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Fresh daily

If you didn't know my kitchen situation and looked in my fridge right now, you'd be forgiven for thinking we never eat at home. There's an unopened bottle of champagne, half a chocolate cake, and nothing else inside it. Nothing at all.

As it happens, we've been two-three weeks with no fridge at all. It arrived on Wednesday, we cleaned it on Thurday, and by evening it was mostly cold. We don't have much except wine to put in it until we go grocery shopping. (There's no lack of food not requiring cold here though!)

Food advice argues the importance of going shopping for fresh food on a regular basis, ideally several times a week. A daily shop of fresh fruit and veg is even better. I've been going food shopping even more frequently than that: twice daily, at least, once before lunch and once before dinner, with breakfast bars to start the day. It helps that there are three supermarkets within a ten minute walk.

Yet, I'm not sure I've ever gone so long eating so little fresh, thoroughly unprocessed food. The problem is this: with no fridge, there's no point buying any spoilable food that cannot be eaten immediately. No leaving three-quarters of a container of milk for a few hours. No leaving half-a-cheese or an open carton of juice until the next day. No half-an-onion until the day after that. No buying sauces which will keep in the fridge for three weeks.

Most fresh food doesn't come in units which can be comprehensively consumed right away with no leftovers, so we've been living on ready meals and premade salads. So much as I will now be going shopping less than twice a day, now, once again, fridge-enabled, I can return to fresh foods, to cheese and large cartons of juice, and parts of onions and sauces.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
sam_t
Aug. 8th, 2008 10:24 am (UTC)
Oddly, when I didn't have a fridge, I ate (if anything) more unprocessed food than usual: I'd be eating vegetables in larger quantities at one sitting and I wasn't eating meat or half a jar of pasta sauce. I did have the advantage of having a freezer, in which I could freeze blocks for a cool bag, but the only vegetable I needed to put in the cool box was lettuce.

Your kitchen must be warmer than mine, I think - I would be able to leave cheese for a couple of days in a cupboard, although I'd be buying a smaller amount than usual to make sure it would be finished in time.
desperance
Aug. 9th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
Oddly, when I didn't have a fridge, I ate (if anything) more unprocessed food than usual

I was going to say this. When I was a kid (early sixties), we didn't have a fridge at all, and as far as I remember we never ever ate unprocessed food; Mum cooked. Milk and other perishables lived in the bottom of the cupboard under the stairs, which was the coolest place in the house. With two adults and four kids, I guess nothing had to live too long - and oh, cold milk was a treat when the fridge finally arrived, when I was, I dunno, eight? - but we got by fine.
owlfish
Aug. 9th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's lots easier with more people! It's possible to eat entire big vegetables all at once. It doesn't help that C.'s work schedule has been mad lately - sometimes he'll need to stay until midnight or later with little warning, so I'd be shopping for that meal anyways only after I know if it's one or two of us that I need food for.

Also, I'm used to cooking on hob and in oven. We temporarily have these things (although I have yet to clean the oven since moving in, and therefore haven't used it), but because we're about to rip them out, I've been trying to learn what I can do with a microwave instead mostly.

There are other parts to our current kitchen limitations: we're back down to one knife and much as there's a lot I can do with a santoku, it can't do everything. We have scads of kitchen equipment, but only one knife - the rental flat came with enough others that we used those, and before in Toronto, the rest of ours were cheap ones, so we left them behind. Because we're about to rip out the cupboards, I haven't unpacked much of the kitchen stuff, so when we need - say - a pot or a cutting board, it usually involves digging into boxes to find them, another deterrent to using them in the first place right now.

Knives, at least, we'll remedy soon.
a_d_medievalist
Aug. 8th, 2008 10:46 am (UTC)
There are lots of things I will leave out in a cool place -- veg, butter, cheese of some varieties. My SiL will leave leftovers out, too, as long as they are packed with chillies and turmeric. I'm a bit iffier on that, but will leave things like pies and cakes out, too.

Not that it matters to you, but next time you don't have a fridge, you might think about it! Oh -- or use small ice chest for milk!

owlfish
Aug. 9th, 2008 11:18 am (UTC)
Ice chest: requires ice and thus regular trips to buy large bags of it, the only quantities in which it comes. Still do-able though.
ewtikins
Aug. 8th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
I have not been reading LJ much. If I had, I would have left instructions on how to make a small evaporation-powered refrigerator out of buckets and towels and water.
owlfish
Aug. 9th, 2008 11:23 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you.
aquitaineq
Aug. 9th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
Now see, we have entirely too many things in the fridge. And yet, i can't toss them all because one never knows when they'll need whole grain mustard or wasabi sauce.
owlfish
Aug. 9th, 2008 11:23 am (UTC)
Well, see, I have a whole collections of bottles and long-lasting cheese in the fridge of a friend elsewhere in London with which to repopulate the new one....
desperance
Aug. 9th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
You really don't need to keep wholegrain mustard in the fridge. Mustard is a preservative, it preserves itself...
targaff
Aug. 9th, 2008 05:08 am (UTC)
Your fridge sounds like a good night in the making.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )