When I was a teenager I ran my own cleaning service. Okay, so it was just me saying “Hey, I’ll clean your windows for gas money”, but it was technically a business. I learned one thing very quickly. People, as a general rule, are disgusting. They aren’t just a little messy. People you would normally look at in your daily life as “good people”, you know, the God-fearing type that dress neatly and clean, with nice perfume and aftershave… those very same people, when you look in their fridge are died-in-the-wool slobs.
It delights me to say that on this very day my fridge is relatively clean. If you had asked three days ago you would’ve found out that I had leftover gravy from Thanksgiving still in a Tupperware container that I’d forgotten to throw out. There were also two pie crusts that I was going to make one day, only that day never came and the pie crust spoiled. What a shame really. Pie would’ve been nice. There was also some prepared lettuce in a bag that had gone bad. I threw those all away a couple of days ago, so the inside of my fridge contains what belongs there. There’re a dozen eggs, fresh, mind you, or as fresh as the store sells them. (Just as a side note: Eggs from a store are not really “fresh”. They can be up to two weeks old before you buy them. I’d kill for a truly fresh egg.) There is some old grape jelly that probably could be thrown away however, it’s technically still good and will work for making meatballs or something. There’s ketchup, mustard, pizza and soy sauce on the door along with what remains of a gallon milk that my husband drinks daily and I rarely touch. There’s Crisco for those rare times I make pancakes and there’s insulin for my diabetes where eggs are supposed to go. There’s a drawer full of cheese because my husband really likes cheese and a half-dozen or so oranges in the crisper. There’s a handful of onions in case I actually get inspired to cook something when I’m not busy writing.
Next comes my husband’s favorite area. There’s enough yogurt for him to take to work for lunch and there’s butter and lots and lots of butter. He’s a butter-a-holic, I think. If there isn’t a minimum of three pounds of butter in there at all times his hands start to shake. I’ve told him that this is really very silly because keeping butter for long periods of time just makes it deteriorate, so we should only keep one or two pounds at any given time, but he trowels that stuff on a sad piece of toast as if he’s coating the QE2. It’s butter, not paint, but you can’t tell him anything. If he keels over from a coronary at some point, I’ll know that it’s butter that did him in.
In the recesses of the fridge, there are things I keep in there. There’s a package of cornstarch in case I get a wild hair and decide to make gravy from scratch. There’re red and green candied cherries. They can go years without spoiling and are really expensive, so I keep them in there for when I make the German Christmas classic, Stollen, which is a candied citrus bread. There’s no point in throwing them out since it’ll be years before I attempt to make the next batch of Stollen. And deep, deep in the back of the fridge, there is probably one sad, solitary jar of dill pickles that are just for me. I know I shouldn’t have them. They’re a sure-fire road to destruction for me and a secret passion, but I keep them in there to remind me of times gone by when I’d eat a full jar all in one sitting while watching TV and not realizing that life was passing me by and I was filling my veins with sodium chloride. Again, they’ll go years before they go bad, so why not live a little and keep them in stock.
The contents of my fridge, I realize, are really quite sad. Upon this writing, I recognize I need to eat more fruits and veggies! Oh, I forgot the half-bag of carrots and hummus. They count!