What’s Finally In Your Fridge?

Open fridge

When last we left our husky hero, he was grazing his way through Kansas the basement storeroom. Now is time for him to finally reveal What Evil Lurks In The Heart Of AMANA. Boowahaha….hack, hack!? Stand back! I don’t want anyone crushed when I open this door.

Poor refrigerator, it seems to go in cycles, always busy, but there are days when you can open the door and get an echo. A week later, if I threw a cup of water at it, all but a few drops would splash back on the floor, it’s so jammed with leftovers put-asides. ‘Leftovers’ has a poor connotation; these are intentional, and good.

As downstairs, almost everything in the upstairs fridge comes in multiple versions. There are two 2-liter jugs of iced tea. The three of us drink more than one per day, so there’s always another one chilling. There’s my morning orange juice, but because the wife’s allergic, she has serially gone through cranberry juice, apple juice, the iced tea, and now is drinking mango juice.

Among the condiments we have regular ketchup and my Hot and Spicy ketchup, yellow mustard, and Dijon. (We can’t afford Grey Poupon.) There’s sweet relish, and dill, the wife’s mayonnaise and my Miracle Whip, white vinegar and malt, soya sauce and Tamari, which is spicy like soya, but with less caramel for lighter colored foods and less burning when cooked. .

The shelves are jammed with lemon juice, lime juice for Tex-Mex, coconut oil, Indian ghee, which is a clarified cooking butter, HP sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, hot chili-garlic sauce, Tabasco sauce and Chipotle Tabasco, sandwich spread, Sriracha, chili sauce, salad dressings, chopped garlic, shredded garlic and shredded ginger, maple syrup, stuffed olives, sliced pizza olives, and two different Diana sauces.

We stock store-bought sweet pickles and gherkins, and homemade dill pickles in snacking quarters, and slices for burgers and sandwiches. The wife likes artichoke hearts, the liquid from which she sometimes uses as a salad dressing, adding a dash of lemon juice and salt, and we keep both margarine and butter for cooking and spreading.

There’s 4 kinds of fruit in the fruit drawer, and 6 different vegetables in the vegetable drawer, including zucchini, which the wife fries with olive oil & garlic salt and tops with shredded cheese. Milk includes 3% homo, my chocolate milk, the wife’s non-dairy Coffee-Rich cooking substitute, and buttermilk to make pancakes and waffles. The son and I eat regular sour cream, while the wife uses the more expensive, lactose-free.

CHEESE! Oh Dear Lord, cheese! We always had cheese, but now that we’re getting older, the wife ensures that there’s lots of cheese to assist my chocolate milk to fight off osteoporosis.

Fasten your seat belt! – The son’s cheddar cheese-string sticks, the wife’s mozzarella sticks, Kraft Singles sandwich slices, Havarti slices, a bag of shredded TexMex, a bag of grated Parmesan for pasta and homemade Caesar dressing. In blocks, we have smoked Parmesan for special dishes, Emmenthaler, the son’s Gruyere, cheddar, the wife’s goat-milk Kashkaval, which she puts on the fried zucchini, Monterey Jack, occasionally mozzarella, which I take from the freezer, to thaw for lasagna, pizza or French onion soup, and Edam, for family-gathering hors d’oeuvres. Oh, and don’t forget the flavored cream cheese spread, the jar of Cheeze-Whiz, and the jar of salsa con queso, which I dollop on my nachos.

Behind the leftovers on the top shelf, hide two or three flavors of homemade jam – red currant from our own bush, strawberry, raspberry, sour cherry, or spiced peach. Tired of putting it on toast? Mix a little boiling water, and they make excellent pancake/waffle toppings. Up there are also horseradish, beet relish, which is 50/50 horseradish and grated, cooked beets, and goes great on ham, pickled ginger, and a soup can full of salvaged bacon fat that we use to fry French toast, or make a roux for gravy.

The son works midnights, and doesn’t take the evening meal with us. He eats at 4:00 AM. The wife and I prepare a recipe that was set up when we had two healthy teenagers. Now she and I take what we want, and fill a Ziploc container for the son. Sometimes he has two or three ahead in the fridge.

Tupperware

Occasionally we pack some up for the daughter, especially tomato-based dishes, because her son is allergic to them, for days when her mobility disability keeps her from cooking. Thank the heavens for microwaves. Tupperware was handy but expensive. Now Ziploc and Glad containers are here. If you melt one a bit, it’s quick and cheap to replace.

