It’s a long holiday weekend for many here in the U.S., what with July 4 on a Tuesday (thus, many office workers also got Monday off.) I’m going completely random today, we’ll see if anyone shows up to read this. Let’s talk about how much food you keep in your fridge.
I spent some quality time dealing with the refrigerators of two dear friends here recently – one needed help with triage after her fridge failed, and another I was helping reorganize and discard out of date food in her fridge and cabinets (why, yes, we’re very good friends!) I got a peek at a third (single) friend’s very full fridge. This got me thinking about our wide range of relationships with food and the fridges (and, okay, pantries and cabinets) that house them.
When I had a houseful of kids — and, often, their friends — there were absurdities like five gallons of milk in there, but even then I kept an organized and not overly full fridge. I have some deep aversion to the idea of food being spoiled or wasted, which happens if it’s packed to the gills.
I have single friends or couple-friends who nonetheless keep their fridges very full, with a variety of all kinds of fabulous things, and I’m assuming some of that stuff is going to wind up tossed out before they get to it, but I could be wrong. I figure a full fridge gives them the same kind of comfort a largely empty fridge gives me these days, right? It’s about control on some level?
Because, by and large, my fridge looks like I must be on vacation elsewhere. I’ll cook for the day and some leftovers, or I’ll get pre-made stuff from Whole Foods, or I’ll have a sandwich or an omelet. I can walk to
three four grocery stores, and there are even more within a 10 minute drive, so I shop frequently and according to whim. This calculus would totally change if I had any sort of a real drive to do my food shopping. (Also, this calculus did change during COVID lockdown, when I stashed a lot more non-perishable groceries in the house.)
My dry goods and spices here are not extensive – to be fair, partly because I keep moving. But seeing a lot of food stored gives me stress rather than comfort, because I’m not admiring the bounty – instead I’m thinking about what needs to be used up next before it goes bad. What about your condiments? Man, I can’t have five jars of mustard going at once. Although you’d think, based on looking in my fridge, that I’d be tossing out some of those preserves and jams eventually, and you would be wrong, because I eat a hilarious amount of jams and preserves with butter and toast, or mixed into my plain yogurt. It’s definitely getting eaten, no ancient jar of raspberry preserves going moldy over here.
Let me pause here for some clarification: if it’s not my fridge, it’s not my problem, and also not judged by me. I don’t look in other people’s overstuffed fridges and think, whoa noooo. I will add, though, that I’m pretty sure I’ve been quietly judged by a friend or two who’s looked in my fridge and clearly expected it to have more food in there.
So. Are you a full fridge person, or not so much? Are you the sort of person who’d look in your fridge and decide what you’re having for dinner based on what needs to be used up in there? I do that a lot – quiche is a good way to use bits of various veg and cheese, and also stew, and those are both in regular rotation in my kitchen.
Or are you more the sort of person who buys … whatever you buy, you eat what you’re in the mood for, and if that means you’re tossing items from the fridge because you never got around to using up that jar of tomato sauce or those green onions, so be it?
Do non-U.S. countries have our giant fridges? I’m guessing … not? I have a fridge the size of the one I grew up with, which is now considered small, but it’s huge compared to the few fridges I’ve seen abroad. The fridges I saw in Paris lent credence to the notion that people were shopping for the day’s meals, not stockpiling at Costco.
Your turn! What’s going on in your fridge these days? Fuller? Emptier? And why do you think that is?
images via Pexels