Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fridge Follies

Only 10 days have gone by since my last refrigerator purge, and here I am, at it again!  Faced with the scene to the right, I realized I would have to act quickly to avert a chilled foods disaster.  Never one to shy away from reality, I dove right in.

Please note that I have an apple problem.  Not only are those 2 bins filled, but there are also two (count them, TWO) 1/2 bushel bags of apples lying on my kitchen floor.  We did attempt to make a dent in this bounty by cooking up homemade applesauce in the crockpot yesterday.  After peeling and chopping approximately 16,000 apples (which yielded a pitiful 3 quarts of sauce), we were left with two almost full bags of apples still lying on the floor in front of the pantry.

In other words, Apples 1, Suburbancorrespondent 0.  Alas.

I've found it pays to clean out one's fridge more often than, say, once every 6 months.   This exercise in domestic responsibility took me a mere 15 minutes (minus the photography sessions).  What did I find?  Well!  Feast your eyes below:

Yum!  This, my friends, is what happens when you trust perfect strangers that you meet on the Internet.  Jennifer Jo, over at Mama's Minutia, raved the other day about a sweet-and-sour lentil dish she had discovered at a potluck and subsequently prepared for her own family.  Even her husband, an avowed lentil-abstainer, gave the dish a thumbs-up.  Or so she claimed....

Upon reading this testimonial, I jumped up from my computer, grabbed the bag of lentils that always seems to be hanging around in my pantry, and immediately prepared them according to her instructions.  Only, because I was so sure that I could trust Jennifer Jo, I doubled the recipe.  So now I have about a quart and a half of lentils to try to pawn off on the vegetarians next door.  Wish me luck.

Yes, Jennifer, I did act boldly by adding sliced carrots.  I thought the meal would need a little color.  Particularly since I was planning on serving the (brown) applesauce for dessert.

I also found the items over there to the right.  Perched atop the pile of Pyrex is a bottle of acidophilus which expired in September of 2009.  No, I do not know what my problem is.

The glass dish on top contains rice.  But not last night's rice, left over from the lentil debacle.  David was busy preparing fried rice with that.  So this particular specimen must be older.  But neither of us remembers cooking it.  Meaning, someone is coming into my house and leaving old rice in my fridge. 

Makes sense to me...

The other two dishes contain grilled chicken (from Sunday) and salt potatoes (same day).  They represent my desperate attempt to prepare some healthy food on the High Holy Day of Candy.  Only Larry and Anna and I ate any.  The younger set eschewed my nutritious dinner offering in favor of Twizzlers and Rolos.  And who's to say that they made a bad choice?  I mean, aside from our dentist...

Anyway, I consider 5 days to be the max to keep meat.  So I had these for lunch today.  Didn't taste too good, though.  Maybe that should only be 4 days?  Please comment.

So!  Final product there to the left.  Not too bad, eh?  Please note: I've reassigned the celery to the bottom shelf, under the cheesestuffs drawer.  The eggs have been moved to the middle shelf so I can see when I am running out.

I put a lot of thought into these things, people.

The more eagle-eyed among you will notice that I've allowed some Kraft deli meat to infiltrate the cheesestuffs drawer.  I'd rather not let that happen; but it is tough to stay pure in this world.  I did, however, kick out the tortillas that sneaked in there.  And now I can't find them at all.  Alas!

That open jar of tomato sauce on the leftover shelf?  Look for it in the throwaway pile next week.  It is doomed.


  1. You are a brave woman to be able to live without the fuzzy comfort of month-old Something in the fridge.

    I bet you're gonna go for closets next. Or maybe even a child's dresser drawer.


  2. Take the apples out to the garage or in the basement if it's cool there. You need that extra fridge space!

    Open red sauce? Freeze it in the glass bottle it came in and microwave it when you're ready for it. I don't know how you live without the space your dry goods take up. I'd risk bugs again and put them in the pantry. I had a nasty infestation once but in the past ten years it hasn't happened again. If so, throw it all out, but enjoy the space for now.

  3. Oh dear. I have failed you. Woe is me! (Wait a sec while I pile ashes on my head and rend my fleece.)

    So, um, maybe lentils aren't for you and yours? I think I would've loved the addition of carrots. But apparently I am made of less discerning stuff...

    It so happens that I've been thinking about the lentils CONSTANTLY and once I beat this cold and get back in the kitchen, I want to make another pot---and this time it will be a double batch, too, mark my words!

  4. Your witty posts and commitment to hard work have inspired me to clean out my own refrigerat . . . ooh Us magazine is here

  5. That top photo looks perfectly normal to me, and I agree with your rice theory. Perhaps that would also explain the bottle of acidophilus -- because, hello? I didn't see it in the photo from your last fridge post, therefore it did not exist!

    My kids are not lentil eaters, either. What they don't realize is that when SuperDad retires in 8 months, they are going to be living off lentils.

  6. Yeah, ok, so my fridge... yeah let's not go there. I am ashamed.

  7. I managed to get our refrigerator completely clean a few months ago.

    Mostly because the refrigerator died, and we had to get a new one.
    I have two kids who were pretty happy about how they got off the hook for cleaning the spilled dill relish in the fridge, and the mess made when the can of Coke exploded in the freezer.

  8. You need a food mill. Then you don't have to peel/core apples before cooking.
    I also tried to squeeze in nutrition before candy. Sweet potato fries were summarily rejected. My six year old actually gagged, and the three year old wouldn't touch them. I didn't let her have them until the next day. I'm a Halloween Scrooge.

  9. I have an apple list running through my mind--a la the shrimp list in Forrest Gump. Baked apples, apple pie, apple Brown Betty . . .

  10. I never peel my apples to make applesauce! I cut each apple four times (around the core) and chunk it into a huge pot with a little water (and maybe a cinnamon stick - or add ground cinammon later) - cook on medium until it is mushy, then puree/blend a bit with my immersion blender - sometimes you see teeny tiny apple peel bits, but you can't really tell! If you use red apples, it makes it a pretty pink color that my little ones love :)

  11. I will second the recommendation for a food mill. Just think, instead of all that peeling and coring, just wash, destem and quarter the apples. Boil into mush, sieve through the food mill, and you're there. When I'm making bulk applesauce I just fill a kettle or two every night until I'm done. You can go through a bushel of apples in under a week.

    And then to freeze it, put a freezer bag in one of your common sizes of container. Fill with applesauce. Freeze. Pop brick of applesauce out of container, which is then available for reuse and not tied up being full of applesauce. When you go to defrost it you can put it back in the original (or a larger) container.

    And. I really envy your clean fridge. Mine is full of odds and ends of stuff my husband stuck in there, and has no idea now what they are or when they went in there.

    And I've frequently eaten meat at five days or even older. If the flavor isn't good, pour a sauce on it. (Note I'm not talking about stuff that actually smells or tastes *spoiled*- that's different.)

  12. I just conquered our apples over here. Now I feel terrible about the rest of my fridge after looking at yours.

  13. I'm jealous, your fridge looks so much nicer than mine...

  14. smiles. it can be scary what you find in the back of the refrigerator

  15. This is something I totally identify with, and I love the way you write about it! I gave you one of my weekly awards which you can collect anytime you like!

    Why is there always an open jar of tomato sauce at the back of the fridge???

  16. Could I get you to come clean my fridge?

  17. Your fridge looks perfect! Something needs to spill inside it or something. I don't know about you, but it will make me feel better.