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After Work: Coming Clean About Cleaning The Fridge

…A couple of teaspoons of mustard can be tossed. A half-empty jar of mayo can join it in the garbage. A brownish head of lettuce doesn’t even merit a pang of guilt. But what do you do with two frozen pork loin roasts and half a beef tenderloin? You can’t throw them away in good conscience…

The “snowbirds’’ who have wintered in Florida are packing up and heading north. But what to do with a fridge full of food? Dona Gibbs highlights a tasty problem.

To savour more of Dona’s delicious words please click on After Work in the menu on this page.

Carrying food along while traveling I’ve come to believe, is a primal trait. It’s shared by many of us.

Now I’m not talking about the little snacks and homemade sandwiches that many travelers now bring aboard airplanes. I’ll thank you for not crunching on celery sticks or unwrapping some smelly something if you’re my seatmate but I understand that a two-hour flight with only a soft drink and a small pack of cookies tossed on a tray table can in no way be called lunch.

No, I’m talking about carrying large quantities of food long distances. Or in some cases small quantities of food long distances.

Maybe this is a problem that is gender specific.

The season here in South Florida has come to a close. People who are seasonal residents start heading back home, i.e., where they came from, around Easter. There’s a great migration northward. Suitcases get stuffed. Hurricane shutters are rolled down. Gas tanks are filled. Plane reservations are made. Time to go.

But wait. There are the refrigerator and the freezer to consider. And there’s still food.

What to do? A couple of teaspoons of mustard can be tossed. A half-empty jar of mayo can join it in the garbage. A brownish head of lettuce doesn’t even merit a pang of guilt. But what do you do with two frozen pork loin roasts and half a beef tenderloin? You can’t throw them away in good conscience. You can’t give it away to friends. They have their own freezers to worry about. You can’t store it in the freezer. Storms and hurricanes clobber the electricity for hours – even days. You can’t give it away to the needy. Soup kitchens have very high standards and are justifiably leery of any frozen product from a home freezer.

That’s why a friend, not me mind you, is flying home with two pork tenderloins and half a beef tenderloin in her carry-on luggage. She’d never get through customs if Ohio had customs. And security will probably pat down the pork. She’s vacuumed sealed it and is packing it in plenty of ice.

Many people put their valuables in their carry-on luggage. She’s got plenty of valuables too but the pork tenderloins are definitely riding in the cabin. With her. Where she can keep an eye on them. Maybe she’ll demand extra ice if the flight is delayed.

Now I do believe that Ohio has pork tenderloins. And I happened to notice that those super vacuum food sealers go for about one hundred fifty dollars. Hmm, a lot more than pork tenderloins so I guess she seals up everything that goes into the freezer to amortize the price of the gadget.

She is not alone.

I too share her traits but one of the few things that my Ever-Enthusiastic Husband isn’t enthusiastic about is carrying stuff.

His real bugaboo is my carrying stuff there – and then back to here.

We once owned a house on an island with one grocery store. Since it was often poorly stocked, I’d pack the car full of groceries. Meat, produce –anything that’s the island might not have that weekend. Which made for a full car.

See, I’d learned a lesson early on when I’d asked for French bread and the storeowner sneered, “We don’t have the fuffy stuff yet. Those people haven’t all arrived.”

I understood that "fuffy” meaning silly, pretentious people was unspoken but implied.

From that time on I transported things there. Things that I couldn’t count on finding. Which was almost everything except toilet paper and tuna fish.

Oh, you could request that the store stock items. And, if you had enough clout, the store would have them shipped over on the ferry.

The summer population had a sizable number of people from New Orleans who demanded coffee with chicory so the little market stocked it. It was probably the only source of coffee with chicory within a hundred miles or so.

You guessed it. I bought some and transported it from the summerhouse back to our other house.

On the subject of food transport another friend of mine sputtered, “ I don’t understand Sandra sometimes.”

This got my attention since he was of French background and claimed to understand women exceedingly well as only a Frenchman could, of course.

“What?” I responded.

“She took a mango out to the weekend house and then brought it back.”

“Uh huh.” I nodded.

“Then she brought it out the next weekend. And…and she still didn’t use it.” He reddened and shrugged his shoulders.

Made perfect sense to me. You never know when or where you’re going to need a mango.


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