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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why Is There a Saint Bernard in the Kitchen?

It’s not a big fridge. You wouldn’t, for example, walk into my kitchen and say, “Well, for cryin’ out loud, check out the fridge that Pearl’s got!”

You could, but it would be inaccurate.

It’s a standard fridge, a friendly fridge. There is some unbaked cookie dough lurking in the freezer, whispering vague and imprecise promises of fat-free indulgence. There is a tremendous pot of spaghetti sauce and home-made meatballs made yesterday, sure to be perfectly aged by the time I get home. And there, on the upper shelf, the shelf that requires that I stand on my toes, behind the sour cream and the pickles and that port wine cheese spread, is a bowl.

A most unsavory bowl.

My mother would, perhaps, take this opportunity to give me that beating she claims she should’ve given me in my formative years, one possibly involving a shot of water from the hose at the kitchen sink and a Minnesota State Fair yardstick. She wouldn’t be far off the mark here, frankly, because even I, a bucket-o-bleach-water-and scrub-brush hardened cleaner of other people’s homes was taken aback.

Because at the back of the fridge?

A little bowl of fuzz.

Blue and white fuzz, to be precise, just enough to cover the bottom of a carefully covered, smallish bowl.

What was it? We will never know.

Please bow your heads.

We’ve come here today in search of sustenance, of fare both sweet and salty, and to mourn the loss of whatever you figure might’ve been in that bowl.

It wasn’t much of a bowl, a small, humble bowl, really; but it did it was made to do. It held something. It held it securely, it held it with integrity, and, apparently, it held it for a good long time.

But what it held, that’s the mystery, because like many of us, it’s not the clothes we wear, it’s what’s inside those clothes that is interesting. You and I are careful to hide the blue and white fuzz of our lives, cautious in showing our rot to the world, but the little bowl did not have that option. Tucked behind the refrigerator pickles, behind the half-and-half and the pickled herring, the bowl waited, slowly going fuzzy with neglect.

The tautly stretched plastic wrap was never disturbed.

The bowl waited in vain.

Today, using that plastic wrap to scoop out the moldy, almost experimental contents of that bowl, now dropping said bowl into the hot, sudsy water of the kitchen sink, I am reminded of my brother, the man who once bit off one of my fingernails in an attempt to get a larger bite of my sandwich.

“Hey. You gonna eat that?”

Good-bye, fuzzy kitchen leftover. Whatever you were, I should’ve eaten you.

37 comments:

Susan in the Boonies said...

They're digging a mass grave and considering building a monument to The Graves of the Glorious Dead in front of my fridge.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Nothing lives long enough in our fridge to grow fuzz...in fact the words, "Hey, I was going to use that for supper." are heard frequently here.

Shelly said...

I have a small bowl like that in the back of our fridge. It remains there, though, because I think some other member of my famiy should have to deal with it, and they of the oblivious- to- what- needs- cleaning group don't even know yet it is hopelessly out of date and not usable.

I can already tell I'm going to lose this battle of wills. At least you've already gotten yours out and cleaned-

Simply Suthern said...

I usually perform my science experiments in the company fridge with all the other biohazard laden Tupperware containers.

I should have eaten it the day I brought it in but how could I have turned down the invitation for a trip to the taco trailer? After that its just out of sight out of mind. At least until Fridge cleanup on the last Friday of the month.

I pity the clean up folk.

R. Jacob said...

So you mean that fuzzy food is not part of the food pyramid?
wow, I really have to rethink all this...sigh...

Oilfield Trash said...

Hmm now I must go and see what is in my fridge.

jenny_o said...

And now we'll never know what medicinal boon to mankind you might've had in there :)

Pearl said...

Susan, that is fantastic. :-) And hey -- can anyone here explain to me how to comment on Susan's blog?! I go there all the time but there's no place that I can see to comment...

Delores, things don't last long in mine either, which adds a depth of mystery to the fuzz bowl!

Shelly, ah! I live with people who will step over something in the middle of the room rather than bend over and pick it up. I feel you...

Simply, ooh, and isn't there a post in THERE somewhere! The office fridge. One shudders to think...

R., if ONLY the fuzz was part of the food pyramid! I'd save a lot of money...

jenny_o, nice. :-) Silly girl!

Camille said...

Oh Gawd - now you've gone and reminded me I have to clean out my own damn fridge before my mother and other persnickity family members turn up on Thursday. *sigh* Thanks a lot Pearl.

Ach du lieber said...

Take comfort in the knowledge that it's now in a far, far better place.

Condolences on the loss of your..er...food...

Vicus Scurra said...

Another parallel universe destroyed by Little Miss Anal.

Pearl said...

Camille, just one of my many valuable services. Sorry, hon!

Ach du lieber! The bowl of fuzziness will be missed.

Douglas said...

We have come to, in this house, blaming Frances (my sister-in-law) for any weird alien growth in the fridge.

Susan's blog can easily be commented on. First, look for the tiny (almost imperceptible) word "comments" next to the line which starts with "Posted by Susan in the Boonies at" Click on that "comments" and a new world shall be revealed. And, of course, it will not be blue and fuzzy.

