Thursday, April 19, 2012


My refrigerator is often times a dark and scary place. From the science experiments that started off as delicious leftovers, and somehow migrated to the back and bottom shelves to morph into something from a Sci-Fi movie. As the refrigerator is far too large a space to cover in one of my A.D.D. riddled stories, I’d like to break it down into more easily handled pieces. I think we will start with the door, with its odd collection of things from butter to Maalox.  Let’s explore what’s in mine and then I’ll ask you…”What’s in your Door?!”

The door sure has changed over the years since I first remember it. I’m pretty sure the most exotic thing in the door when I was a kid was maybe some French dressing (yeah, the neon orange kind) or a jar of my mom’s bread n butter pickles. There was of course ketchup, maybe some yellow or brown mustard. I know there was always Miracle Whip and also a Jar of regular Mayo as dad was a mayo man.  There was no butter but rather the “healthier” trans-fat loaded margarine du jour, and the top that used to have the little cups made for eggs was where the egg carton went. This was mainly because of the frequency and the velocity with which my father, brother and I would open the fridge door. It was a safer to keep the eggs in a stable container than leave them outside only to become airborne missiles later, when one of us would open the refrigerator the way a gorilla handles American Tourister luggage. (People younger than 30 here)

The only spicy (meaning more flavor and tang than ketchup) things I can remember in mom’s door would be horseradish and chow chow. I thought chow chow was a French Canadian thing, but I have seen many variations from Maine to Alabama and every place in between.  No matter, they were a frequent contributor to the hot dogs and hamburgers that were torched regularly at my house growing up. I don’t recall anything ever being out of place in the door but once in a while mom would try cooking something new. The new recipe at times would call for something out of the norm, and that partially used container would end up doing a short stint on the door.

I recall one such item being a bottle labeled “cooking wine”… this was of course in the days before people knew to cook with wines they might actually want to drink. I believe I was in my junior or senior year of high school when the drinking age was eighteen and when this bottle appeared. When it hadn’t moved in several months, I figured it was fair game for a teenager with a healthy curiosity for adult beverages. After a few hearty gulps I found that wine was perhaps not my drink of choice and I moved on.

Aside from the odd bottle of cooking wine the only other oddball things to show up for a little door time were ice cream toppings. While I come from a long and distinguished line of maple syrup swilling people, the occasional wrong-headed friend would come for a sleepover. Rather than having a taste for maple syrup on their ice cream the odd friend wanted caramel or butterscotch topping or maybe even Hershey syrup.

My mother wasn’t about to buy Hershey syrup with a perfectly good canister of Nestle Quick in the cupboard, so she relented on either the caramel or butterscotch. My brother and I never ate these things because we had maple syrup for the love of Pete. If we wanted a little change of pace, there was always the little pint canning jars of blueberries my mom had picked the previous summer.

After moving away from home I decided the door didn’t have to be so much of a unitasker. It was perfect for holding batteries where the butter went. I’m not sure where I picked this little bit of battery magic where refrigerated batteries stay fresher longer, but that’s where batteries went. I laugh every now and again when I go to someone’s house and see batteries in the fridge. Everyone should know they go in the junk drawer by now whether old or new…that’s half the fun when you’re trying to get your remote to work when it’s five minutes to the kickoff of the super bowl.

There was always ketchup on the door and probably Tabasco, because both my staples of minute rice and ten for a dollar ramen noodles were the better for it.  I’m sure I remember a bottle or three of Polar tonic water, as the Gin that was kept in the freezer was always in need of company…and the limes that brought vitamin C to the party were always kept where the eggs were meant to be. Because bending to reach the Limes in a crisper drawer after six or seven gin and tonics could result in a face full of week-old spaghetti and spam surprise.

The eggs I kept on one of the bottom shelf for some odd reason, probably because I had taken up the first two shelves with other foods. For example a half-gallon of spoiled milk, week old Chinese food, something in a blue container that frankly I’m scared to open at this point and the ever stackable food of choice…pizza!  

Today my door is much much different than the door of my youth. There are no more batteries in the butter cubby but rather, honest to goodness butter…unsalted of course. I have a bottle of six dollar white wine in there that may very well be vinegar at this point. I suppose just in case somebody drops by craving year old spoiled wine I guess. It’s odd, but I also have balsamic and champagne vinegar in there even though I keep most of my other vinegars in the cupboards.

A jar of, well a jar of embarrassment some people might call pesto sauce, which has been there for maybe two years and has never been opened. I’m sure I bought it as a convenience item as a result of being on the go, but maybe guilt or taste buds brought me to my senses and kept me from using it.  I have a bottle of Maalox that I like to keep cold because the thought of drinking it warm gives me the heebs. The Maalox is not indicative of my cooking but rather my occasional fondness of a meatball sub from a place up the street. The meatballs are great but the sauce is of the Sysco variety that gives me heartburn every time.

Let’s see, oh yes…The Asian contingent nearly has its own shelf with rice wine vinegar, black vinegar, soy sauce, Sriracha, Sambal Oelek and a few other special guests including sesame oil. It shares its space with a couple of store bought BBQ sauces that don’t contain corn syrup. These are Olde Cape Cod and Dinosaur BBQ sensuous slathering who help me when I’m in the mood for BBQ and don’t actually feel like BBQ’ing. I have Dijon mustard even though a good many friends think this to be odd, because they are mustard whores. No I’m kidding they’re not mustard at all.

I think I’ve covered just about all the major items, sure there’s the Cholula or the odd dressing when I’m even too lazy for preparing simple vinaigrette. Pepto Bismol as an emergency backup for the Maalox but tastes like Canada mints when warm, and makes me think of the time I threw them up on a hockey trip to Montreal when I was six. Then there’s…well remember how I told you I’m from a long line of maple syrup swillers? And remember how I said I never understood why someone would want redi-whip in a can, butterscotch or caramel topping? Well I have those on the door as well… apparently they can be used for more than just ice cream!

What’s the weirdest thing in your door? What’s the best thing in your door?

Thanks for reading,


I had taken Maalox and Pepto out for the shot, but for the interest of full disclosure I talked about them. And yes, there is a jar of crushed garlic....not fresh?! yeah well...baise mon cul!


  1. Weirdest: The three medicine bottles containing the emergency info on us put together by the fire dept.

    Best: Joe Perry sauces, used to be 5 oz. "hot sauces", now 12 oz. and labeled as "table sauce", which I use regularly to play around with and write recipes for his web site.

    1. Very interesting... I'll be keeping an eye on you Dave! Oh, Joe Perry sauces? Where on the heat scale? flavorful and mild, or F'ing hot?!Thanks for reading, it's much appreciated.

  2. My fridge door also is a place of international intrigue. You've got a butter "cubby" as you like to call it, with butter, garlic and tomato paste in a tube.

    First shelf: dijon, brown and raspberry wasabi mustards, capers, sesame oil, bacon bits, lemon juice (don't judge me!), horseradish, Pepto

    Second shelf: a bunch of errant salad dressings, oyster sauce, yellow mustard

    Third shelf: wine, worchestershire sauce, ketchup

    I keep vinegars in the pantry.

  3. BHS, I think it's kind of funny how growing up my mother had exactly two types of vinegars and I am now at seven or eight! Nicely done door setup! Thanks very much for reading!

  4. Let's see, my vinegar selection includes: 3 balsamics of varying ages, sherry, taragon, white wine, cider, and white. Yeah, my Mom had taragon, for marinating and salad dressings, and white for everything else.