Are your eyes deceiving you? If you are in a Caribbean kitchen, probably. If you hear a loud “Ah, come on nah man,” from the direction of the kitchen, or maybe a long “steups,” somebody has opened a container and found something unexpected in a container that is clearly labeled.
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Related: 10 Must Haves Your Trinidadian American Kitchen
This should contain Danish butter cookies. There is a 99% chance that it does not. These tins are notoriously hard to open, so if you have struggled through opening it only to find that there’s not a single cookie (and possibly not anything edible) in the tin can be devastating.
Before you break a nail trying to open one of these, check out this list of things that it could contain…
- Sewing supplies (including many hotel sewing kits that are missing the needle only)
- All manner of nails and screws
- Old business cards and scraps of paper with phone numbers
- Pens that don’t work and unsharpened pencils
- Cookies that aren’t Danish Butter Cookies
- Candy nobody wants
- Extra buttons still in those little zip top bags that come off of jackets and sweaters
- Hair barrettes, bobbles, bubbles, small jar of yellow, blue, or green hair grease or black castor oil, side combs, ribbon, and rat tail combs
- Shoe polish and brushes
- Safety pins, hair pins, and bobby pins
- Small notepads and out of date calendars
- Small zip top bags of dry seasonings
- Allen wrenches and batteries
- Receipts and small window envelopes that came with bills
- Plastic cutlery and straws from fast food restaurants – mostly knives
- Condiments from the takeout – ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, Chinese restaurant mustard, duck sauce, salt and pepper
- Nail clippers and files
- Extra parts from furniture that didn’t actually get used because nobody reads directions
- Masking tape and markers that don’t work
Every now and then at Christmas time, or Thanksgiving if you are in the United States, you will find black cake in this tin. If it is in the tin, you MIGHT not want to touch it… It could be a gift for someone, and I’d hate to see anything bad happen to you if you get caught.
Here are a few other containers that you may find in a Caribbean house (sometimes any house with a person over 28) that may or may not contain what they are supposed to.
At one point, these probably had pickles in it. Maybe not in this decade, but it probably did at some time in history. Now, it has pickled papaya, kuchela, chutney, tamarind sauce, pepper sauce, or prepared seasonings.
This will not contain margarine. It will contain leftovers. Don’t get your hopes up – that butter is long gone.
This will not contain salad dressing. It will contain pepper sauce. If you drown your salad in it you will pay the price.
This will not clean your clothes. Although there’s probably a lot wrong with this practice, this will contain emergency water for washing dishes and stuff, and will not whiten or brighten your clothes at all.
This may not contain cranberry apple juice. It could contain sorrel. If you pour out a cup and the person who made it was saving it, you could be in trouble – this is true whether it is cranberry apple juice or sorrel. If you get caught putting your nose up to it to smell it, don’t close your eyes – someone is probably going to swing on you. You can’t win this one.
This probably doesn’t have fruit punch in it. If it doesn’t look like fruit punch, you’re lucky, you have some idea that what you are pouring isn’t fruit punch. However, it very well could be rum punch, so you could be winning. Again – put your nose up to it to smell it at your own peril. If it is done right, you can smell the rum without leaning in.
What other containers do you find in your house that no longer hold their original contents? Have you ever been UNpleasantly surprised? Tell us in the comments!