stink in the kitchen has blown off by now so I can go put away my breakfast dishes.

Hope your day is stinkless.


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