I clean “experiments”, out of my refrigerator fairly regularly—or at least as often as I need the room for new, fresh groceries. Rubbery celery gets tossed to make room for fresh celery that I vow to eat every last bit of—including the leafy heart that I’ll put in soup. Slimy mushrooms make room for another container of mushrooms and carrots…well…you get the idea.
I have been better lately (really, I have!), trying to plan meals and real cooking experiments based on what I have on hand and on my plans. If I fall in love with a container of cremini mushrooms I make sure to pick up some pizza dough or plan to make a pasta dish with them because I know I won’t go through all 10 ounces on salads. If I buy deli meat it shouldn’t be a week during which I plan to cook a lot, because I’ll end up with uneaten leftovers or sandwich meat that will go funky before it gets eaten. And I shouldn’t buy a lot of produce if I have plans to go out more than once, because restaurant leftovers will make their way into my fridge, and let’s face it, it’s much easier to nuke leftover curry chicken and vegetables with sticky rice than it is to caramelize onions and get my dough paper thin.
I am my mother’s daughter, so I hate to waste things, especially food –try as I might not to—and including money, which is why I shop on sale and freeze. Unfortunately, my freezer doesn’t get as much attention as my fridge.
As things fall out I shove them back in, rearranging the contents only as absolutely necessary. (Ice for my cocktail might be melting on the counter, after all.) But today I had a little extra time to tackle one of those non-emergency—even though I do risk life and limb (okay, maybe I only risk broken toes) when I open my freezer—projects that gets put off. And because the other day I couldn’t tell, when I put several new chicken breasts in the freezer(purchased on sale, of course)(and smartly labeled—this time), if those frozen lumps of chicken already in there were boneless and skinless or not, it was time. And it went a little like this.
Berries. Oh yeah, I thought I might try to get on a smoothie kick. (Right after I moved in. In 2007.)
Oh, I already had two steaks in the freezer when I bought those two steaks to have in the freezer? (When do I ever make steak at home? Do I think one day I’m going to get tired of the 9.95 Outback special?)
Ditto pound of raw shrimp.
Ditto pound of cooked shrimp.
Ouch. M*#$^ er F(&$^%*er.
I think I’m all set with pork roasts.
Freezer burnt Gyoza. And haricot verts. Yum. Not.
I think that was chicken pot pie filing. When did I make that?
Is that veggie soup? Or tomato sauce?
Lean Cuisine? (I am proud that I haven’t eaten a frozen meal in years.)
Chopped onions? Because I’m ever without at least one yellow and one red onion in my yellow bowl next to my utensil crock?
Oh my God, mom would be so upset if she knew you never ate these pierogi.
1, 2, 3, 4…Looks like I can have a bagel a week until spring. Maybe my birthday. (I’m a Memorial Day baby.)(I rarely eat bagels. Rye bread is my bread of choice for my Sunday breakfasts and my occasional sandwiches.)(Interestingly enough, I am out of my freezer stock of rye bread. And baguettes.)
How long have I had this kielbasa?
Why didn’t I wrap this sausage better?
Okay, I’ve got wheat bread. Good. I can make that work.
Tortillas? Maybe I’ll have a soft taco tonight.
Sh*t. No fish. Well, I could do shrimp. No cabbage.
I could go for a piece of halibut.
Wow. That's much better. No broken toes for me!
Mystery food went in the kitchen sink to thaw before it met its fate in the disposal. And I exercised great restraint not to start a new grocery list for freezer stock. I did however look through the grocery store fliers. And organize my coupons.
I love my mother dearly, but becoming her clearly it has its drawbacks.