Spoils Revealed: What Cleaning Out My Fridge Taught Me About Me
By Erin Sian
I suspect I'm not alone in this. My fridge has an "active" layer of things in the front half— produce, meat, perishable things. The stuff I actually consume. And then there's the "inactive" back half. A place I fail to notice each time I open the fridge. Maybe it's because I don't want to see it. The condiment purchased for a specific recipe and later abandoned. The heavy silence of the tupperware, its contents unfathomable. Physically it takes less than 3 seconds to toss each offender. Yet mentally I just didn't want to go there. For years. Until today. I've been taking a nutrition class that's helping me understand what fuel my body needs and why. And my body doesn't need a jar of bacon mayo that expired a year ago. It all just needed to go.
So I pulled out a trash bag and went after things, ruthlessly. The first layer was the youngest of the lot. The "Bitch Rockets Habeñero Hot Sauce" I made last summer with my secret agent, E. Peabody. We were so proud of ourselves even though its crazy heat limited us to eating it in teeny tiny bites—up until I thought it was burning a hole through my stomach. It had to go.
You know what I never need to smell again? The noxious cocktail that is Pedialyte (what?), Bloody Mary mix and Rosé mingling in my sink. Although drinking it would make a really great dare, they had to go.
And that was just the beverage layer. The condiment layer was much more perverse. Items that had reached their Use By date over two years ago. Stuff repping for cuisines that I can't remember how to make any more (three kinds of miso paste? Really?). Things purchased for barbecues and parties... when I was still married. They had to go.
Five minutes later my sink was full of soaking tupperware and my fridge was almost bare. I sat back and just looked. Looked at the order and cleanliness. And I started to feel excited. About local produce and grass fed meats and purposeful condiment choices. Tupperware filled with meals thoughtfully prepped for the week ahead.
The metaphors came flying at me so fast I had to duck. Yes, my refrigerator was doing a fantastic job reflecting the chaos that has been my life for awhile. But you know, it was overdue for this overhaul. So am I.