I do enjoy looking in other people’s fridges … They are places of privacy. Our failed experimental marinades, still “good” in theory if not fact. Our self-improvement attempts despite busy schedules—stacks of individual fat-free yogurts. Bachelorhood, poverty, decadence, obsessions. All speak when you open that door. But what places remain private in the modern age?
I have a vision of a Foodbook, an app in which our Bluetooth-enabled refrigerators with food-recognition software list the exact contents of our fridges for all in our social networks to see. Would it shame some of us to clean it more often? (It would for me.) Provide a way for some to display their superiority through the proxy of the finest cheese, just as with personal devices? That could be annoying.
I just looked in mine, and it said I could keep up better with the vegetables. Let’s all look!
Ignoring the condiment door—
Six kinds of cheese, none more than $15 a pound; two cheddars, a blue, a swiss, a chevre, a parmesan. A log of chocolate cookie dough. Mushrooms, dried, from the last harvest of the log down the street, now so long ago. Some unidentified red berries that W. picked (W., ?). Three quarts of pickled peppers, a half-pint of pickled onions, a quart of apple butter. Soy marinade?, date uncertain. Two half-pints of roasted tomatillo salsa and a jar of cornichons. Pomegranate molasses, outside covered in same. Porter mustard. Half-and-half. Two yogurt containers of unattractive pumpkin-pesto pasta leftovers, circa one week ago, nearly through the mandatory guilt-shedding waiting period before it can die. One yogurt container of yogurt. Wilting parsley, wilting cilantro. One leaf of chard, wilting. Two scallion stalks, wilting. Two-thirds of a cucumber, flaccid. A half-bag of spinach—not wilted (hooray!). Eight grapefruit, five satsumas. A pan of roasted beets. A half-can of tomatoes, recent enough to still be of service. The largest item is a tub of salted lemons, made in Alaska and hauled to Wisconsin with the rest of my stuff, now half-eaten. Who can live without salted lemons? Not I.
The snapshot is never the whole story. After all, you might be mistaken from mine that we subsist on pickles and cheese. In fact we have greens growing in the yard, and a variety of meats, from ham hocks to coon, in the freezer. And we just happen to be out of beer; this must be remedied hastily. You would be right to conclude, however, that we are obsessed with pickles and cheese. That we buy basic ingredients rather than prepared things. And that, like doctors, we are conservative when it comes to declaring the moment of death. All fair, all true.