July 15, 2016

Where's Althouse? Is she on vacation? No!

We are back from vacation. Drove the whole way home yesterday — 1,000+ miles — and got in at 1 a.m.

Opened up the refrigerator to find it hot inside. But the freezer section is still working, so it could be worse. Nothing melted. No escaped water. It's an opportunity, after all these years to throw out absolutely everything in the refrigerator, something I've never done. What's the oldest thing in your refrigerator? I'll try to figure out what mine is — could be as old as a quarter century — and I'll tell you later. I'll have some photos from the trip soon too.

But first — back from my balky laptop and on my familiar, comfortable desktop — some classic morning blogging.

67 comments:

Drago said...

Glad you are back.

Apparently some truck in France killed lots of people, especially a few muslims who were the most important victims.

MadisonMan said...

We got a new fridge 2 years ago, and did the purge then. There was stuff in the fridge that we moved to the house 17 years ago from the old place. Now the oldest stuff is probably "only" 5 years old.

Three loud Cheers for refrigeration!

Expat(ish) said...

You guys go 15+ years without a power outage?

-XC

Original Mike said...

"What's the oldest thing in your refrigerator? I'll try to figure out what mine is — could be as old as a quarter century — and I'll tell you later. I'll have some photos from the trip soon too."

Forget the trip. I'd like photos of the 25 year old jar of salsa.

Merny11 said...

Madison Man, okay I am dying to know, what the heck was in your fridge for 17 YEARS! LOL

MadisonMan said...

My candidates for oldest thing in althouse's fridge:

Mint Jelly.
Maraschino Cherries.
Egg-salad sandwich in Saran wrap.
Brown Mustard.
Ketchup.

madAsHell said...

Mayonnaise.
There is mayo in the fridge waiting to kill me. No one knows how it got there, but it smiles, and winks at me.

TosaGuy said...

A friend has a deep freeze in the basement filled with meat and it was plugged into a GFCI outlet (the type with the two circuit buttons on it). A close lightening strike popped the circuit in the outlet and about 3 weeks later when getting a steak to put on the grill he opened the lid and . . . .

He describes it as imagining the worse smell possible and multiplying that by 100.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Oldest in the fridge? Several things. A bottle of oyster sauce, jar of hosin sauce, hot chili oil, fermented salted black beans. Those things last for a very long time. Probably several years in our fridge but could last longer if we didn't use them up so frequently.

Original Mike said...

Our frig is on the other end of the spectrum. My wife goes through it every trash day. I am constantly on the look out to save perfectly good food from the landfill.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Horseradish.

David Begley said...

Althouse is the most disciplined writer I know. Every day for years.

Original Mike said...

"Egg-salad sandwich in Saran wrap."

That would have to be Meade's.

MadisonMan said...

@Merny11: We had a half-used can of Cafe du Monde coffee in our freezer for 20+ years. It was moved at least twice. A jar of Currant Jelly, and some orange oil, was in the fridge for more than 10 years.

Hagar said...

Sympathy.
Discovered my ice cream was soft last weekend, and when I checked, the refrigerator was 17 years old to the week.
Small space and I want a side by side without water dispenser, so the new one will not be here until next weekend at the earliest, so I will have to stick to non-perishables for the coming week.

ndspinelli said...

I have a milk carton w/ the missing Lindbergh baby on it.

rhhardin said...

My freezer cools the whole refrigerator. It's all or nothing.

Ann Althouse said...

"You guys go 15+ years without a power outage?"

Sometimes the power has gone out but it's come back on so quickly there was no reason even to think about the refrigerator.

Laslo Spatula said...

Professor, I was forced to fill in for you on an earlier post: The Fauxhaus Blog.

You're welcome.

I am Laslo.

Ron said...

should post say "whole WAY home"?

rhhardin said...

In fact I can't imagine what cools the Althouse fridge. Do they have two compressors?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Had to purge the refrigerator at work last year. You may not have to toss everything. There are things we refrigerate to keep cold not so they'll keep from spoiling.

Paul said...

I'm more interested in where you went for vacation. Out West?

rhhardin said...

The power was out for two weeks long ago but the maximum temperature for the day was zero for the same two weeks, so I just moved all the food outside.

AllenS said...

Some years ago, I was surprised to find out that ketchup wouldn't last 1,000 years.

Ann Althouse said...

"He describes it as imagining the worse smell possible and multiplying that by 100."

Here's where having almost no sense of smell is an advantage, but Meade said it didn't smell bad. There was no meat in the refrigerator. We did lose about $25 worth of cheese, but I'd say the smell was just an closed-in, heated sensation that was very unrefrigeratorly. Nothing putrid. There are some things in closed containers that we're not going to open.

rhhardin said...

Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk, best before May 03 2009. Unopened.

Unknown said...

There's a "Weird Al" song that is appropriate for this thread. It's his parody of Aerosmith's "Living on the Edge" with "Living in the Fridge."

At times like these, when we brave the recesses of the fridge, suited up in armor and hazmat gear, hoping that evolution has not produced something more powerful than us.... always remember that lysol and bleach kill 99.9 % of all bacteria.

And pray you don't run into that point 1 percent that can survive a bleach bath.

--Vance

rhhardin said...

Althouse sponsors raccoon midnight snacks.

Freeman Hunt said...

Pre-kids we had old things in our refrigerator. Now we need the space, so anything old gets tossed when the new comes in.

Meeeea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

"Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk, best before May 03 2009. Unopened."

So really, it's just not at its best.

Ann Althouse said...

"In fact I can't imagine what cools the Althouse fridge. Do they have two compressors?"

Yes. It's a SubZero 550 from 1991.

Fred Rawlings said...

Glad to talk about refrigerators today.
Ours started making sounds a month ago at the cottage while we were there. That gave us a heads up to take everything out and replace the fridge.

The most important foodstuff was the 3 pounds of chocolate in the chocolate (Vegetable) drawer that we hoard for the granddaughters. It was safely transported home and devoured. A new fridge deserves a new stash. Mission accomplished.

PB said...

Nothing like a LONG drive of over 1000 miles to add perspective to those little 200 mile jaunts.

When I lived out west, 500-600 mile drives were trivial endeavors.

Drago said...

Unknown: "There's a "Weird Al" song that is appropriate for this thread. It's his parody of Aerosmith's "Living on the Edge" with "Living in the Fridge."

That's no fridge, it's a micro-house in San Francisco!


Coconuss Network said...

Everything is fresh in my fridge. If not it goes into the Bio Container for the German farmers. A great recycling program. Food here is real good. Naturally good.

MadisonMan said...

Why do you keep chocolate in the fridge? Does it not bloom so quickly if kept cool?

(It's never around long enough at our house for this experiment to run to its conclusion)

rhhardin said...

Lindberg flew single engine across the Atlantic because two engines just doubles the chances of engine failure. Dual compressors likewise has twice the failure rate.

rhhardin said...

Now Althouse is going to have to wash out all the bottles so that the glass can go in the recycle bin that Madison undoubtedly requires.

rhhardin said...

You want Lindt 90% chocolate warm, so that it's not brittle in the mouth.

mockturtle said...

Glad you made it home safely, Ann. Hope you had a wonderful vacation. In your absence, we all did a good job minding the store.

Yancey Ward said...

I recently cleaned my parents' refrigerator and found cottage cheese from 2007 and a package of unopened turkey slices from 2008. They have a vertical freezer next to the fridge that I plan to clean out some time in the next month- knowing my mother, there are surely things in over 15-20 years old.

Yancey Ward said...

"Now Althouse is going to have to wash out all the bottles so that the glass can go in the recycle bin that Madison undoubtedly requires."

Yes, that is the worst part of a fridge cleanout. I probably food-poisoned the local wildlife when I did my mother's fridge. Had empty and wash over 40 various containers.

LCpl Predator said...

I've read (and lurked) numerous years to be in tune to your posting habits. Days ago I stated that I thought you were traveling (not posting during the middle of the day).

As an avid cook, I've purchased many ingredients that have been used only once in a recipe, and sat in the refrigerator for years. Two days ago I threw out some horseradish, olives, pesto, and raspberry enlightenment from Penzy Spice.

Hope you had a nice trip, and looking forward to your pictures.

Tommy Duncan said...

In many refrigerator/Freezers the freezer section cools both the freezer and refrigerator sections. A fan moves air from the freezer into the refrigerator section.

In warm, humid weather it is common for ice to build up in the air passages between the freezer and refrigerator sections. The solution is to thoroughly defrost the entire unit. I unplug the unit and place buckets full of hot water inside and then close the doors. The hot water helps warm the inside of the unit. The process takes an hour or two to complete.

rhhardin said...

You may be able to avoid the bottle wash law by breaking the bottles so that they're trash.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Ann - Welcome back. We missed you. We had some panic at your absence last night and roughly 450 comments to one of your posts.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Yes, that is the worst part of a fridge cleanout. I probably food-poisoned the local wildlife when I did my mother's fridge. Had empty and wash over 40 various containers."

