Thursday, 8 July 2010

Spearing The Great White Whale

moby_dick peck

On her comprehensive home organisation website, Cynthia Townley Ewer refers to cleaning out the freezer as “Spearing The Great White Whale” – like Moby Dick, it lurks round the corner, haunting you with its hidden horrors.

Well I decided I should tackle my freezer and fridges this week – I have a small freezer and two quite small fridges. The photo below [from the Internet – I wouldn’t dare post a photo of my own horror] shows approximately what the main fridge looked like. That is in the kitchen – the other two boxes are out of sight in the Futility Room [thanks J for suggesting that highly appropriate name for it!]


The hectic pace of life recently has meant meals have been rather haphazard of late - much of the time we have been eating at 'summer events'  or finding ourselves delayed and so grabbing a snack 'on the run'. The other morning , breakfast was potato waffles from freezer and some bacon [needed eating up  promptly] because I could find nothing else 'breakfast like' and I didn't think Bob would appreciate Marmalade-On-Ryvita

I confess to procrastination about the whole clear out/clean and defrost issue. I knew what would happen. And it did

In the freezer I found eight Tupperware tubs of chicken stock - made with worthy and thrifty intentions for being turned into soup later. But who needs nourishing soup in July?? I threw away all but two [and felt really guilty about waste] then there were three more unidentified tubs of green or brown frozen goop  [apple puree? or  pasta sauce? or chocolate pudding?] I didn’t keep those either. crustsThen there was the tub half full of breadcrumbs, made from crusts I saved and then put in the processor for future cooking stuff. But I don't use that many breadcrumbs in my cooking these days [carbs and calories] so they went. [only half full because the lid came off last week when I was hunting frozen peas - so the other half-tub of crumbs was scattered over the bottom drawer]  and finally there were two pathetic little tubs "Leftover chinese takeaway- will serve one with rice" beautifully labelled- but utterly ANCIENT – no identifying date or anything and “curry for one”. I cleaned it all out, put all the newly emptied plastic boxes in the dishwasher and tackled the fridges.

rotten tomato

Fortunately there was nothing as revolting as these rotten tomatoes. But I do have some questions…

    1. Why were there three jars of horseradish sauce? – we eat roast beef rarely [that’s “not often”- rather than “undercooked”!] so why THREE jars ?
    2. How long can you keep goose fat ?
    3. Why do ‘pickles and preserves’ now need to be kept refrigerated and eaten up in the space of a week or so – years ago, the jar of pickle kept going for MONTHS in the pantry
    4. Those 450g pots of yogurt – WHY do they print the ‘use-by’ date on the foil lid which Bob takes off, licks, and throws away when he opens it? So I never know how long the ¼pot has been there!
    5. In magazine articles about fridge makeovers, why does the ‘after’ picture always show colour co-ordinated food?  I suppose it is like before/after diet pictures, where the ‘after’ one shows the woman with new haircut, makeup and well cut dress.

onken biopot

Fortunately there was not too much food to be thrown away, and it was good to realise that there was a lot of stuff left for making decent meals for the next few weeks. But I do feel awful about any waste and may give Bob just Ryvita and a piece of cheese for lunch, along with an apple from the fruit bowl.

Everything looks clean and organised now, though, and I have a proper list of the freezer contents prepared.


I found an article on the Real Simple Website about organising the fridge-freezer, and felt better about mine, when I realised what lurks within other women’s iceboxes…

The article gave the list below


Found and Tossed from R’s fridge/freezer

  • 32 ketchup packets
  • 30 soy- and duck-sauce packets
  • 12 bottles of salad dressing
  • 4 tubs of spreadable margarine
  • 1 empty bottle of ketchup
  • 1 head of (brown) lettuce
  • 1 container of (very brown) chopped lettuce
  • 1 container filled with “either some type of chocolate sauce or gravy,” says R
  • ½ glass of soda (in a two-litre bottle)
  • 24 fish sticks bearded-over with freezer burn
  • 22 three-month-old Popsicles
  • 9 heels of bread, knotted in their bags (“to feed the ducks”)
  • 3 six-packs of English muffins (from a 2008 gift basket)
  • 1 near-empty box of soy “chicken” nuggets (one left)
  • 1 near-full box of soy “chicken” nuggets (one gone)

lock'n'lock My attempt at rationalising my storage is slowly working. Following Liz’s example, I am getting rid of mis-matched plastic boxes with ill-fitting lids, and replacing them with pukka ‘Lock’n’Lock’ ones as time, funds and the Lakeland Sale permits!


  1. Hmmm, thought for a moment that you were writing about me!
    Actually, I am feeling complacent , as I 'did' my freezer last month. Not telling what went out in the bin.

  2. Hee Hee. My recent clearout unearthed some hot cross buns which I thoroughly enjoyed eating up.

    Glad I'm not the only one who ends up chucking that stock I so carefully made and froze for fuutre use.

  3. Snap!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Freezer clearout definitelyon my list of "TO DO" ~ thanks for shaming me into doing it lol!!!

  4. So when did you come snooping round my fridge/freezers - huh?!!
    I laughed all through this as I had the same guilt complexes for chucking away " a little left over cider - pour over pork chops" and ancient grey stuff looking like somethig from the postmortem floor in a gruesome cop show. My defrosting was so gruesome I did it over two days with a lie down in between!
    But now I can hold my head up high - lol - it's sorted.
    "Women of the cleaned out fridge/freezer unite!"


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