Last year, “Tony’s Steak” Tony came through our house on his way from Hong Kong to SXSW in Austin and one of the first things he did after his trans-global traveling was open the refrigerator for a snack. In the life of a refrigerator, it was the optimum time to be opened: Sunday afternoon, aka post-Trader Joe’s Shop. All our sliced fruit sliced, stacked and glistening in their containers. Egg cartons at right angles, supporting bagged stalks of vibrant lacinato kale. Bottles of kefir and honey tangerine juice that had yet to be decimated by sweaty grabby hands of thirsty girls. Tony stood for a second in front of my kitchen shrine and said to no one in particular, “Now that’s a stocked refrigerator.”
I’m not sure how readily I’d admit this to Sheryl Sandberg, but I derive a ridiculous amount of happiness from that moment. And from a full fridge in general. At the risk of sounding like a bad hotel commercial, it’s true: When I’m prepared, I believe I can do anything.
But it’s not always a pretty path to get to that point. Some Sundays, like this past one, we come home to unpack the groceries and upon opening the fridge, realize we never used that stalk of broccoli or an entire bag of Cara Cara oranges is still sitting there wrapped in its charming netting. Half a container of grape tomatoes sits on the shelf — just enough to make you feel guilty about throwing them away. This is when I perform a Refrigerator Dump. I take out everything that’s on its last legs and see what can be salvaged. Or I see what I can put together for the week that might clear up some space for the new refrigerator residents. Or I just get in the zone and go All freaking Out. Here’s a peak:
1. I sliced all remaining whole fruit into grabbable (or spoon-able pieces) like the cara cara oranges above. Shriveled berries all went into freezer bags (stems cut off in the case of strawberries) for use in smoothies.
2. How annoying is ONE EGG left in the egg carton? Really annoying. I turned it into lunch only so I could justify throwing the carton away. I had an egg salad sandwich, made with drop of dijon, mayo, and the few strands of chives in the pack that hadn’t liquefied yet.
3. I blanched broccoli, sliced up the three separate bell pepper halves (why? how?) and packed them in little containers to throw into lunch boxes.
4. Tomatoes: Andy solved that one last year.
5. Ever since making that Indonesian Chicken Salad a few weeks ago, I’ve been in the habit of throwing a few salted and peppered split chicken breasts into the oven at 375°F for 45 minutes. When they’re done, I shred up the meat, store, and then all kinds of possibilities suddenly present themselves to me during the week: barley salads, chicken salad, avgolemono, and, of course, that Indonesian chicken salad.
Have a great weekend.