Have you ever tried to shove a pizza take-out box on a lower shelf in your fridge, only to have it hit something and stop half way in? Why do we then try to shove it in there yet again? Do we think the pickle jar is saying, “My bad! That was on me. I’ll duck down so you’ll have clearance. Try it again.” If it does go in the second time, rest assured you’ve knocked something over and it’s now spilling out all over your fridge. Pretty much everything you refrigerate you shove in there and push the other food further and further back until you forget they even exist. Then when you go to clean out the fridge, you say, “Meatloaf? When did we have meatloaf? How old is this?” Suddenly you think somebody else must’ve had meatloaf and mysteriously stored it in your fridge because you literally can’t remember the last time you made it. When you have seafood, you check the expiration date on your cocktail sauce and it expired like three years ago! You hope and pray nobody in your family used it in the past three years and quickly throw it away before the health department closes you down. But you’re pretty sure you have had cocktail sauce every once in a while, so you just optimistically think you must’ve had a more current bottle and just forgot that you tossed it. Then when you look in the drawer where you keep the fruits and vegetables, it is definitely newer but still unfit for eating because it has a shelf life of ten fragile minutes. Especially salad. That’s just waiting for you to turn your back so it can morph into a hideous shade of brown. I try to eat healthy but I’m just not quick enough! Jeez, just give me a minute! Then there’s always that mystery liquid spill that has seeped to the deepest depths of your fridge in inaccessible corners. When you finally do reach it to clean it, it seems to have hardened into a petrified material that even soaking doesn’t help. It’s more of a chisel situation going on. There’s also the margarine that you never use. If you do ever take the top off of the butter dish to take a peek at it, you’re pretty sure orange is not it’s natural color. It must’ve oxidized into a darker color after facing months of neglect. It’s a wonder your whole family isn’t sick more often. In our picky family, we each have our own milk. Of course you have to do the scary smell test on the milk that’s been shoved to the back of the fridge and abandoned….but lactose milk smells bad even when it’s good so I’m not really sure what I’m testing for. Then there’s that occasional food that simply gives up and dies in the vertical casket we call a fridge, and you can smell it from one corner of the house to the other when someone opens the fridge door for a mere five seconds. I don’t know how that rancid odor spreads so fast or why it burns your eyes, but it requires you to don a hazmat suit, put up some crime scene tape and investigate the source. Even after you dispose of the offending, once nutritional piece of food in an outside garbage, you still need to light a candle and a sage stick, sprinkle some holy water, stand next to the fridge with a crucifix pointing at it and say some prayers to drive out the evil spirit of the expired food that still lingers for an hour after it was removed. Maybe that’s why we say grace over our food. It’s not just to say thank you, but it’s probably also to say please God may this food still be good!
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