Monday, 4 November 2013

What a sad word that is....leftover.

Stephen is a fantastic cook, not only when the fridge is full, but also when it's empty.  You know, those nights where you get home and it's late and it seems like the only thing that's in the fridge is a bag of apples and a bottle of soy sauce.  Given long enough to boil water for pasta, he will bring me a plate heaped with something fragrant and tasty and satisfying.  

He generally cooks such that there's at least one meal left over, whether it's a lunch for me, or can be extended into another full dinner for the two of us.  He and I don't do much takeout, but as we do occasionally at the office, I've brought home a number of round black takeout containers with lids that we store our leftovers in.  They stack nicely, they are interchangeable with each other (as in, all the lids fit all containers), they are freezer-safe, and they go from fridge to microwave at the office pretty handily.

The downside to a fridge that has many containers of leftovers in it is that occasionally, one doesn't get rotated out.  Or gets pushed to the back of the fridge.  Or gets fresh produce piled on top of it so it disappears from sight.  And finally, I wait for a night when he's gone out grocery shopping or to flip laundry, so that I can quickly plunge bravely into the fridge and start mining it for science experiments.  I have to wait till he's out, because he gets reproachful when he hears me rooting around in the fridge and knows what I'm doing. 

"I was going to get to that, hon," he tells me.  "You've been at work all day.  Why don't you go upstairs and knit till dinner's ready, and I'll make you a cup of tea?"

I love it that he says this to me, and I know he means it.  I also know that he'll take out a couple of the containers, do the George Carlin smell test and then close the door to the fridge.  I'd rather tackle the problem and deal with it.  Fast.

He waved good-bye to me.  Change into your comfies and drink your tea.  I won't be too long.  He's got pea soup on simmering, and I know it will be dinner when he gets back.  I have about forty minutes, but I've done this enough that I have a routine, and I'll only need half of that time.
  1. Fill the sink with scalding hot water and a little extra dish soap.
  2. Take all the containers out of the fridge and put them on the counter. Do not bother with smell test if I can't identify a dinner that I've eaten within the past four days.
  3. Bags of produce come out next.  I always find at least one scary bag holding a carrot that has become mummified, or five or six grapes that have turned into mouldy raisins. Or the orange that, if I'd only known it would end up resembling a hardball, I would have put cloves into it to hang on the Christmas tree in a few weeks.
  4. If I'm lucky, I will find an empty bag that once held three bags of milk that one of my kids has left in the fridge.  Or a bag that used to have peppers or something in it, and got left behind.  It feels like a cleaning shortcut to just be able to toss it in the garbage.
  5. Wipe down fridge shelves and replace viable produce.
  6. Bless my luck in having a bathroom off the kitchen.
  7. With the toilet seat up, proceed to dump the contents of all science experiments in the toilet.  Wonder why the pineapple curry from two weeks ago has more colourful fuzz on it than any of the other containers.
  8. Every two or three science experiments, depending on ratio of chunkiness to liquidity, flush the toilet.
  9. Take compost out to the pile.  
  10. Submerge gross containers and lids into hot water.
I washed my hands, gave the pea soup a stir, and will be ensconced on the couch with a fresh cup of tea and my knitting when he comes home.  Mission accomplished.  Other than to try to eat all of this pea soup before the cycle starts again.

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