The funny thing about vacations is the way they bring out my inner neat freak. I mean, the luxury of all this time around the house inevitably has me cleaning closets, bleaching the under-the-sink cabinet, and scrubbing out the fridge.
And all this cleaning and organizing can lead to some interesting self-reflection.
For example, earlier this morning I found myself contemplating the door to my fridge.
Wow. You wanna talk Chaos Theory? Here it is in all its glory.
I think that the door of my fridge is like the junk drawer of my inner life.
All the important stuff (milk, chicken, cold cuts, goat cheese, apples, eggs…..) is in the main part of the fridge. Some of them (like the fruits and veggies) even get their own special drawers and shelves. I know where to go when I need to grab the yogurt or the bread or the salad ingredients.
The same can be said for the rest of my kitchen. I know exactly where to go to locate the flour, the sugar, the paprika. I know where the bags of rice are stored (arborio, jasmine, brown). I can find the peanut butter, the Nutella, the tea and coffee and the chocolate chips. There is a set place for the pasta (spaghetti, rotini, ditalini, farfalle,orzo,lasagna,ziti, mostaccioli). There is a shelf for the canned foods (crabmeat, clams, tomato paste and beans) and a shelf for the snacks (cookies, crackers, rice cakes, popcorn).
Don’t even get me started on the spices. Grouped by type, arranged on tiered shelves. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
Until I look at the door of my refrigerator, and all bets are off.
What does it say about me that the bottom shelf of the fridge door contains a bottle of white wine, a half full quart of buttermilk, a jar of martini olives and three kinds of mustard? Move up a shelf, and you’ll find a squeeze bottle of Sriracha, a jar of pickled ginger, some hoisin sauce, a tube of harissa sauce and sweetened lime juice. There is small jar of olive tapenade, a plastic bottle of horseradish, real maple syrup, two jars of yeast and a quarter bottle of Worcestershire sauce. There’s butter (salted and sweet) and jars of strawberry, raspberry and apple jam. A rolled up, halfway dried out cream cheese packet and three kinds of pickles.
As I looked it all over, I decided that I should throw some of it away. So I spent the next hour taking things out and putting them back. Blue cheese stuffed olives? You never know when I might crave a dirty Vodka martini! Hot mustard, sweet mustard, horseradish mustard? Well, we do have sandwiches for lunch most days. Harissa…I hardly ever use it, but it reminds me of Tunisia. I want it!
Eventually, everything was cleaned up, the shelves were wiped and cleared and it was all put back.
Does this…….creative display of oddball food items mean that I am an exciting chef? Or a food hoarder? Does it mean that I hate to waste or that I love to be adventurous in my eating?
Am I a slob, or a bon vivant?
I don’t know! But as I make myself a lovely snack of olive tapenade with cream cheese on rye bread, I’d invite you to check out your own fridge door. If everything is up to date and enormously useful in your daily life, please don’t tell me. But if you find an interesting combination of pickled onions and maraschino cherries, drop me a note, will you please?