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Refrigerator Meme

January 7, 2008

If you’d like to participate in this meme and show the Internet your refrigerator, by all means go ahead. I saw it circulating around and thought that I would like to participate to keep myself accountable and inspire change.

I have written about grass-fed beef from Polyface Farms and I am looking forward to going to my town’s farmers’ market this year to buy vegetables and such, but the reality is that our budget is small and we shop at Wal-Mart. So, here you have the evidence that I am a corporate whore, who talks the biodynamic food talk, but doesn’t yet walk the walk.

inside of my refrigerator

We have a large stainless steel soup pot in which I cook Peruvian food most nights. Our family’s favorites are lomo saltado and ají de gallina. In this photo, the pot contains seco de carne. On the top shelf there are some of the ingredients that I use in these Peruvian recipes. On the middle shelf, there is half of a red onion. Red onion is another ingredient that I use in many dishes. Please see my recipe page if you are interested in making them.

We have two toddlers, so predictably we have milk, apple juice and yogurt in the refrigerator at all times. We drink filtered water from a Brita pitcher. We keep our cheddar cheese in that pull-out drawer. One thing missing from this photo is a carton of eggs because I took the photo before we went grocery shopping.

the door of my refrigerator

We use a brand of mayonnaise that is found in the “Hispanic foods” section of Wal-Mart. It is flavored with lime juice concentrate. In that little top section, there is minced garlic which I use in almost every Peruvian dish that I make. There is also cream cheese. We often eat cream cheese on toast for breakfast because my husband doesn’t like cereal with milk.

I want to change our buying and eating habits, but it will be like a revolt within my own family as my children whine about yogurt with Dora on the packaging and my husband whines that Wal-Mart is an unquestionably awesome place to shop. I want us to drink water instead of Coca-Cola or Gatorade and put that money saved towards locally grown food. Good luck to me.

  1. January 7, 2008 3:43 pm

    Cute MeMe.
    I just had to say that I use to use the minced garlic in a jar and now I use the fresh and it’s a lot better. Not only is the taste better but you don’t loose the nutrients. Get a good garlic press (one that has good size holes and you can put the whole clove in w/o peeling it) and you’re set.
    I wish my fridge looked that good!

  2. January 7, 2008 3:54 pm

    Girlfriend, no wonder you are so skinny, you need food in that fridge! 😀

  3. January 7, 2008 4:17 pm

    realworldmartha, thanks for the tip. I am sure that you are right about the taste and nutrients.

    FreeFromItAll, hahahaha, no, this picture is before a shopping trip, so it is empty because we are running low, not because we don’t eat. 😉

  4. January 7, 2008 5:15 pm

    Our fridge isn’t exactly full, but it isn’t empty either. The freezer is fairly full and so is the deep freezer. 🙂

  5. January 7, 2008 6:21 pm

    Red onions are my boyfriend.

  6. Hawk permalink
    January 7, 2008 6:31 pm

    Nice and orderly. Now I ask you, why am I not surprised? LOL!

  7. January 7, 2008 9:36 pm

    The sad state of affairs is that it is harder and harder for people with small budgets to buy healthy food. Even sadder is the politics and the corporate welfare that creates a system where processed JUNK is cheaper and more readily available than stuff that requires: seeds, ground, water, sun, air. (as opposed to processing, packaging, chemicals, more packaging, more chemicals, transport, more chemicals.) It isn’t cheaper because it is cheaper to purchase/produce!

    Satya was a great magazine that is now finished, but their archives are (I think) still online. Okay, just checked, and yes! Their archives are still available. I searched their site for “food justice” and a ton of articles came up (no surprise, if you knew their mag), but this one seemed especially relevant, and perhaps helpful and/or motivating:

    The issue of food justice is what prompted some activists in nyc to bring farmers markets to the poorer areas of the city, and they’ve had great success. Nutritious food does not have to be expensive, after all.

    Granted, weaning the kids and the husband off some of the junk might be the bigger challenge overall. Just focus on small steps – looking at the end goal seems overwhelming, so just think about the small steps you can take towards that goal, and that also gives you time to research some things and find resources that might help you along that path.

