Refrigerator management

Crack! Silence. Crack! Silence. Mmmmm. Crack! Silence. This is the approximate sequence by which Mark and I eat crab legs. There is no talking while eating crab legs. The business of cracking the shell, extracting the meat and dipping it generously into melted butter requires the utmost concentration. The sad fact is we are watching CNN’s coverage of the Gulf oil disaster while we are eating crab. The irony of that is not lost on us. But we eat on.

I would like to speak to you tonight about refrigerator management. Eating crab legs is directly associated with refrigerator management. Crab legs wait for no man. Or woman. You cannot let them sit in the refrigerator for a week and then decide you have a hankering for crab legs.

This is how my refrigerator looks right now, exactly as I am writing this. I have not altered a single thing to make it look pretty. And I know it doesn’t. But let’s go shelf by shelf. Note that there is one – one – leftover container on the top shelf. This is because as I was warming up the crab legs I was methodically throwing out any leftover that had been there more than one week. Mark and Noah are not sensitive to the one-week rule. They can go almost a month before declaring a leftover hazardous to their health. It’s a wonder they’re still alive.  Second shelf – two cartons of eggs from my friend,  Bobbie Cox. Eggs last a really long time in the refrigerator. Many people do not know this. Under that is the cheese drawer. It usually contains deli meat, too, but Noah ate all that.

Last shelf. More eggs. I know. But we’ll eat them. And wine. Wine lasts forever if you buy it by the box. It actually lasts about a day and a half in my refrigerator so freshness is never an issue. And iced tea. Lasts forever. Milk? The carton was there, but after milk is three days overdue, it goes down the drain. Please note the refrigerator door is jammed with condiments. They last a long time.

You might think from this that I throw out food willy nilly. I do not. I hate waste, especially of anything that gave its life to wind up as a leftover in my refrigerator. But I also hate to see a refrigerator so crammed with containers that inevitably something will end up towards the back until it begins emitting an odor. Just as everything else in life, refrigerators must be managed.

Now here’s the best tip of the day, I promise. When something does manage to go south and I can’t flush it down the disposal, I freeze it. This works well with moldy cheese in particular. Then when trash day comes – mine is Thursday – just throw out the frozen stuff. It will not thaw before the garbageman gets here.

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