After we’ve supplied the son and daughter, anything left goes in smaller amounts for future lunches. No longer just sandwiches – unless you want one. We freeze fresh bread, and never put out more than half a loaf. That top shelf is crowded with little containers of chili, won-ton soup, curried chicken and hamburger stroganoff.

I had to install a light fixture above the sink with three hi-intensity halogen bulbs. The one in the fridge was always so obscured by all the food that you couldn’t see in. Thanx for reading our obesity diary. You must’ve wanted to; you showed up.   😆

***

On an unrelated note; I recently ran into a woman who’s even more of a Grammar Nazi than me. She warns her online friends that, if they send her a message like the last line above, but spelled ‘You must of wanted to’, she’ll unfriend them on Facebook.   😳

#489

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Minutia VI

In-n-Out

Food fight!  The Americans are coming.

I took the wife to a mall in our adjoining twin city.  Along the outside edge is a restaurant (?) named Zoup.  It has one main type of food on the menu – dozens of kinds of soup, mostly for takeout.  Five or six flavors are available each day, and change from day to day.  The son wants to try the bacon cheeseburger soup, but has never been there on a day when it was available.

Zoup

As the wife was entering the anchor food store inside, I noticed several workers taking a break across the hall, where they were renovating an empty space.  The sign in the window says it will be a strangely possessived, Carl’s Jr. burger joint, something to compete with the all-too-familiar McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, and A&W, which is (mostly) Canadian.

I found another construction crew working across the street from my usual supermarket, two doors down from a Mary Brown’s Chicken franchise, in a strip mall.  Mary’s is a strictly Canadian chain which does not really compete with KFC.

The space the workers were finishing (not soon enough for me) was a Tex-Mex outlet named Quesada.  I miss the Taco Bell that was close enough to walk to.  The two nearest are almost equidistant, but sadly, 8.1Km, and 8.2Km.  (Five miles – give or take)  Perhaps I won’t have to drive to Toronto for a decent platter of nachos.

BrainRants’ In-N-Out Burger recently announced that they were taking over an Italian restaurant named Osteria del Ganzi, in downtown Toronto.  They would serve only a hamburger, a cheeseburger or a double-double, from 11AM till 3PM.  They handed out wristbands, like a rock concert, and felt the line-up would start about 8AM.

I told the son that the line would start at 6AM.  The follow-up article the next day, said that one couple were there at 6, but a line didn’t actually start forming till 6:45.  They ran out of In-N-Out burgers by 11AM.  The two guys the paper interviewed, had driven two hours from Buffalo, and waited in line for three hours.

In-N-Out reps say they have no intention of opening an outlet in Toronto soon, but this must have been a test of the waters and, with a response like that, I hope they’re not too long in arriving.

***

Don’t fear the Reaper.  First he brought us a half-bushel of small cucumbers, and the wife, son and I put down 22 pints and 6 quarts of variously shaped dill pickles, quarters, slices for burgers and sandwiches and chunks for making dill relish with.

Then he helped us turn a three-quart basket of beets into 8 pints of pickled beets.  We’ve still got chili sauce and salsa to make, and we’re ready for winter.

***

Near where our comatose commenter, John Erickson, lives in Ohio, the small town of Warsaw has a thriving strip club – and a Holier-than-thou anybody-else, New Beginnings Ministries church.  During the week, do-gooder church members have been protesting outside the den of iniquity men’s club.

In response, the business has been protesting outside the den of hypocrisy church on Sunday mornings, including one by topless dancers.

No-one is doing anything illegal, and cannot be prevented from continuing.  However, both the club owner, and the pastor have been given a letter, requesting them to cease and desist.  It was signed by the city law director, the county prosecutor, and the local sheriff.  Assigning officers to each protest is straining law enforcement, and its budget.

***

Because I’m willing to meet people even stranger than me, when I published my (not so) recent birthday post about colonoscopy, I tagged it ‘rectum’, and ‘Jimmy Hoffa.’  When I checked, “What Other People Are Writing,” I found my piece to be one of seven tagged ‘rectum.’  They were weird!

There are hundreds of posts tagged Jimmy Hoffa, many of them conspiracy theories.  I laughed at, and forgave, a Chicano, English-as-a-second-language writer who titled his piece, “Jimmy Hoffa’s Body Trying to Be Found by FBI.”  I expected to look down and see a bony arm sticking out from under me, and a faint voice coming from my ass, saying, “Over here!  Over here!”