    I, for one, celebrate your desire to eat in a bio-sustainable way. That is the first step, after all. 🙂

  8. January 7, 2008 10:43 pm

    Accountable, it could be a new way to measure optimism: do you see your fridge as half-empty of half-full. 😆

    christine, what on Earth are you talking about? Red onions are your boyfriend?

    Hawk, nice new avatar! Thanks for noticing my orderliness.

    Deb, small steps are what we are taking now. My children love to find out why I think the way that I do, so I’m pretty sure that they would go along with my new plan. They would shop with me at the market and accompany me to Polyface and love it! My husband is the harder one to convince. Although he did listen to me when I talked to him tonight about my plans to tour Polyface in March. Sometimes I point things out to him and he dismisses me as a radical, but recently he has been more open to change. Thanks for the link and for the support.

  9. January 7, 2008 10:59 pm

    i mean i like them and often use them.

  10. January 7, 2008 11:11 pm

    Oh, I thought you had left out some words. 😆 Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  11. seaswell permalink
    January 8, 2008 9:34 am

    wow – clean fridge!

    i think my meme would be more like, “here’s where the soy sauce spilled six months ago and was never cleaned up – and here’s a bag of goo that used to be lettuce.”

    i’d love to know more about these peruvian dishes… do you ever post recipes to them?

  12. January 8, 2008 10:10 am

    seaswell, Hey, the lettuce turning into a bag of goo has happened in my fridge too. Yes, I have a recipe page. I hope you will enjoy them.

  13. pppj permalink
    January 8, 2008 6:05 pm

    Ok, I need to clean my ‘fridge. Thanks for the motivation!

  14. Sorrow permalink
    January 8, 2008 8:32 pm

    Not knowing you or your family, I felt compelled to offer this… One step at a time, I have replaced soda with ice tea, sweetened with succanat, For my real sweet tooth I make a tea with cloves and maple syrup. They go over the moon for it. Over the years baby steps and substitutions have worked really well for me and mine. And FYI price check Wallmart, I have found that they are more expensive on a number of things than my local grocery. Good luck! I am sure you know every little thing has far reaching effects!

  15. January 8, 2008 11:41 pm

    Wow your fridge really is clean and orderly.

    You could drink kombucha instead of Coke or water. I personally hate drinking water. Unless I’m really thirsty that is.

    Kombucha is great because it feels like you’re drinking a soda (it’s carbonated). It’s rather expensive if you buy it at the health food store but if you learn how to make it at home, it costs pennies — a whole lot cheaper than Coke even!

    It has tons of benefits too — probiotics, enzymes, etc. And I think it does something to you that makes you crave sweets and carbs less.

  16. January 8, 2008 11:42 pm

    BTW I haven’t started making my own kombucha yet. Which is why there is so much GT Dave’s in my fridge. I ordered the scoby — it should be arriving any day now!

  17. January 9, 2008 10:52 am

    This is one meme on which I think I will pass. It is mostly empty, although today I got a gift of natto and yosedofu: very healthy.

  18. January 10, 2008 6:55 pm

    Did you buy anymore food for that fridge? I’ve been worried about it. 😛

  19. January 11, 2008 11:42 am

    pppj, you’re welcome. Have fun cleaning!

    Sorrow, thanks for the suggestions. We (the grown-ups) like iced tea and the children like OJ and apple juice. But we are all pretty good about drinking water.

    cheeseslave, it is amazing to see the difference between your fridge and mine. Thanks for participating in the meme.

    Bikkuri, natto may be healthy, but I could never stomach it. That’s cool that you get gifts of food.

    FreeFromItAll, please don’t worry. We shop on the weekends, so the food comes and goes. A lot of our food is on the counter (fruit) and in the cabinets.

