Although some would certainly kick up a fuss if you tried to take away their Sub-Zeros with built-in televisions and icemakers, there are others who believe that a big ol’ refrigerator doesn’t necessarily lead to delicious dining.
British food writer Tim Hayward, blogging in the Guardian, asks whether we’re “Too Chilled Out?” In the fridge, foods hang in a state of suspended animation, unable to ripen or age in the same way they did when they were stored in larders, pantries, or root cellars, as in previous centuries. These processes develop complex flavors in a way slinging your stuff into the refrigerator just can’t. Notes Hayward:
Lovers of food are half in love with putrescence. Most things worth eating are at the very edge of decay or, without wishing to come over all French about it, redolent, in some way, of death. Suspending the process, stopping those enzymes working, killing the blooms, slowing the bacterial development seems to be just one more industrial process coming between us and culinary perfection.
So what should you refrigerate? Hayward’s companion piece in the Guardian’s food section, handily titled “What Should Go in Your Fridge?,” can get you started.
Meanwhile, Jonathan on the Wasted Food blog wonders if our love affair with large-capacity fridges leads to thrown-away food. “[N]obody likes an empty ‘fridge. I would guess that a great deal of food waste comes because we feel the need to keep our refrigerators stocked.”
For myself, I love looking at an empty fridge. A packed-to-capacity refrigerator makes me feel like the vegetables are a ticking time bomb ready to go slimy at any second.