Monday, February 2, 2015

A fridge of one's own

I listen to BBC World news in the mornings because I get up before Morning Edition comes on. About 10 days ago, I listened to a BBC World News story about a family in India that had saved and saved in order to buy their first ever refrigerator. Not only was it their first, it was the first one in their village. In the interview, the wife talked about how much time she spent on food preparation every day because almost nothing could be stored without spoiling or going bad. I’m not sure why that stuck with me but it has and I’ve been thinking about life without a refrigerator ever since.

My fridge
Think about it. I’m sure you’ve heard about places that don’t have electricity, or plumbing. Those are real problems, but the scope and scale is so large I can hardly wrap my head around living that way permanently as a way of life.

But a fridge is something else. If you’ve got a fridge then you have some form of electricity, and you probably have access to indoor plumbing too. If you don’t have a fridge, though, your daily life will be different. To be honest, I hadn’t even realized how not having a fridge would affect me until I heard that story.

My entire approach to cooking and meal planning and even grocery shopping would have to change. If you can’t refrigerate left overs, then you have to cook just enough for today. And you have to go buy your food every day. But you can’t take advantage of food sales because you don’t have a way to refrigerate or freeze the extras for later. You can’t cook in bulk either. I have a friend who, no joke, cooks a month’s worth of food for her family of six one weekend a month. That’s only possible because she’s got a big honking deep freeze.

Certainly in our first world environment, I could get around this by eating out every day. And I know people who do just that, even while owning both a fridge and a stove. But what if you live in a small village with no restaurants? What if you are the cook? Then it’s all on you, always, daily.


Jeanne said...

I've thought about this during the weeks we've lived without power (because we live in a rural area at the end of a neighborhood line).

readersguide said...

I lived in Germany on a farm about 30 years ago and they had a deep freeze and also a fridge, but a much smaller one than the ones we live with. They would leave a lot of leftovers out -- things we would always put in the fridge, like cooked meat, were apparently just fine being left out overnight. Of course, not having a fridge at all would be much more difficult, but we could probably get away with less than we have.