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Letters From the Home Front

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Thanksgiving at our house is known as the day of the home-cooked meal. In preparation for this year's holiday, I was clearing the pantry -- or as we like to call it, the "black hole of mystery." I vaguely recall having undergone this ritual in the past, but my most recent survey of our unused things of food origin reminded me that it may have been awhile. As I closed the kitchen for inventory, it became a game of sorts to see which item was the most resounding testament to my failings on the domestic front. Forgetting that I counted five cans of tomato soup and that no one in the family even likes people who like tomato soup, my chore quickly became sport. I was looking for the oldest "best by" label. The tomato sauce was leading for awhile ("use by Sept. 8, 1996"), as were the pinto beans ("Canned in Mesopotamia"), but these were soon overtaken by the ketchup dating back to Britney Spears' "Toxic" tour. Finally, I had a cle...