Also in the sniff and taste category, there’s chocolate. While chocolate, stored in a cool, dry place – never, never the refrigerator – will keep for at least a year, milk and white chocolate have shorter shelflives. It’s the milk solids. I’ve only had bad chocolate twice and each time it was milk chocolate and each time I was surprised.
And don’t forget spices – they need the sniff test. While spices don’t go bad, they do lose their oomph over time. If you have to strain to get a whiff of spice, you’re never going to get the flavor of the spice. Toss it!
Finally, there’s everything dairy. I never pour a drop of milk without smelling it first and, of course, I do the same with cream. But my big concern is butter. As with chocolate, it’s rare that butter will be hanging around long enough to go bad, but it doesn’t take long for butter to pick up unpleasant odors in the refrigerator. It’s a magnet for every funky smell. Make sure that your butter is well wrapped and far from the Camembert. And the onions. And the barbecued brisket.
And if any of these things go bad – I hope you’re further from the camera than I was.