Monday Moose Tip #2 The Refrigerator

The Refrigerator:

I clean it out once a week,  no matter what.  I believe I was scarred as a child.  When we opened my mother’s fridge (and even today) we are not quite sure what is edible…and what is a science experiment.  The big joke was, “You taste it.”  So between the mystery food, Christmas decorations (more on that in therapy and a later article) and cleaning doorknobs, my mother has made a profound impact on me and some of my OCD behavior.

Sunday or Monday is my day to bail out the fridge and see what is workable for my week.  Yes, there has been a time or two that I missed something.  Unfortunately, my sister got a hold of one of those oversights. Boy, was she was mad at me!  Her statement was somewhere along the lines of, “I never have to worry about your refrigerator! How did I know to check it?!”  Take note, the eater must always beware…

I also straighten out the pantry after every grocery shop (again, influenced by my mother’s pantry-another frightening experience).  My pantry is organized by category and all of the labels face out.  Foods that the children are allowed to get for themselves are on the lower shelves for easy access.   Two major pet peeves of mine are the empty box with 2 crackers in them hanging out on the shelf like it is full and 12 open cereal boxes (this goes for chips too).  My remedy is to shake all suspicious boxes (then gripe at my husband) and to place all cereal and chip stock on the highest shelves.  This makes foiling my plan especially difficult for the small people who live here because our pantry ceiling is 11 feet tall.   A ladder is almost mandatory to reach the highest shelf.  However, there have been a few times my son, who is also a monkey, has scaled the walls  to reach his favorite cereal.   The true pantry offender is 6 feet tall and doesn’t need a ladder to access his snack attack choices.  He doesn’t care if 12 boxes of cereal are open or if there are only crumbs in the bottom of 6 chip bags…he likes “variety” and that is a “perfect snack for later.”   I know that he is up to something when I hear crunching from the pantry…and the door is closed…and the lights are out.  A SNEAK SNACK ATTACK!

It is very important for me that the pantry and fridge to be in order. I do not follow recipes,  I cook .  I have a simple process:  I look in the fridge, I look in the freezer and I look in the pantry.  By scoping out what is available,  I can put a full meal together and assess what we need from the store.  My husband hates it!  He cannot stand that hardly anything I cook can be replicated and there have been times that some of my food experiments have gone awry.  He approaches his meals with cautious optimism. While most meals are a success, if we have had a supreme failure, he will eat it but at the end of the meal he will say, “Don’t ever make that again!”  Not too long ago, I made a dish that  was really bad…we opted for plan B –cereal!  Most of the time the eats are pretty good. If my husband really enjoyed it, he will politely ask me to write down the recipe before I forget. I don’t have a good track record with that exercise.

Really, he should consider himself lucky. He comes from a family where EVERYONE is a great cook and baker (I hear about it all of the time). They make the best pies, roast, cookies, soup  etc..   I had a super-grandma who could cook like a rockstar….but my mom…she had her own interpretation of cooking. In fact, at one meal time she made dinner 3 times! Then we ordered pizza. The fire department knows exactly where she lives – once we saw them twice in one day.  And her palette enjoys burnt things: burnt cookies, toast, meat…yup, burnt is a seasoning at her house.  I had to laugh last night because I made meatballs for my kids and had seared the outside of the meat to crunchy perfection and over toasted the garlic bread (mildly I would like to add, it only had a little black on the edges) and my son said I was cooking “ala Grams”!  I can’t say too much about it though…I do like almost burnt peanut butter cookies and please don’t give me a mushy chocolate chip cookie – I like that caramelized, very well-done flavor that mom always produced (thanks mom)!

I hope you have great kitchen adventures this week. I have to go burn some cookies….  Oh– and for all of those crumbs at the bottom of the chip bag, save them and use as your crunchy topping for tuna or chicken casserole!


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