I feel bad about my fridge.

I just finished reading I Feed Bad About my Neck, a collection of essays by Nora Ephron about “being a woman,” aging, etc. My mother gave it to me, saying I should read it before I get old. My neighbor thought I was too young to read it. They were both right.

In the book, Ephron expounds on the virtues and evils of exercise, and talks about how the invention of the automobile lead society to exercise less and drive more, which necessitated the creation of “exercise” as an activity separate from the rest of daily life.

Same goes with the refrigerator, in my opinion. Although it enables us to keep things like milk fresh a lot longer than we did in life before refrigerators (B.R.), it also introduced us to the idea that cooking and life are (and should be?) two separate activities, which is debatable from both health and social standpoints. In the days B.R., the (. . .person? Okay, more like . . .) woman who avoided the kitchen was probably considered either lazy or crazy, or had lots of servants, whereas now, in the age of prepackaged microwaveable dinners, cooking has become an optional extracurricular activity, defined by some as sport, leisure, work, art, etc. based on personal values. For most people, cooking is now no more a necessity than exercising. Just as walking from A to B was once the only option, starting a meal from scratch was once the only possiblity; now it identifies a cook as an overachieving brown-noser.

Does the fact that this bothers me mean I’m unthankful for the generations of women before me who emancipated wives from the apron strings? Definitely not. But I wonder if people were actually healthier before refrigerators, because we spent energy gathering and cooking and chopping (rather than typing) and ate more wholesome foods. Since it’s still early enough in 2007 to resolve, perhaps I’ll start by getting rid of my refrigerator and hiking to the grocery store for every meal in an effort to trim up.

But enough nonsense–this is really about wanting to get rid of my refrigerator.

We had a party on December 21st. Early on December 22nd, we shoved all the leftovers into our magical refrigerator, and came home last night to the same set of leftovers. The miracle is that this machine has enabled us to leave for almost two weeks and come back to a very full refrigerator that contains absolutely nothing to eat (I’m sure you’re familiar with this problem). I’ll spare you the disgusting examples, but as a warning, here’s what I have to work with in the next week: two (unopened) half-gallon containers of eggnog, about a pint of olive tapenade, borderline-moldy cheese of every udder and form, two half-used but still smellable containers of heavy cream, 6 apples, 2 whole pannetone, a bowlful of lemons and limes, eggs, and chocolate in every form—I can name chips, bars, nibs, 3 kinds of truffles, 3 kinds of cookies, caramels, shortbread, and wafers without leaving my keyboard.

If we eat all this, I really will feel bad about my neck, or rather the chins that overtake it, so I must find creative way to stretch this post-holiday fat cache over as many meals as possible. I dread the eggnog most. Stop by if you want some chocolate.

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