My Refrigerator

1334745229-800pxMy refrigerator is where the best of intentions go to die.

It works like this.  Whenever I steer my grocery cart past the produce section, my wife calls me back.

“We need to eat better,” she says.

“You always say that,” I complain, “ and every week we end up tossing out spoiled fruit and rotten vegetables.”

She frowns because she hates to waste food.  “All the more reason for you to eat what we buy,” she says.

“I eat what I buy,” I argue, “have you ever seen me waste a Dorito?”

She shudders at the thought of me wrestling the dog for a dropped chip. 

“We need to eat better,” she repeats.  And that is that.

At least in my opinion, the best of intentions should be left as no more than intentions. Forcing ourselves to do what we do not want to do, wears the word ‘best’ right off the word ‘intention’.  It destroys our willingness to repeat the experience.  So to preserve intentions as their best, we must never put them at risk.

Especially when we are talking about fruits and vegetables.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the occasional apple, orange or banana but I never developed the habit of eating them regularly, so they eventually rot in the refrigerator.

The thing is, I also hate to see food go to waste and it is this tension between eating what I am not willing to eat and the unwillingness to waste that my wife hopes to exploit.

So whenever I open the refrigerator, I must confront the withering gaze of a puckered orange or the contemptuous squint of an over-ripe apple. It is a terrible burden to bear and while guilt may guide me to a healthier place, it is not healthy to be stressed by it.

So whenever my wife goes out of town, I take a long vacation from reproach. I buy a couple of cases of beer and stock up on salsa and chips.  If I feel like eating healthy, I supplement my usual fare with a big crock of pickled herring or a fat tube of summer sausage just to make sure I get my vitamins. 

Before her last trip, she asked me, “Why don’t you feast on carrots rather than chips?”

“I prefer chips,” I said.

“You should avoid the sodium.”

Of course she was right – so I resolved to put a salt-free week on my best of intentions list.

“I watched you chow down on the veggie tray at the wedding last week,” she said “so I picked up a few things at the store.”

She directed me to look in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator, where I was confronted by several bundles of celery, a couple bags of mini-carrots and numerous heads of broccoli and cauliflower

“You can make your own veggie tray,” she said.

So that is what I did – but I found it less than satisfying.  I recalled feasting on vegetables at the wedding but something was missing.  What could it be?

DIP!!  

So I raced to the store and frantically wheeled my cart toward the freezers where I discovered a cornucopia of dip.  I bought dill dip,  jalapeno dip, sesame sweet potato dip, pumpkin seed dip, avocado-anchovy dip and a big plastic container of french onion dip as a back-up in case I ran out of the exotics. 

Oooooooh, that was so good.

OMG!” she said upon her return,  “do you know how unhealthy that dip is?”

“Hey,” I said, “I was eating carrots.”

She wasn’t buying it. “This,” she said, aiming a container at the trash, “will stop your heart.”

“Hey,” I said, “waste not, want not….”

She wasn’t buying that either.

Author: Almost Iowa

www.almostiowa.com

50 thoughts on “My Refrigerator”

  1. Pickled herring: food of the gods. It’s funny — even without a calendar, I know when Christmas is coming, because I’m overcome with an irresistable urge to eat herring. If I could find a decent Swedish deli, I’d be eating sylta and potatiskorv, too. I can’t even find someone who’ll ship that stuff. Sigh.

    The chips and dip business brings memories of my mother. More times than you might imagine, I’d get a nine o’clock call from her, pleading for me to make a nighttime run to the store to get some French onion dip and chips. I always did. What could be worse than being 85 and not able to just run to the store? Note to self: always live in a town that provides grocery delivery, for those of us without kids to call to make those runs.

    1. You got to be careful with that Swedish food. My parents used to live on Lake Pokegama near Pine City. It is a beautiful lake – but a river runs through it. Which might be great in Montana but not Minnesota because that means carp – and lots of them.

      Every couple of years, an outfit would arrive at Lake Pokegama in mid-winter and chop big holes in the ice. They would then run cables across large sections of the lake and draw massive nets toward the shore. As the net tightened, guys in hip boot would toss huge rapidly freezing carp into wooden boxes and load them onto trailers – bound for Duluth and a waiting steamer to take them to Sweden.

