The Power of a Clean Fridge


For some reason I don’t get an itch to clean in the spring.  Well, to be quite frank, I almost never get an itch to clean.  However, when we arrived home from our annual vacation up on Cape Cod, I was overcome with this incredible desire to clean out the house.  Something about a fresh start for the fall, putting away the summer toys and towels, and getting the house into order just took hold of me and I must say [pat on back], when I was done, there was more in the closets, the yard looked less like a trailer lot and the best part of all - my refrigerator actually sparkled! I mean it, I think my crisper drawer actually winked at me.

    This all began because I had tried my best to empty out the fridge before our big trip.  I made my best efforts to eat up the perishables before we left and to cull out what could make it a few more weeks.  Then the last minute stress of getting the family packed made me toss my well-planned menus out the door so we ended up with some leftovers the nights before departure and my parents ended up staying at the house while we were gone soooo by the time we came home there were some FUNKY inhabitants in there.  Cue my gag reflex, followed by frantic tossing into the garbage bin.  And then it just kept going!  I found three mustards and two tubes of pesto -  GONE.  Then a lovely jar of anchovies from my Feast of Seven fishes at Christmas…. 2014 - GONE.  The list could go on and on.  I poured a plastic container of sesame seeds into a baggie and tossed it in the freezer -  much easier to store that way.  And those crisper drawers, oh boy.  They needed some love.  I realized how much I just crammed into them and never bothered to do a deep scrub.  I decided to remove the dividers (hello?!?  why didn’t I do that 4 years ago) and suddenly the lettuce tubs fit nicely with heads of radicchio and knobby peppers fitted in around.  I cleaned the doors, the handles, everything.  Maybe this isn’t breaking news to some of you, maybe you have a regularly scheduled cleaning of your fridge but friends, I do not.  So this was truly groundbreaking.

    In school I took classes about food safety and became ServSafe Certified (only those who’ve worked in a professional kitchen will know/care of that) but I hadn’t been playing by those rules in my own life.  What a difference it made to organize my fridge with the meats on the bottom, perishables on top.  What a difference it made to actually SEE what was in the back of the shelves.

    In sum, here is what I learned from my clean fridge:

  • you will eat what you bought if you can see it
  • you will not have to waste as much food (and money) if you eat food before it goes bad
  • you will be a more creative cook if you force yourself to eat from your fridge and freezer instead of just buying more
  • a pretty refrigerator can inspire you to eat cleanly and make small improvements in your diet

    And here’s to keeping it that way…. at least until the holidays.