Fridge Cleaning Day of Reckoning

Rainy days and Sundays get me down, but most especially when we have to clean out the fridge/freezer. It’s a team effort between HB (nickname for husband) and me. We’ve been postponing this volatile event until now, because HB will be hosting a small work party this week and needs room.

Most couples argue about money. We argue about the food that needs to be tossed or saved. He’s a tosser, I’m a saver. He wipes down the interior and puts back the food that he deems worthy to keep; he is the gatekeeper. I clean the shelves and drawers and the mountain of plastic that once held the leftovers. It is my penance—a chance for me to reflect and remember that next time I will simply spare myself the trouble and not save leftovers beyond 48 hours. New rule—no more leftovers! (Sadly, old habits are hard to break.)

HB is ruthless—tossing out foods just because they 1) have the misfortune of being in a open box in the freezer, 2) are a small quantity, or 3) are something he’s not interested in eating. It doesn’t matter that the food item is for me or The Princess. He growls at me if I try to rescue anything, such as my frozen apple turnover, which is still perfectly edible (sealed, no freezer burn or anything—just in an opened box). I grimly hold my tongue as he haphazardly tosses my frozen waffles and thai shrimp dumplings that I planned on eating this week. They fall into the category of “not in box” and “small quantity.”

In turn, I toss out his polish sausages because HE shouldn’t be eating them, and they are past their expiration date. And then there are the fruits that are past their prime. Yes, I should have tossed them out sooner, but I just never got around to them because darn it, I work full-time and don’t really spend much time going through the fridge even though it’s only a few yards from my office.

The thing about the fruits is that I didn’t even buy them. They were brought into our house by a well-intentioned person. But as the saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” So true in my world.

This time the cleaning effort was relatively painless as I distracted myself with the washing and tried to ignore HB. Also, this time HB didn’t rub salt into my wounds with a lecture. He probably saw that washing the containers and shelves was punishment enough.

I have set some new rules:

1) Eat/toss out leftovers within 24 hours.

2) Only buy meat that will be cooked within 48 hours. If it needs to be frozen, it will have to be cooked before new meat can be purchased.

3) Fruits and veggies must be consumed or tossed before new ones can be purchased.

4) If the well-intentioned person brings food that will not be eaten, quietly bring back to well-intentioned person’s house and place in their garage fridge.

So now we actually have a relatively roomy, spanking-clean fridge and freezer. I only hope that we don’t have much left over from this Wednesday’s gathering. If so, I’ll just have to follow Rule 1 and/or 4.

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