Bodacious Boomer said...

You can keep cookie dough in your frig? You must be a paragon of restraint. I am envious.

Pearl said...

Vicus Scurra, I laughed out loud at that, and now we've gone and frightened Intern Boy, my little cube buddy.

Douglas, I'm going to start blaming Frances, too. :-) (And thanks!)

Bodacious, well, it came from Schwan's and it's in the freezer part, but yes. :-) I wouldn't put any money on it being there for long, though.

Eva Gallant said...

You mean there's not supposed to be a bowl of blue and white fuzz in the back of the refrigerator? Damn! I thought it came with the fridge!

Pearl said...

Eva, there was a time in my life when the blue fuzz DID come with the fridge!

lgsquirrel said...

Oh Pearl, you should have frozen it. One day, the science of cryogenics would have figured a way to bring it back to life. :)

Belle said...

This post shows what a great writer you are. A story about a bowl in a fridge should be boring instead of funny and fascinating!

Joanne said...

I opened the road dept fridge this morning to get a battery (I don't understand men, either!) and let me tell you Pearl, your little covered bowl can't compare to open containers with spoons inserted like road signs, cartons that have grown to each other, I can't go on. I extracted the battery package between 2 fingers. I left the pack on a desk for a road guy to put away. And I came home and read this and howled. The road department wins.

Leenie said...

Can you imagine a hundred years from now when they clean out that cryogenics fridge? "Who or what was that? Can't read the label, just a bowl of blue and white fuzz....oh well, toss it."

bill lisleman said...

I'm the left-over man around my house and this brought a tear to my eye (maybe it was the odor?).

Life Unordinary said...

Ah those bowls of fungus... i know them only too well! funny post.

mrwriteon said...

Did the contents of the bowl actually move? If not, you can probably leave it for a while. But, when you mentioned your meatballs it made me develop a yearning for your wonderful meatballs and I have the recipe thanks to your generosity.

SherilinR said...

you WASHED it? when things get the point of fuzz in my fridge, i generally suspect that if the container is plastic, it will have absorbed whatever foul oders and funk they previously held, so i throw that badboy bowl right into the trash. then i congratulate myself on decluttering.

Pearl said...

Lgsquirrel, that’s why I’m hanging on to the soap scum in the bathtub. :-)

Belle, oh, so sweet!

Joanne, chills ran up and down my spine…

Leenie, the vision of Walt Disney, on ice, so to speak, just came to me…

Bill, a more frugal woman would’ve figured out something to “do” with it!

Life, thank you! I’ve seen some weird stuff in the fridge, but this was really something special.

Mrwriteon, the bowl didn’t MOVE but I do think I heard it HUM, which, when you think of it, is rather ominous. (I will be having spaghetti and meatballs tonight. MAN but that sauce is fantastic!)

SherilinR, :-) It was in a little china bowl, no cracks or anything, so we’re good. I think a plastic container would’ve been compromised for sure…

Chip said...

Get out of the kitchen you silly saint bernard!

The Happy Whisk said...

I squish your head, back.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Now I am reminded of one of the large tasks to complete before guests arrive. My daughter-in-law always is very helpful in throwing away food past it's "use by" date, but for some reason the fridge still needs to be cleaned. At least once a year, whether it needs it or not. Have I horrified you, my bucket-o-bleach-water-and-scrub-brush friend? Please feel free to stop by and visit any time, just bring that bucket.

Roshni said...

That's why I usually keep leftovers in almost worn-out plastic boxes... so when the science experiment comes to fruition, there is no dilemma about whether to wash the bowl (and potentially risk losing my lunch) or just chucking the entire offending article in the trash!!

The Elephant's Child said...

I think those bowls are actually sneaky. You swear that you keep a clean fridge and yet, everytime you clean it this little bowl keeps moving, moving, moving. Until the day when it decides it has grown enough fuzz to be unveiled. And when you lift the plastic ....

Gigi said...

I know exactly what you are talking about. We've had a few of those lurking around in our fridge a time or two.

anonblog said...

hey, gotta nice blog (:

Carole said...

I rarely if ever have anything mold. My fridge is almost always empty. It drives my kids crazy when they come to visit. "Don't you ever buy food?"
"Yes, I do, and I like it. And so I eat it." "But where are the leftovers?" "In my stomach." "OH"...

mystic29 said...

That was evolution in progress Pearl. Being male I have seen many such life experiments, some go on to colinise whole sections of the fridge, some escape and terrorise the neighbours but all are...or were life! I bow my head in respect!
Kymbo
http://tempo11.blogspot.com/

River said...

At least it was solid enough to be scraped out and tossed. not at all like the liquefied lettuce I found in someone's crisper once. I still recoil when I remember that smell.

Pat said...

Sharing a house in France with an old nursing friend we found the yoghourt in the fridge had gone mouldy whereupon Diana started to eat it.
When I gasped in horror she said:
"It's only penicillin."