In 1995 I purchased a summer home on six acres in the mountains of Colorado. The owners used it only as a hunting cabin for the previous seven years, and the original owners built it in the mid 1970’s. It was fairly evident that it had not been used much. My first hint was when I asked the seller what type of septic system it had and where was it located. He had no idea. I asked him how often he had to have the 500-gallon propane take refilled, and he said he never had since he bought the place seven years earlier. I doubt if the house had ever been occupied as a year-round home.


Two things that swayed my purchase decision were the 40+ mile panorama views of the mountains, and the fact that the house was furnished. The beds were made, the kitchen pantry was stocked, there were towels in the bathroom, and the house was in move-in condition. I had to buy some things for the refrigerator, but other than that, I was home.


Being a bachelor, I firmly believe that, if something takes longer to cook than it does to eat, then it is a waste of my time. Thus I ignored the array of spices and baking stuff in one of the kitchen cabinets. I took note that there was garlic salt, poultry seasoning, Progresso bread crumbs, chili powder, ground cinnamon, imitation bacon-flavored bits, and nutmeg, among other things. None of these things I had ever used, and I had no reason to start.


Fast-forward 14 years to the summer of 2009. A friend of mine is a professional cook and sells range-free chickens and eggs from his “Happy Chicken” ranch. I had guests that week, and he gave me a dozen eggs to try. Eggs means cooking, and since I had guest, I felt obligated to feed them. I suggested scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.


I cracked six eggs into a skillet and decided to be creative. I added some mild cheddar cheese, pepper, salt, and a healthy portion of the imitation bacon-flavored bits that I had seen in my cabinet. The scrambled eggs were a big hit, and I fixed them one other time for those two guests. In fact, I got into a scrambled egg habit and finished off the dozen plus two-dozen more over the next month.  


As I was fixing my creative scrambled-egg breakfast for my most recent guest, I got curious about the jar containing the imitation bacon-flavored bits, and looked for an expiration date. The bottom of the jar said, “May 77.”  Oops! Okay, so they expired 32+ years ago. But what supposedly happens when they expire? No one got sick, they tasted fine, and they looked like bits of bacon. From my perspective, what more can one expect of imitation bacon-flavored bits?


I did throw away the Mexene chili power and six of the other antique-looking spices that I don’t use and wouldn't know what do with. I also threw away a can of bread crumbs that I knew to be over 14 years old. But I'm going to keep using the imitation bacon-flavored bits. They are Crown Colony brand, distributed by Safeway stores. I highly recommend them.