Throughout childhood I seemed to spend a lot of time with my head inside their fridge wondering what I could eat than what I did talk. I no longer recall the items that may have been in my parents fridge, other than the fat tin and a pound of Lard. Oh, and milk of course was kept in the fridge – back in the days of milk bottles and a milk man and milk crates. Hell, even before the introduction of ‘blue top’ milk ie homogenised. All milk was ‘silver top’ for years. I think I was around the age of 9 when milk tokens were introduced as a measure to stop
people kids, stealing milk money from the milk bottles that were left at the mailbox usually.
I’ve been the proud owner of three refrigerators over the course of my life. The only thing I remember about my first fridge is that one of my cats figured out how to open the door, the dog would drag the food out and together with my other cat, they would have a feast – that is until I bought tinned food for them which I duly left sitting on the floor in the kitchen with the tin opener and wishing them all the best of luck each night as I headed off to bed. I’ve always been a little on the quirky side of life like that.
My second fridge came along many many years after the first. I don’t even know what happened to the first fridge after 1995. I’ve pretty much lived with people or did without a fridge in the times I’ve lived alone until 2009.
Ahh yes. 2009 was really the beginning of a new life for me. I bought an old fridge freezer from a friend of a friend for $80 and it lasted me well. I had no issues knowing what to put in the freezer compartment. Things like chicken, mince, sausages etc … However I had absolutely no clue what to buy to put into the fridge. I had stopped drinking milk some years before. 2008-9 was the time NZ Cheese hit record prices per kilogram. I remember 1kg blocks of cheese costing as much as $12. I didn’t buy cheese for 3 years.
In an effort to “be healthy” and in all my infinite wisdom, I decided it would be a great idea to fill the shelves on the fridge door with sauces and relishes etc. I remember taking a photo to show my friends. I felt so proud that I’d finally figured out what to put inside my fridge. I felt so proud in fact, that I’d not even given thought to my extreme dislike of sauces and relishes and so the various shaped bottles with all the fancy coloured labels and wordings eventually got thrown out, every single one of them unopened.
When I started working in various homes in my district I often checked out the contents of their fridges when I could rest assured that I was alone in their houses. I’d either memorise various brands and items or write them down. The people I worked for were almost high end sort of folk which helped me trust that the food in their fridges wasn’t loaded with sugars or preservatives. I also found out soon enough, nor were their food choices cheap.
I began to experiment with the food stuffs I was buying based on my employers fridges. I didn’t last too long trying to live like a high end person. I was missing all the trappings of where to buy their food stuffs from. I didn’t always know what to do with the sorts of food they bought. And then I discovered Pam’s Butter Chicken Sauce, like on my own. For three years, I kid you not, I had 2 chicken drumsticks, half a jar of Pam’s Butter Chicken Sauce and 500gms of frozen vegetables every single night. More to that, dinner was my only meal of the day 9/10’ths of the time.
Alas, all things do eventually come to an end. My second fridge freezer stopped working earlier this year. Actually, the fridge had pretty much been useless for a while so it wasn’t until the freezer stopped working that I was forced to do something about it.
My new – like brand spanking outta the box new, fridge freezer is erm, ok. The freezer component is way smaller than what I’ve ever had before and it’s taken some time, anxiety and trust that I can manage the size chop. At first, I felt pretty pissed off that again, I was having to fork out for a freaking fridge component which 3/4’s of it I had absolutely no fucking use for. I would have rather have had a freezer the size of my fridge and the fridge the size of my freezer. I wonder who I have to talk to about that.
And for around 3 long months, that poor fridge had a lonely and empty existence. Well, not any more baby! Check out the latest photo of what my fridge looks like most weeks now. What a remarkable difference!
From left to right and top shelf to bottom: Up and Go, Tomatoes, Pumpkin and Avocado. Second shelf has ice cube trays. Next shelf has Alfa Alfa Sprouts, Carrots, Zucchini and Cucumber. Lastly, it’s my stash of Silver Beet. I LOVE Silver Beet.
Today I bought Red Lentils, Brown Lentils, Pinto Beans and Black Turtle Beans. I also bought some Epsom Salts and Soda Ash. I have a stash of Chickpeas. I bought all these things from Steve’s Whole Foods. I felt pretty bummed out though when I got to Pak’n’Save to discover they’d sold out of Tahini Sauce. I had planned to make Humus. I was so looking forward to saying goodbye to Margarine forever this weekend. I then felt even more annoyed with myself as I forgot to stop at New World on the way home to buy some there.
AND one of the biggest things that for me is just tremendous is, I have no anxieties about my fridge being this full. Ah! I’ve just realised I missed an important part of this story. Another reason I’ve maintained an empty fridge over the years is so I don’t feel under pressure to consume the entire contents in one evening. I used to have massive anxieties surrounding food being in my fridge. The easiest way to manage those overwhelming fears of either being found out to have food that I ought not have or punishing myself using food or not have food at all etc was simply to not have the pressure of food being in the fridge at all.
And that’s what I meant above saying that I have no anxieties surrounding my fridge looking like it does now. I am so proud of myself. I see this as being one of the major accomplishments of my career as a human being.
Another piece of self-parenting that I’ve been learning is that it really is okay to eat what’s in my fridge because the very next week, I go and buy more vegetables to put in the fridge. I am beginning to comprehend the process of buying food, cooking food, eating food, replacing food – over the span of a week. And when I get it wrong and the vegetables don’t look right no more well, there’s always a very appreciative Emmalyne ♥ ready to take up the slack for me.
I am 46 years of age and this stuff is making sense to me at last. More power to me!