That is some serious dedication to recycling.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think we have Ann beat as to longevity of foods in the kitchen. This place isn't too bad, since my partner bought it 7-8 years ago. A lot of freeze dried stuff from Costco from that time (she bought it for entertaining grandkids, who rarely show anymore - and bought everything in 8s, since she is OCD), but the only stuff in the refrigerator nearly that old is chocolate, that I am not allowed to eat and she eats rarely. But our place in the CO mountains is the bad place for this. Family has owned it since I was in college, roughly 45 years ago. Went through the over-the-counter medicines last year, and found stuff like aspirin from the 1970s. Also some stuff in the pantry that no one eats almost as old. Ditto for some of the booze. Did find a couple things in the freezer from the late 1980s. Nothing in the refrigerator had legs. Yet. But the fake milk was close. To be a sexist, it comes from having too many males in the family, and too few females.

MadisonMan said...

The oldest oldest stuff in the house that can be consumed is in my liquor cabinet. I have a bottle of vermouth from my Aunt's Dad's house -- he died in the early 70s -- and the price is marked on the bottle in grease pencil! Also some Angostura bitters from the same place.

R.J. Chatt said...

I don't have anything old in my refrigerator but I do have a bottle of Fernet Branca which is probably about 35 years old. Medicinal herbal, 39% alcohol. Thanks for getting me inspired to take a sip, tastes better than I remembered.

heyboom said...

Our 15 year old fridge went kaput last week. Been using a cooler with blocks of ice for the last week, and it just so happens that the new fridge is being delivered this afternoon. Wife kept the old stuff out so I would say the drawer full of fast food condiment packets is the oldest thing still in the old one, although some are probably at least 10 years old. Do those things go bad?

The old fridge heated the house as much as it cooled our food items so it was time to get some new technology anyway.

mikee said...

Vinegar, baking soad, lotsa water. Follow with dilute bleach. Rinse and repeat until the fridge does not smell of anything, because that smell will infest your food.

Darrell said...

Ann, you most likely have a problem with the defrost timer in your refrigerator. The cooling coils are in the freezer and air is circulated to the refrigerator portion. A buildup of ice blocks the airflow. If you remove the plastic grate at the bottom, the defrost timer will be near the water drain pan. You can turn the plastic stem with a screwdriver clockwise when the unit is running, until it stops. Let the water drain for about an hour, as you empty thr tray when it is filled. When the drips slow to about one per second, turn that stem on the defrost timer clockwise again until the compressor starts. That will take care of the problem for a month.

Darrell said...

The defrost timer will need to be replaced for a more permanent fix. But this will tide you over until a repair can be made.

Ann Althouse said...

"@Ann - Welcome back. We missed you. We had some panic at your absence last night and roughly 450 comments to one of your posts."

I was keeping up with things from the car, reading the news and reading comments. I could post using the iPad, but it's very awkward.

I wasn't really out of touch.

But we were gone a week, and I don't think you noticed. I kept up with the laptop.

Birches said...

@Darrell

That happened to us last year. The fridge is old, definitely 90s and was here when we moved. At first, I was mildly excited that we could get a new fridge. I figured we'd spend about a grand, maybe 1500 for something really nice. Then I noticed how much refrigerators cost (we need a big one, big family). I was so happy when Spouse said he could fix it. Hallelujah!

heyboom said...

@Birches

We just bought a Samsung 36" stainless with french doors at Home Depot for $998 on sale. It was listed at $1799 if I remember correctly.

heyboom said...

It's brand new, not used.

Original Mike said...

"The old fridge heated the house as much as it cooled our food items so it was time to get some new technology anyway."

If Freder were awake, he would humbly {/sarc} explain to you that waste heat off of an appliance does not heat the house. It's just wasted (or something).

robinintn said...

I've had a similar built-in subzero, and when the fridge went out, the freezer still worked. The nice repair guy had a lot of trouble even finding a schematic of the guts to begin diagnosing, but he eventually declared it dead. It was a gigantic pain in the ass, not to mention expense, to find and have a new one installed into the built-in space. Carpentry was involved. Months were involved. The repair guy was over so often that he an my daughter ended up dating.

Susan said...

Sourdough starter begun with yeast purchased on a trip to San Francisco in the 70's. I used to make sourdough pancakes with it but my last batch was probably 25 years ago. I wouldn't dare use it but still can't bear to throw it away as good memories would go with it.

Jon Ericson said...

Secret Life Of Machines - The Refrigerator (Full Length)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa7o49uOzVI

Worth a watch.

heyboom said...

If Freder were awake, he would humbly {/sarc} explain to you that waste heat off of an appliance does not heat the house. It's just wasted (or something).

Ha! It was either that or my wife's hot flashes that were to blame I guess.

Birches said...

Just looked. The samsungs are all on the inexpensive side. Thanks.

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