Top 10 Signs It Was Time To Clean My Fridge

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So, I got home from the grocery store yesterday and lugged in all these bags that filled every inch of my countertops. The part I hate the most about grocery shopping was before me--finding a place to put all that food.

I started with the refrigerator items. I opened the fridge door and was faced with a real problem--not one inch of room left. It was chock full of foods of varying degrees of freshness and edibility. No way I could get my new groceries in there.

This was a sign that it was time to clean the fridge. As I started going through the sometimes frightening contents of my overstuffed fridge, I discovered other signs; in fact, these 

Top Ten Signs It Was Time To Clean My Fridge:

fridge thumbnail

1. The zucchini had changed from a solid to a liquid. At least I think it was a zucchini. Hard to tell. I have witnessed this wonder of science take place in other vegetables through the years, but when the zucchini feels neglected it turns into a particularly slimy, liquified state. At least in my experience. And, I'm, well, pretty darned experienced when it comes liquified veggies.

2. The carton of cream had gone from a liquid to a solid. When I tried to pour it out in the sink, it didn't exactly pour. It kinda clumped into the sink. (Pardon me while I go take some anti-nausea pills.)

3. A crust had formed under the milk container. This is not my fault. Someone else let the milk drip down the side of the carton, settle on the shelf and dry into a crust of milk skum. Note: I only live with one other person, and his nickname begins with a "K". (FYI, only pies should have crust, not milk cartons.)

4. The freshness date on the mustard had expired. The freshness dates on many things may have expired, but it's particularly alarming when it happens to mustard. Because, you see, mustard doesn't expire for like 2 years after you buy it. That mustard and I were growing old together. It seemed.

5. There were more than 3 partially used containers of sour cream with a range of expiration dates that went back to holiday cooking that was, well, quite awhile ago. It would be far too embarrassing to tell you which holiday I'm talking about. It wasn't Labor Day.

6. I needed a razor to tame the mold growing on something inside a Rubbermaid container that was, hmmmm, not sure what that was. We'll just call it a container of mystery mold in need of a shave.

7. A renegade carrot escaped it's plastic bag and had whithered into a twig in the bottom of the vegetable drawer. It was a sad, shriveled, little twig of a thing.

8. The Swiss cheese had turned into blue cheese. Let's call it bleu cheese; sounds more European and less gross. Swiss Bleu Cheese. Now, that sounds kinda classy, don't you think? Maybe I could crumble it and make Swiss bleu cheese dressing? A new recipe! Maybe not.

9. I needed a hammer and chisel to get the maple syrup bottle out of the fridge door shelf. The same person who put a dripping milk container in the fridge put a dripping syrup bottle there. The syrup leaked out into a pool under the bottle and hardened into a substance that could compete with epoxy as an adhesive.

10. The take out Chinese container had the stealth-like abilities to remain hidden in the deep depths of the fridge for so long that I didn't even know what was in there anymore. I really didn't want to know. I was afraid to open the container for fear that some freaky living organism might jump out. That container went directly into the trash can. I don't need to know what is in there. I don't want to know.

Before all of you and the world, I must apologize to my garbage disposal. Just imagine having all of this rotten food dumped into your mouth and being expected to chew it up and swallow it. (You might want some of those anti-nausea meds about now.) That's what I did to my poor garbage disposal. It was a difficult experience, but we worked through it. Together.

And now, before all of you and the world, I vow to never again let my fridge get that disgusting. Yes, I've made this vow before. But this time I really mean it. I know. I said I meant it last time. But this time, I really, really mean it.

On the other hand, I can rationalize the rotten state of my fridge. Here's how. I recently read that one way to know that you're avoiding preservatives in food and eating healthy whole foods is to buy foods that rot. Okay. Makes sense. But, how will I know that my food rots (and is therefore healthy) unless I let it rot? So, I'm really letting food rot in my fridge to ensure that I'm eating healthy food. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

Here's an idea for a new reality TV show: "What's Rotting in Your Fridge?" Could be a hit. I'm sure NBC will be in touch when they hear about this.

Until Hollywood comes calling, won't you share with me a particularly rotten, disgusting experience you've had with a dirty fridge? It is good therapy to share such things. Cleanses the soul, if not your fridge. Trust me.

So, my yummy friends, time to spill it. What disgusting things have you found in your fridge?

Posted on Sunday, September 12th, 2010

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Here are a few gift guides I made to help:

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