Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What's in YOUR fridge?

Every so often, I open up the refrigerator door and something falls out on my foot. The throbbing toe and cursing (“Sweet Gherkin Pickle”) signify one thing and one thing only—it is time to clean out the refrigerator.

I don’t know how we acquire so many leftovers, nor how the plastic resealable containers never seem to fit into the drawers without the lids bunching up, making the drawers impossible to open, but how they do always seem to fit into the refrigerator (as long as there is at least one spoonful of food in them.)

Blame it on my upbringing, but I cannot waste food. I usually eat as much as I can before any given meal is over, which includes finishing off my kids’ plates, just to avoid the possibility of leftovers. But as there is a finite capacity to just how many half-eaten chicken nuggets I can put down, there is always something leftover, which means that last half spoonful of macaroni and cheese gets put into the smallest sealable container we have. Besides, if the kids want a snack later, or tomorrow after school, I figure I can reheat their leftovers from the day before, right?

Wrong! They never want the same thing twice unless it is FRESH! Consequently, leftovers get pushed further and further into the back of the fridge as new ones take their place in the front. This insures only one thing—the things that should be eaten FIRST are at the most inconvenient place, if not hidden in some back, secret area of the fridge behind the sweet gherkin pickles that I didn’t even know we had, which means they, if eaten at all, will likely be eaten LAST. And by LAST, I mean that by the time they are found, since I cannot throw anything away, it will likely be my LAST meal, as I die from some bacteria which has decide to populate that little piece of rib-eye from last month.

Then there’s the milk phenomena. At my house, we drink milk very unpredictably. Some weeks we drink a gallon or two (when the kids want cereal and don’t want to eat their soggy, leftover cereal from yesterday) and some weeks we’ll stare at an unopened quart all week. This means we usually have at least two containers of moo juice in the fridge at one time. The one that is due to expire today is the full gallon on the bottom shelf behind the leftover macaroni, again, hidden by the sweet gherkin pickles (which I am starting to believe is a secret refrigerator agent for the food protection program) and the one that does not expire for another week is the single quart that sits so precariously on the front edge of the top shelf in the refrigerator that it almost pours itself when you open the door (although it does NOT replace its own cap!) What this means is that we are guaranteed to have at least a half gallon of spoiled milk on hand at all times.

It can be kind of fun to actually play, “What WAS that?” when going through the Tupperware dishes.

“Oh, I think that was the leftover broccoli-rice casserole we had at Thanksgiving. I don’t think those green things are broccoli, though.”

In our fridge, if it’s not in storage bins, it’s in Styrofoam “doggie boxes” from restaurants. We typically have two or three of these crammed in the fridge at any given time. The third one, however, can be hard to spot, as the gallon of spoiled milk is SMASHING it down flat behind the sweet gherkin pickles (whose jar is permanently stuck to the surface by some mysterious sticky substance that I hope, although don’t doubt, leaked through the glass jar!) To give you an idea of our methods of preservation, we only eat out once a week, so it’s safe to bet that the French fries in at least one of the doggie boxes are at least three-weeks old, which means that they will require a little bit of extra ketchup to help them go down. Luckily for me, there’s plenty of ketchup to be found on every shelf in half-empty bottles.

At the end of a refrigerator restoration activity, our refrigerator is clean again and my belly is full of a smörgåsbord of leftover cuisine. Oh, I DO manage to throw SOME things away--you don’t expect me to eat squashed Styrofoam, do you?

Now old squash . . . that’s a different story.


Brenda said...

Haha...this reminds me of the fridge at my house - I would try to clean the fridge out, throw things away, and my mom would hurry over to me, panic, and say, "Noo, no no...I'm going to eat that!"

I believed her, left the leftover (whatever) in the fridge, and she never ate them. This happened at least once a week, and I fell for it everytime.

kwkorpi said...

I think we need to have an extra fridge (like we do a freezer) just to store extra leftovers in indefinitely. It could be like our own little science experiment in the garage. We'll need plenty of Arm & Hammer, though.

Anonymous said...

I have the same jar of pickles in my fridge. Is the jar leaking??? What is making it stick to the shelf of the fridge?

kwkorpi said...

You know that glass is an amorphous solid, so it flows, just very, very slowly. This is why window panes on old houses are always thicker toward the bottom.

Perhaps the pickle jar has been in there so long, the glass has had time to "pour" itself onto the shelf.

If this is NOT the explanation, I'd hate to conjecture the alternatives due to the disgusting factor.