Saturday, November 23, 2019

A Housewife’s Tale: Cleaning the refrigerator, and what happened next.

Thanksgiving is coming. My husband cooks Indian food incessantly and our fridge is redolent of hot sauce, curry, Garam Masala, cumin etc. I decide, therefore, to clean before next week when I will be attempting to store mashed potatoes and turkey in there. I want my bland and traditional leftovers to stay that way for the brief time they will be in residence. 

Things accumulate inside refrigerators. Along with the withered cucumber and the lone apple, staring at me are four quarter full bottles of wine, cluttering the top shelf. We are not big wine drinkers and so, if we have guests who do like it, we buy a bottle to be sociable but usually end up with a bit left.

I’m always rationalizing that I’ll use the red wine in beef burgundy, and the white wine with baked fish or chicken recipes, but, somehow, as we’ve been conscientiously eating less meat this year, none of these “plan-overs” have come to fruition. Now the bottles face me, accusing me of wastefulness. I am after all, a Yankee, raised with an ethic of “Use it up. Wear it out. Make do or do without.”

Not only cleaning (never a big favorite of mine) but a decision now faces me, a test of my frugality. After some hesitation, an inner voice instructs: “Bite the bullet!” I pick up the first bottle, Beaujolais, and look at it.  Some sediment in the bottom. I uncork it; I smell it, then take a swig. Not worth spitting out, but nah! Down the drain it goes.

Next comes a bottle of champagne.  Lordy! That must have been from my birthday last February, so it’s been around for a while. A hopeful swig, ‘cause I like Champagne a lot, but it’s flat as a pancake, and so it follows the Beaujolais down the drain. Here’s a bottle of Spanish Red, strong and lively, which, after another taste, I decide can stay for around until I do make that beef burgundy. 

Next up, a Malbec. There really isn’t much left but it tastes a lot better than the others. Shortly thereafter, I’ve got the Malbec in a glass and am sitting at the table, with a box of crackers.

It’s just about 5 P.M, going dark outside early as it does since “fall back.” I notice the last, perfectly ripe pear in the center bowl. It would be shame to let it go over. Perhaps I’ll get up again and collect a knife to cut it with. As I pass the fridge once more, I remember the last slice of baby Swiss cheese in the fridge’s upper drawer.  

Soon, light illuminating the table, I’m having a civilized snack of cheese, crackers, wine and pear. My head’s a little head swirly from the wine tasting. 

This will do for supper. The fridge can wait until tomorrow.

~~Juliet Waldron 

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