Sunday, February 16, 2014
The Fridge, the Freezer, and the Pantry
While the writing prompt was solely about the refrigerator, two other food caches played equal roles in my childhood. The contents of the refrigerator are what I remember the least clearly. I know that it contained the staples of milk, eggs, and various cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. It also contained soy milk for me, as I was severely lactose intolerant when I was younger. There was a Brita filtered water container that was perpetually in the cycle of being emptied and fulled, far past the filter's suggested time of use. The freezer section of the refrigerator held a myriad of frozen vegetables such as corn, green beans, peas, mixed vegetables — different types ad infinitum. Every so often, perhaps twice a month at most, there would be some sort of sweet frozen delicacy, be it ice cream (which sadly I could not enjoy), Popsicles or Italian Ice. However, the contents of this freezer were dwarfed by the refrigerator-sized full freezer that inhabited the basement of our townhouse. This mammoth contained shelves upon shelves of meats that my father would purchase after scouring the meat market for anything on clearance. Anything of above-average size was relegated to its frozen body, such as the boxes of frozen soft pretzels that my sister and I would beg our parents for whenever we entered the frozen section of the supermarket. An almost daily quasi-chore was to head into the depths to reclaim some morsel to be prepared for dinner that night. The last bastion of food in the house was the full wall pantry that hid behind folding metal doors. Everything that did not require chilling or freezing was placed in that magical wonderland of dried pasta and crackers. Unopened bottles of juice sat solemnly next to bags of chips, both wondering which was to be devoured next. As the pantry was where the vast majority of snacks resided, I practiced my stealth, as I would sneak downstairs, do my best to open the creaking metal doors without noise, and to silently open the bag that would lead to a few fleeting minutes of complete contentment. I did not master this ability in a day, however. When I was about six years old, I sneaked downstairs and removed my prize, a box of fruit snacks. I gulped down about three separate bags of them. I quietly replaced the box of fruit snacks into the pantry and closed the painted metal doors. The next morning, my parents confronted me about my late-night excursion. While I had not alerted them due to noise, nor had they seen me, I miscalculated one small part of the plan. I had left the wrappers on the kitchen table.