Piscining the 'Fridge
I laughed like a banshee when Mother informed me over the phone nearly three weeks ago that she was "clearing out the kitchen" instead of "cleaning up the kitchen". In retrospect, I see that her slip of the tongue planted a seed in my mind. Nearly all of the work of giving the fridge and pantry a full style clearing is in the inspiration, n'est ce pas?
Repeat the mantra: I have a will of steel. Reading the recent article on clutter and health in the New York Times the other day, I realize I have a problem with food clutter, and perhaps it is affecting me, affecting my food karma. I have a problem. This problem is related to my attaching symbolic meaning to food items.
While some people see that two year old unmarked jar containing something close to primal sludge as garbage, I fondly see it as that beautiful evening's successful batch of caramel sauce made with salted butter. While some people see the forest of two full shelves crammed with jars of pickles, sauces, pestos and home preserves with unknown expiry dates as a health hazard, I see that jelly we bought in the Alps, our trip to the food fair in Paris, this gift, that one, the time our friends came and we made those onion preserves, etc.
In other words, I count them as evidence. Evidence that we have lived. I fully acknowledge that I will not ever open these half filled jars, for fear of setting off the next Ebola outbreak. I do know they aren't safe. Facing this logic is the first step in taking care of it.
Today I was on the phone to Fran and said that it would probably take me about 12 minutes to completely clear out the fridge to start anew, what seemed to be the problem? In her girlfriend kind of way, she quietly supported me. "I know it's not easy."
This afternoon, a large garbage bag rolled out before me like a magic carpet. I closed my eyes. The pickle jars cried the loudest. "We never spoil!" they screamed as I pitched them, juice and all, some just jars filled with juice. I didn't even check expiry dates. It had to be all or nothing. A sexy long forgotten jar of salicorne, pickled seaweed from the coast of Brittany, gave me a mournful look as she slid into the sack with the rest. The jellies were easier. Less safe, easier to justify. Oyster sauce and an unknown bottle of small pills were almost effortless. I drew the line at the Tabasco and Sriracha. These things do last forever. Right? When I was done, the sack was too heavy for me to lift. Loic was not going to like this. I had to get it out of the house before he had a chance to ask questions. I just felt like he would be better off spared from the gory details.
I managed to get the laden sack onto the kitchen mat just in case it might leak. I dragged it on the mat through the house to the door. It felt strangely criminal. I wasn't recycling the jars, maybe I should save them. No. I dragged the load into the lift. The jaw-like doors of the French elevator mercilessly closed behind me. On to the bins. In the darkened marble hallway, I gave the lot a big heave and it slid into the bin with a thud. Done. I shook out the mat and went back upstairs.
"It smells piscine here" said Loic, when he came in. This means in Loic-speak that it smells like a swimming pool. Ah, that would be the shelves I soaked in a mild bleach solution before scubbing them. "I piscined the fridge, honey." "Ah bon? What's for dinner?" No questions.
Labels: Winter 07-08