I don’t know if other people are like this, but I love to look in other people’s refrigerators. Maybe it came from a job I had for a few years selling closet organizers in which I walked straight into someone’s house and into their closet, skipping all formalities and getting right to the heart of things. After all, you can learn a lot about a person from their closet, and I’m sure, also their refrigerator.
But you can’t just go to someone’s house and open their refrigerator on your own, right? The polite thing to do is wait for the “help yourself,” or, “it’s in the fridge” comment, after which, it’s ok to take a peek as you’re getting out what you went in there for. But don’t linger too long, or you’ll be revealed as a snooper. (On a side note: I found a site called FridgeWatcher that has pictures of the outside and inside of people’s refrigerators across the world. Fascinating!)
Of course, there are certain friends and family members where you’ve already skipped past that stage. Where it’s ok to be hanging out in the kitchen and, with a pause in the conversation, randomly open the fridge to check out what’s there. Our friend Nevin, who knows us so well, even buys special things when she knows we’re coming over, so that Jan can “discover” them. They are almost always frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s that we don’t buy ourselves (trying to limit the prepared food we consume), but really are dying to try. Jan will disappear for a few minutes, and return from the chest freezer in the garage, grinning and holding up a box of cucumber wontons or vegetable samosas. “Try it, try it!” Nevin urges, already turning on the oven to preheat it for him. Oh Nevin, how we love you.
I fear though, for the person looking through our refrigerator, that they will probably be disappointed, as it seems to be filled with mostly condiments. The door is stuffed with jars containing everything from wasabi to lingonberry sauce, ketchup to Sriracha. And then, they are scattered throughout the shelves, meat, cheese, and vegetable drawers as well. I tried once, to reduce their numbers, and that did not go over well. Jan said each and every one was necessary, that we wouldn’t want to be ill-prepared should we suddenly have a need for horseradish, tahini, or nacho cheese sauce. He also says they are not all condiments, as I call them. Some are sauces and ingredients, which are very different. So I’ve given up, admitting the error of my ways. I guess refrigerator contents and the state they’re in can reveal something about you, after all.