Let it be known throughout the kitchens of the land; November 15th has been designated “Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.” Created by the home economists at Whirlpool Home Appliances in 1999, those savvy consumer educators knew what was lurking in the back of our single and double door refrigerators. They also knew that a week or so shy of Thanksgiving, we needed to don our Hazmat suits, fill our buckets with hot, soapy water and face our fridges. The time was ripe, so to speak, to tackle those nearly empty Kozlik’s Canadian mustard jars, to empty the unlabeled Tupperware in the rear of the left hand corner, to throw away the once-sprightly-now-decomposing herbs lurking in the crisper drawer.
In 1999, if you needed assistance, it was not uncommon to pick up the phone, dial a toll free number and speak with a customer service representative. Up to your elbows in your best yellow rubber gloves, you could cradle your Nokia or Motorola flip phone in one hand while attempting to realign the shelves and crisper drawers with the other.
Over the years, the folks on the receiving end of the toll free line have changed their tune. The hotline has been dismantled, and we’ve been instructed to consult the manuals and literature that accompanied our appliance when it was first delivered. When you’re attempting to put your refrigerator back together without breaking any of the integral parts of the unit, it seems somewhat impractical to remember where those manuals are squirreled away. The unwieldy glass shelves that were easy to remove and scrub down just moments before, now stubbornly refuse to line up within their designated brackets. The door of the refrigerator mostly closes, but doesn’t quite create the airtight seal we are hoping for. This could explain why the home economists at Whirlpool and the customer service representatives at 1-800-FIXMYFRIDGE no longer answer their phones.
On a recent foray into both my double-door refrigerator and below ‘see’ level freezer compartment, I encountered a few items that were frost-bitten and forgotten. Both the trash and the recycle bin welcomed these abandoned foodstuffs with open arms. Some things were salvageable, namely an unopened bag of macadamia nuts that had been frozen for safe-keeping, and a bottle of dark amber maple syrup that had been neglected behind three jars of nut butters. Without being judge-y, please understand that some days call for unsalted peanut butter, while others call for crunchy/salty peanut butter and for some, almond butter is the only way to fly. I’m eyeing the almond butter, hesitant about its shelf life. Since the almond butter couple has relocated to the land of Kozlik’s mustards (where they keep an impeccably tidy refrigerator), I debate whether to keep the almond butter or toss it. There’s enough in the jar for a sandwich or two, and the ‘use by’ date is only gently expired. I’ll keep it for now. Closing the door of the fridge it seals shut, almost.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm