Jewish World Review April 5, 2004 / 14 Nissan, 5764
The wrap wars a soggy saga
Looking for something to do today? Why not roll up your sleeves, plug
your nose and celebrate National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Week!
Indeed, NCOYRW really starts today, which means that if you have
fuzzy applesauce in the fridge or a crisper full of liquid cucumbers, it is
time to do something about them.
Like close the fridge.
At least, that's the technique I have always found very effective, thanks
to a husband with a much lower tolerance for blue cream cheese and
green bagels. Eventually, he goes on a tossing rampage and I am freed
from all the guilt of a) throwing out good food and b) admitting that it
really isn't good food anymore - it's shimmering slime, because I
couldn't bring myself to throw it out when I should have. Last May.
"You never know when you'll crave the crust of the hot Pace Picante
sauce," nods Ellen Marchman, a fellow funky-food shunner, summing
up what could be considered the Fridge-As-Crypt Credo. Ellen met her
match in college when her tapioca-crazed roommate would make 10
batches of the pudding at once and shove them to the back of the
icebox. "After three weeks," recalls Ellen, "one batch sprouted. Actual
sprouts!" Ellen, please take some comfort in knowing that your
experiences are not unusual. A tapioca-crazed roommate - that's
unusual. But a recent study found that fully 61% of Americans throw
out at least one piece of putrid produce a week.
That fact is brought to you by NCOYRW's sponsors, Glad Products and
Whirlpool Home Appliances. While their publicity packet blatantly
plugs ever more Glad Wrap and ever bigger Whirlpool refrigerators as
the answer to festering foodstuffs, the fact is these companies are not
part of the solution. They are part of the problem.
Glad Wrap is almost single-handedly to blame for the repulsive state of
my . . . er, our nation's refrigerators. Without plastic to wrap up and
shove away all the things we really never expect to eat again, we would
have to eat them fast or toss them out. The fridge would be spotless.
Whirlpool, meanwhile, is pushing fridges the size of Ford Excursions.
One boasts enough space for eight frozen pizza boxes. And look -
behind the sherbet! There's the pizza man!
Blithely ignoring their own role in the overstuffed fridge phenom, Glad
and Whirlpool have issued a "Fabulous Fridge Cheat Sheet" to help us
keep our refrigerators clean. Some actual tips?
"Keep a permanent marker on or by your fridge and use it to date
leftovers. In addition, make a 'leftovers' list and post it on the
refrigerator door.' "
Hey, while you're at it: Make a list of everything you've ever eaten and
how many times you chewed.
"Organize food items by expiration dates."
Right after you organize your socks by thread count.
"Create customized freezer bags."
Then decorate them with buttercream flowers.
Look - either you're the type with a jar of mustard and a six-pack in your gleaming icebox. Or you are facing a fridge filled with fuzz, fur and, with any luck, a piece of American cheese that is still pliant. Eat it while you head out to do something else - anything else - this week.
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