Before you conclude the headline for this week's column is a typo, haul out your Swedish dictionary.
By Nan Chapman
Before you conclude the headline for this week’s column is a typo, haul out your Swedish dictionary. In case you don’t have one on hand, allow us to explain. The literal translation for that tongue twisting word is death cleaning. Swedish author Margaret Magnusson suggests that everyone should purge themselves of useless and/or decrepit belongings. If the pasta maker you got for Christmas in 2001 is still in the box, give it to Goodwill. If your kids don’t want Grandma’s silver coffee service, sell it on ebay. If the bridesmaid’s dress you wore in your best friend’s wedding is starting to crumble – time for the non-recyclable bag. The lady down the street decided dostadning was a good idea. However, the first absolutely non-essential, useless item she thought of was a pair of lederhosen her two-year-old son wore for Halloween. (He’s fifty-six now.) They went in the bag – and came back out. She could tell her heart wasn’t quite strong enough. Maybe next month. Somewhat depressed at her lack of resolve, she started sorting out food left from the holidays. Bingo! There were cabinets filled with canned goods that would never be used. Two refrigerators and a freezer groaned with overload of edibles that hadn’t seen the light of day for eons. She would dostad her kitchen. She started with the extra refrigerator which was filled with easy decisions. A bottle of Chinese plum wine began the purge. (When she poured it out, it had the consistency of maple syrup.) A box of baking soda that had calcified and could have been used at the tip of a jackhammer went next. The pace quickened. She would never use those rye groats that had started to sprout at least five years ago. In less than half an hour there was nothing on the shelves but a new box of baking soda, four cans of 7-Up and two recently-received Christmas hams. Good job. The primary refrigerator was more of a challenge. All the deli leftovers were tossed. Three bottles of mango chutney that had lurked behind a plastic container full of coconut and pecans for who knows how long were junked. She was methodical. If there was only a teaspoon of two of anything – it was deep-sixed. (In this category were three ketchup bottles, two jars of grape jelly and several mustard, mayo and bar-b-que sauces.) With a heavy heart she deposited several shriveled limes, lemons, oranges and apples into the garbage disposal. Two mold-encrusted containers of sour cream, a coffee can full of grease used to fry chicken and a cheese ball from Thanksgiving that she had forgotten to serve were thrown out. It was agonizing, but a keen sense of smell helped. In the end the ability to actually find what you were looking for made the scorched earth approach worthwhile. A sparkling clean interior was her reward. The freezer was a piece of cake. After she jettisoned all the unused hamburger and hot dog buns there was little left but some meat, and several boxes of individual breakfast cereals that she keeps on hand for when the grandchildren visit. Bristling with a feeling of accomplishment she tackled the cabinets where she kept canned goods. Bit of a sticky wicket. The creamed corn that said best if used by September of 2002 was easy. She chucked several boxes of pearl tapioca that had come from her mother-in-law’s kitchen. Any pasta that was less than ten years old she kept. Any canned goods that had been purchased before 2010 stayed. The sopapilla and guacamole mixes brought back from New Mexico (in 1997) were obvious castoffs. The three boxes of pistachio pudding mix she bought to fix Watergate cake also exited. A jar of blue-gray pimento-stuffed olives didn’t make the cut. Out went the canned salmon with black ooze on the rim. Would the pineapple tidbits that were only a month past so-called desirability be okay? Such difficult decisions. Discouragement set in. She hadn’t made a dent. She decided to come back and finish later. The smart money is on her returning to the task next January. Happy New Year and good dostadning in 2018. Nan Chapman, of Chillicothe, is a contributing writer whose columns appear regularly in the Constitution-Tribune.