WHERE'S THE CREAM CHEESE?
10 June 2005
"Do you have any room in your freezer?" Ellen and Shelly asked me.
I told them that I had nothing but room in my freezer. We have a full size freezer in the garage which we've had since our days in Oakland, when we used to buy sides of beef from the now-defunct Petrini's market in San Francisco, and fill the freezer with meat. I also used to process all sorts of fruits and vegetables. I would make spaghetti sauce from scratch, using fresh tomatoes, and freeze it. I would make huge vats of pesto sauce and freeze bags of ice-cube sized pesto to be used to flavor foods throughout the year.
When it was jam season, I discovered "freezer jam" and found out that strawberry jam made for the freezer tasted so much better than the traditional cooked jam and I would make lots and lots of freezer jam.
The freezer was occasionally the source of some misadventures. I was babysitting for the son of an orthopedist one day and when I went downstairs to get something out for dinner, a frozen standing rib roast fell out of the freezer right on my toe. I literally saw stars.
By the time the orthopedist came, I could barely walk and my toe had turned a lovely shade of purple. I had been waiting for him to arrive so I could ask him about it.
"I think I broke my toe," I said.
He glanced down, as if looking at a bit of garbage someone had just tossed on the ground.
"You probably did," he said, swooping his son up and walking off without even giving me any indication about what to do for the toe. I never liked the guy anyway.
Some years later, the freezer attacked me by tossing a container of frozen beans at me, and breaking another toe.
One thing we were sad about when we moved to Davis was losing Petrini meats. I had gotten so accustomed to buying meat only twice a year, with the butcher knowing the cuts I liked, and with always having above-average quality meat in my freezer.
We found a butcher here (in those days there was actually a butcher shop in Davis!) and ordered a quarter side of beef, only we discovered that (a) it was much more expensive, (b) it wasn't nearly as good quality, and (c) I hadn't learned how to tell them to cut it and I didn't like the cuts that we got. So I stopped buying beef in bulk.
For a time, we belonged to a food coop, until I slipped in someone's garage one day, on my work day with the coop, trying to carry some heavy boxes, and landed flat on my back. Was it really worth that just to get a little cheaper price on things? No. We quit the co-op.
By that time it seemed as if our way of life was changing and somehow buying in bulk didn't seem to be necessary any more. I was also working, so didn't have the time to stay at home and process food to stick in the freezer.
Over the years, the freezer has been sorely under-used. In fact, it is used so little that Walt got to filling up big jugs of water to keep in there just to keep the temperature low enough.
So when Ellen and Shelly asked me if I had room in the freezer, I could unhesitatingly tell them that yes, I did have room in my freezer. They are gathering donations for Sunday's Gay Pride Picnic and Noah's Bagels always gives them lefover bagels, which they then give away to anybody who wants them during the picnic.
I did some rearranging of the things in the freezer. I took out all the bottles of water and noted a lot of forgotten food that I had put in there over the years (yes, years). I also had moved all of the food out of the freezer in anticipation of the floor guys moving the fridge to put in the Pergo and had not moved all of it back into the inside freezer yet, and did that.
I cleared what I thought was tons of room, until they showed up with the bagels. Shelly got out of the car, slinging a couple of sacks over her shoulder, looking like a diminutive Santa Claus. We tried to get all the bags in the freezer, but discovered that large garbage-sized bags filled with bagels are not all that easy to get onto a flat shelf. I would get them in, and then they would start dripping down off the shelf.
Finally with a lot of pushing and pulling and removing of shelves we were able to get all the bagels into the freezer, which now held almost nothing else but bagels. I felt so proud. I had done it!
But Shelly looked worried.
"Where am I going to put the bagels they give me tomorrow?" she asked.
After they left, I repacked bagels into as many plastic containers as I could find, on the theory that it's easier to stack hard-sided. I managed to do more cleaning out of the freezer, including some very old, totally unidentifiable foods packed in plastic containers (must remember to label and date things!).
I also moved as many bagels as I could to the outside refrigerator. This is a fridge that belonged to Walt's mother before she moved to San Francisco in 1967 (yes, you read that right). It was old in 1967. But it still runs. Walt sometimes stores beer in there (tho he doesn't really drink beer). And again, it is filled with containers of water to help keep the temperature down. It has a small inside freezer and I was able to stuff one small bag of bagels in there. I also managed to fit a big plastic container of bagels in the inside fridge freezer.
It's going to be a challenge to get another batch of bagels in the freezer this afternoon, but I have rounded up all the Tupperware I can find and I hope that I am up to the challenge.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is a little less than half the first delivery of bagels,