A simple sniff is usually enough to deduce if something is safe to use or not.
I’m not talking about unsavoury habits like inhaling underpants or pongy socks to see if you can get another day’s wear.
No, I mean edible items as, the last time I checked, food couldn’t tell the time or read a calendar.
I adore food and can’t abide waste – which is why I am the Queen of the Leftovers and have no shame in taking the remnants of my tea into work the following day.
And although I don’t have a dog, I’m not embarrassed to ask for a doggy bag when dining out.
After all, I’ve paid for it and, if I’ve enjoyed it, I’d sooner take it home than leave it to be scraped into a dustbin.
In all of the interviews I’ve done as a journalist, one that sticks in my mind is a man who revealed he survived solely on food pilfered from supermarket dustbins.
Known as “bin dipping”, the practice involves scavenging through rubbish and dining out of dustbins.
The man proudly told me he’d not spent a penny on food for the past five years but often dined like a king on steak, pork chops, exotic vegetables and bottles of cider.
More importantly, he hadn’t had a day’s illness despite his eating habits.
Many mistake the meaning of Best Before and Use By. Often when the date has passed, it doesn’t mean the food is harmful although it may have lost some of its flavour and texture.
While I’m not advocating people put their health at risk by eating gone-off food – and certainly the very young, very old and pregnant shouldn’t take any chances – I do think common sense has to come into play.
Rather than see food go to waste, I’ve always held the philosophy: “Let’s freeze it for another day.”
Being a terrible hoarder – as well as a hater of food waste, I did chuckle when I read a report revealing more than one million Britons have food in their freezer that is more than a decade old.
One friend confessed her mum always buys a fresh turkey from the reduced aisles on Boxing Day and bungs it in the freezer until the following Christmas – but says it always tastes fine.
I couldn’t be bothered with having so much freezer space taken up for so long, but admire the shrewdness.