September 20, 2002
Every family has designated one person to be
responsible for the worst job in the house.
Collecting the garbage? Phish. Hardly worth
Cleaning the toilet (including the floor way
in behind the bowl). A comparative walk in the park.
Scooping up the yard after a large German
shepherd with a fondness for Mexican food? Close, but no cigar.
No, the worst job in the house is being the
one who has to root through the fridge in search of food well past
its prime. And I'm not saying that just because that job falls to
Between a hectic schedule and a brain turned
to mush by the incessant and unreasonable demands of a six month
old, it's impossible in our house to keep an inventory of the food
in the fridge. This results in two things. The first is duplication.
No matter when I go to the store I always seem to think that we're
out of butter. As a result, we now have eight or nine bricks of
butter in the fridge. With all those gold wrappers, it's starting to
look like the vault at Fort Knox in there.
The second consequence of not knowing what's
in the fridge is loosing track of the leftovers. Different members
of our household have their own approach to the issue of leftovers.
Personally I have never been a fan of leftovers. As far as I'm
concerned, food is edible from the moment it's ready until the
second it's cold. And then it goes right into the garbage. Before
you say: "How wasteful", I do my utmost when cooking to
get the portions just right so there aren't any leftovers.
I like to think that by refusing to save
leftovers I'm simply cutting out the middleman. As far as I'm
concerned the fridge is just a two week lay-over on the way to the
My wife on the other hand likes leftovers,
or at least can't bear to part with them. Everything left over from
dinner goes into little plastic bags or tubs and gets stashed in the
freezer or fridge. "I'll have it for dinner some night when
you're out," is the usual reply to the face I make as three
peas, a meatball and a spoonful of macaroni go into a margarine tub
like some sort of malnourished time capsule. I can't help but
imagine that anything that ends up in the freezer is being
cryogenically frozen until that time in the future when we're more
advanced and we have finally found a cure for leftovers.
Leftovers tend to linger in our fridge.
After all, there's no hurry to eat them since they're already
cooked, and they're really only being kept in case of an emergency
shortage of food. As long as there is something better to eat,
they'll keep getting pushed to the back of the shelf until some
brave soul (me) takes the bull by the horns and finally tosses it
out before we get accused of producing biological weapons.
So whether it's leftovers or old odd food I
get to be the heartless one, garbage bag in one hand and holding my
nose with the other, sorting my way through the shelves. The night
before garbage day the unidentifiable remains of meals gone by are
the first to go. An excavation of the freezer usually yields a few
forgotten frozen morsels, half embedded in the frost like woolly
mammoths, and almost as tasty. And if I'm really on a tear I'll even
start going through the weird jar food.
So if you'll excuse me, I swear there's a
jar of capers that's been in there since the Trudeau years and is
now probably safe to throw out.