Thursday, 12 January 2017

Fridgewatch,the reality of leftovers

Red pear camembert and ant 
© Irving Penn December 1992
 Opening the door of my fridge is like entering a positive Aladdin´s cave of delights, but at the same time also discovering some other horrors that are not so delightful. Has your curiosity ever got you into trouble? Have you ever been so desperate to know a secret that you took no notice of a warning? All through history there are stories of people being told not to open doors, caskets, cupboards, gates and all sorts of other things in case of what they might find there.In so many of the stories, the people just did not listen. One person who did not listen was Pandora. Her story comes from Ancient Greece and her curiosity brought a whole heap of trouble! My curiosity always gets the better of me when it comes to opening  fridge doors.My fridge is the demon larder of leftovers and when this larder lout goes in search of yesterdays overestimation I often stumble upon things that have been there a  lot longer than yesterday, and are most certainly not  the basis for a tasty supper of leftovers.They now become the responsibility of waste disposal
When I open that door, especially at this time of year, I never know what is in there that could spell disaster.It is the beginning of the new year and this is the time for ethical cleansing of that fridge and renewal in the pantry. Behind that door is  a store of many interesting and unusual objects.
You'll see a vast array of jars, squeezy bottles, and plastic containers housing condiments from all corners of the globe, many inadvertently having bypassed the date-labelling stage of the storage process.That ham bone can be alleviated of its remaining flesh and shredded for a stir fry and after that deed is done the bone spells out peasouper so thats fine, but open that white plastic tub and I find a grey green mould on a long past its sell by date pot of creme fraiche, which is not so fine.
There is an element of danger surrounding the discovery of a flattened tube of tomato paste or wasabi.The fear of being caught out generates a certain excitement the possibility of an un-announced visit from lifesaver Hasselhof, or even better Zac Efron re-booted and de-shirted for "fridgewatch 2017"God forbid it should be Keith lemon peering through my keyhole in the hope of catching a bit of celebrity JOOOOOOSE on the turn.Some days I dare not answer the door for fear of this unannounced visit of the fridge police, or perhaps a paparazzo  in search of a photo essay on the subject of my fridge.Some of Irving Penn´s archival food photography come to mind.One of the most disturbing and gross photographs I have ever seen, is his  study of a red pear,camembert and ant (above).It turns my stomach,as does Wolfgang Tillmans fly crawling across some fresh crab (below)

I can hear a cry of revelation as they catch me out and find that gangrenous greengage stuck to a saucer undeterred since August.
Jaques Cousteau´s voyage to the bottom of my salad box continues plumbing the depths of salad leaves and florets of one kind or another.Two thousand  leagues under I am like a 19th century troubleshooting seaman.Yellowing sticks of celery slowly melding into the bottom of the salad drawer. blending with some slimy black lettuce that will require more than just hot water to remove.
Salad leaves that have slimily adhered to the inside of plastic bags they were put in and have become undetectable from seaweed.
No, dont get me wrong, once one has learnt better management of frigorification there is nothing to be ashamed about making a supper from yesterdays overestimation.It is way way better than buying readily peeled new potatoes and other pre-prepared side dishes to make a Marks and Spencer ready dinner and pass it off as your own.
I am definitely a lover of leftovers and some of my favourite meals have been created from such.It is something I inherited from my mother who was probably the cleverest,most resourceful housekeeper there ever was.
These kind of meals stemmming from a good old rootling and rummaging through those containers far outweigh going out shopping on a cold winters day.I recently saved the stock I had boiled my cauliflower in and this, brought together with the leftover cauliflower cheese and some almond milk can elevate this frugal dish to a taste sensation.Tonight the left over curried parsnip soup will come together with Sunday´s roast chicken carcass to make a heart warming creamy curry,something probably in no way authentic but who said I was entertaining a maharajah.Last night a jar of Pequillo peppers got chopped into a Roquefort pasta sauce.The Roquefort was a true leftover but the jar of Pequillo  peppers were a store cupboard staple so in a way this concoction becomes slightly fraudulent in the term of being called a meal of leftovers.The peppers were merely gilding the left over lily.The word leftover must be fully understood.A packet of unused sausages that have not been cooked can not in any way be classed leftovers, whereas all the ingredients for bubble and squeak are truly left over from a previous meal.You must ensure the food you are using is in good condition.Rule of thumb too is if you cant remember putting it in there, throw it away.Good luck everybody with your ethical cleansing,and make sure your resolution is to set a better precedent before the 20th January.

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