      They weren’t making dog-food.

  2. I wage this war with myself and have no one else to blame. So I’ve learned a few things. I buy no more than 1-2 pieces of fruit. If I eat those, I can go back to the store for more. If I buy greens, I plan my meals around them (Ramen noodles with spinach and kale is my go-to supper). I don’t like raw vegetables, but I can put frozen veggies in just about everything I make and feel good about it. I never buy in bulk. I might as well buy the extra box of garbage bags if I do that, because it will end up there. I’ve reduced the waste and still eat pretty healthy (if you don’t count the chocolate peanut clusters I just finished).

    1. I am with you on that. I go through cycles where I will develop a taste for a particular fruit. For weeks, I will buy bananas and cut them up into my cereal then it is onto oranges. Now it is tart apple season… but if we buy apples during my banana mania – they will go to waste if my wife doesn’t eat them.

    1. Ah, Ramen Noodles: the Mac and Cheese of the college crowd. It is all I ate in college. If it wasn’t for beer, I would have died of malnutrition.

      He is onto something there with the beanie whinnies and Vienna sausage.

  3. lol- love your writing style! Also I’m the same way. I load up on healthy fruits and vegetables with a few bags of popcorn and chips and frozen meals and at the grocery aisle I smile at the checkout person as if to say “Yes as you can see I’m superior to everyone else here”, and then a week later all the fruit and veg has gone bad and the bags of chips are empty and licked clean.

    1. Our small town grocer used to run the video business and has adopted that model. At the check-out, we ring-up all of our healthy stuff then slip around the back for the “behind the counter” stuff. It works remarkably well, our town has been written up by the national media as one of the “Ten most healthy places in America”. [pass the Cheetos, please]

  4. When they say “We need to eat better”, there’s only one thing that means. I am going to spend twice as much for the same stuff I would normally get at the grocery store.

  5. The stuff that comes out of the refrig is sometimes scary. I can’t tell if it was healthy for consumption at one point in the last decade but I know I don’t want to find out. Maybe that’s the trick. Maybe that’s where the chops should be stored.

  6. What can I saw when I buy 5 lbs of fresh carrots every week & they’re gone by day 5! Not to even mention fresh broccoli, brussel sprouts, zucchini, tomatoes & cabbage! We are a family of 4 (2 humans, 2 canines). Doritos are really good, I caved and ate a few years ago! Love your War stories! Chryssa

    1. Brussel sprouts? That is where I draw the line. 🙂

      As for zucchini, we live in a zucchini control district. The stuff grow crazy in our soils. You find it in the roadside ditches. The same with squash. I don’t eat it in salads but I LOVE zucchini bread.

  7. It’s all about moderation. A few handfuls of veggies at a wedding where you are otherwise bored to tears, is moderation. Several bags of carrots in the fridge, sitting dipless next to a head of cauliflower, is a homework assignment. I ate a handful of cherry tomatoes, off the vine, every time I took the dog out this past summer. I think that more than makes up for the odd bag of beef jerky, the Doritos and however much beer I drank. Moderation is key.

    1. I desperately need sympathy… This blog is but a lonely cry for help – which is why I am throwing a pity-party this Friday. Chips and beer will be provided: bring your own vegetables.

  8. I’ve found that the only way to force myself to eat better is to ONLY buy the healthy food. I must give myself no other options. For if there is a tray of brownies in my house, I will be eating them for breakfast.

    1. Ice cream. It’s what’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if its in this house, so I just don’t buy it. When I bought a quart, it disappeared far more quickly than it should have. No more details, lest I make my shame public.

  9. As my old mum used to say, ‘Everything in moderation’ – not that I ever applied that rule…rather like the idea of wrestling a dog for a chip! Trust you don’t have a pitball!

  10. Almost Iowa, another VERY engaging post from your perpetual/amicable spouse “wars.” My favorite hilarious line: “I might supplement my usual fare with a big crock of pickled herring or a fat tube of summer sausage just to make sure I get my vitamins.” Vitamins H and S!

    1. Our squabbles are a rich vein of humor to mine – but there is something else going on here. Most of us see our better selves in our spouses, it is why we both love them and fight with them.

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