  20. Louisa permalink
    January 12, 2008 7:36 am

    Nice fridge! – I went through trying to wean my kids off nasties too. You need to have your husband on your side. After you’ve succeeded in that challenge, just tell the children that:
    A) you cannot afford that drink etc. any more or
    b) the supermarket doesn’t make it any more or
    c) you’ll buy them something with the money they save when they drink water (show them how much they’ll save) or
    d) you could just tell them why you are not not buying the stuff any more 🙂 – they love honesty and they can spot it a mile off.

    plus the trick is of course NEVER take your kids food shopping with you – this is a tough one. I always try to leave them somewhere if I have to go to the shops.
    good luck!!!!

  21. January 12, 2008 8:04 am

    Good tips Louisa. Thank you. The problem is my husband and I are not in agreement. My children would do anything I asked of them. 😛

    I now have apple juice from the USA, Polyface eggs, Polyface ground beef, and organic yogurt in my fridge after a successful shopping spree yesterday! I am so annoyed that apple juice concentrate almost always comes from Turkey, China or Argentina. Why? Why, why, why?

  22. January 12, 2008 12:31 pm

    It’s important to remember that there is good natto and bad natto. The good natto is good, and the bad natto should never be eaten. The first time I had natto was at a Denny’s about 20 years ago. Not being known for quality food, it is no surprise that I found the Denny’s natto unpalatable.

    I returned to Japan three and a half years ago. My favorite restauranteur had a party at their home. One of the foods was natto on rice. It was delectable. Since then I have eaten tremendous quantities of natto with pleasure. Diced yamaimo and raw egg mixed with natto is a unique pleasure. And quite healthy.

  23. January 12, 2008 7:43 pm

    Bikkuri, you had natto 20 years ago, and I read on your blog that you want your liver to last another 80 years, so your age is very mysterious at this point (mysterious to me, obviously, not to you). 😆

  24. January 12, 2008 9:05 pm

    Well, I think that nobody lives past 120 years old. Now I am 42, so I figure I’ve got about 78 years left. The first time I visited Japan, I was just about 24 years old. At that time I was taking so many business trips here that we referred to it as “commuting”.

    Reading is funny because it takes more time than thinking. As I was reading your comment, my mind was trying to figure out the connection between natto and liver failure. Of course, the connection was age. 🙂

  25. January 12, 2008 11:51 pm

    Thanks fighting. My refridgerator is CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN. I did it that day. It still looks great.

    Thanks again for the boost.

  26. January 12, 2008 11:52 pm

    By the way every time I read natto I keep thinking Mork and Mindy, “nano nano.’

  27. January 13, 2008 9:55 pm

    First of all, it is obvious you did a full Clorox scrub on your fridge before you took the pic. 🙂 No big deal cuz you are not an objective journalist held to an ethical reporting duty.

    I am of the mind that Big Corp. foods (e.g. Coke, Kraft, Hunt, etc) must be shunned. Also, Corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target, and big box groceries must be denied. I prefer the Whole Foods. Not that they are not a corporate entity, but because they buy from a large batch of suppliers who operate in a highly competitive market for shelf space.

    Great post though, it makes peeps think about matters that appear mundane on the surface, yet there are many underlying issues that need to be sussed out.

  28. January 13, 2008 11:34 pm

    I didn’t clean it before I took the picture, but I did turn all the labels to face the camera. 🙂 I guess the quality of the photos isn’t that great, so nobody can see the true state of cleanliness. Organized it is, but full Clorox scrub, no.

    I agree with you JP, I wish I could afford not to shop in the big boxes. That last sentence you wrote is very nice. I like the word “sussed.” The price of eggs from Polyface Farms is 3 times the price of “battery-cage eggs.” I bit the bullet and bought them on principle. I’m going to make the phrase, “Yes, but what does that have to do with the price of eggs,” my new comeback line in all kinds of arguments.

  29. January 14, 2008 8:58 am

    ya, the “price of tea in china” bit is kinda tired anyways. Especially considering that the labor cost is so low that there is very little fluctuation in Chinaman Tea prices.

    I am boycitting the Chi-Coms for a host of reasons (i.e., evaporation of U.S. mfg jobs, human rights abuses, thretening military build-ups, the fact that less than 5% of containers from China are inspected, etc.) It sucks cuz every time I go shop I see something I would love to have but it came from Chi-Coms. It is hard to modify consumer behavior but I feel it is my duty.

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