***

Yes, you’re right!  In case you were wondering (more than usual).  This is another post I wrote back in the fall, that I just took out of the freezer and defrosted for you.  Have it with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

#458

Food For Thought

We’re famous!  Or, our twin city to the north is….well, at least one old restaurant in it is.  I went to MSN.ca the other day, and there was an article about Harmony Lunch.  Still in its original building on the main street of Waterloo, ON, this eatery has been in business for 83 years, passed from father to son, to grand-daughter.

Opened at the beginning of The Great Depression, it is typical of 1930’s diners, which means that it is very un-typical for it to still be in business.  The heart of its appeal, the thing that got it going then, and keeps it going now, is that, the staple of its menu is pork burgers with fried onions.  The writer of the article said that they were made with ham, but there’s lots of parts of a pig that ain’t ham.

Always cheaper than beef, the patties are made with ground pork.  They are fried by the dozen on an old flat gas grill, right beside the sliced onions which are constantly replaced, and fried all day, in the pork fat, till they are tasty and caramelized.  The place goes though a fifty-pound bag of onions a day, obtained from local Mennonite farmers.  The split buns are given a quick toast at the edge of the grill, and then this delicious concoction is assembled.

Before the son achieved full-time employment, I would take him out for lunch each week I was on afternoons.  A couple of times we wound up here.  Long-time residents of the Twin Cities know about the place, and keep it busy.  It’s an un-liquor-licenced, family restaurant.  Within walking distance of both the Universities, the place doesn’t advertise.  The owner says that many students don’t know that it exists, or head for trendier eateries, but once they get dragged in by friends or family, he sees the same young faces regularly.

The lean, mean automotive world operates on a just-in-time system, and deliveries must be guaranteed.  When I worked at the auto-parts stamping shop, normal problems sometimes caused production delays, which in turn caused Saturday overtime work.  If any of my eight underlings had to work, I was expected to be present to supervise.  As the Purchasing Agent, I couldn’t call anyone, but there was always some paperwork which needed to be cleaned up.

The company president also showed up, and, about ten o’clock would ask each worker how many of these gorgeous Harmony Burgers they wanted for lunch.  Depending on the size of the necessary crew, he would phone in an order for 30 or 40, or 50, and arrange to have them delivered to the plant.  I can’t say that he was a kind, thoughtful, caring boss, just that he was cynical enough to know that he should appear to be.

In one of his how-to-be-an-asshole boss instruction sessions with me, he taught me how to get an unwanted change made.  First you start a rumor about something that’s far worse than what you want to achieve.  Then you let the workers stew about it for a few days.  Tell them on Monday that, the next Monday, when they come to work, you’re going to cut off both their hands and feet.  Let them worry about it on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  On Friday, you tell them, that you’re only going to cut off their left big toe.  They’re so happy that that is all they’re losing, that they go along with it willingly.  What a sweetheart!  I miss him….as much as I possibly can.  Oh yeah, asshole long enough and hard enough equals dead asshole.

I usually had two burgers at the plant, but, at the end of the day, there were inevitably a few left over.  I got to take these home for the wife and kids.  We joke that we can’t take the wife anywhere to eat, because she will figure out how to make the same food as well, or better.  Even though she was born and raised in Waterloo, the wife has never been to Harmony Lunch.  Despite that, based only on the leftovers, she has developed our own version.  I had a leftover one for lunch today before I decided to start this post.

It might not be the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices, but there’s obviously a recipe for them.  Other than ground pork instead of beef, we mix them as we do regular hamburgers, bread crumbs for filler, an egg for binder, salt, pepper, mesquite powder or liquid for tang, and some Worcestershire Sauce.  They make theirs thin, like a Big Mac single patty.  We make ours twice that thick.

To go with six burgers, for three people, I fry up two Sweet or Spanish onions, as big as melons.  It takes at least an hour and a half to render down a huge frying pan full of raw onion to a soup-bowl full of delicious condiment.  Add some mustard and sweet relish, on a lightly toasted bun, and you’ve I’ve got a meal that’ll stick to my ribs….and a lot of other places on this bowl-full-of-jelly body.

It’s nice to see a local business get some national recognition.  They must be doing something right, to have lasted for 83 years.  I hope that there is another generation to carry on the tradition.  I wish them another 83 years, although my cholesterol levels won’t let me stick around to see it.  It’s a good thing there was only the one burger left at lunch, but now I’m hungry again.  You guys talk among yourselves while I go raid the fridge.