It’s not a mere appliance to me; it’s a Temple of Corporeal Transmogrification, a kind of gastronomic tattoo parlor where I enter sapped and hungry, and emerge energized. It’s like my God Jar, my box o’ buff body dreams, stocked with the amino acids and omega 3’s of the indestructible soon-to-be me, the one I proclaimed would recover its optimal weight, strength and yogic flexibility by year’s end. It’s my refrigerator and I am kneeling at its altar. Scrubbing it out.
I didn’t always have such a soft spot for it. Growing up, cleaning ours out was one of the least-liked chores, more often outsourced to our friends who for some strange reason relished climbing in and purging it. Maybe it was the subversive peek into our dietary secrets or just a contest to see who could find the oldest expiration date. Even now, when we visit home for the holidays, my sister and I marvel at the 23 jars of mustard & 14 kinds of cheese, and wonder how long it’ll take the styrofoam box to biodegrade behind the cans of V8. But who among us hasn’t been guilty of icebox neglect at some point? I can almost identify the particular penicillin strain in that Chinese to-go box in the back of mine.
But now my soft spot has gotten a little too soft around the middle, and I’m redefining the frozen Lean Cuisine model of my 80’s childhood to a more streamlined, whole grain version. Not an extreme makeover, as I’ve been in a beans & greens trajectory for years, but it’s time to give the fridge an enema, a cooler colonic to clean out what poisons may be lurking on the bottom shelf.
This morning’s date with Mr. Clean rejuvenated the big white box. Inventoried, purified and reorganized, it’s now full of yummy goodness, nary a sugary snack in sight. There’s chard and freshly soaked yellow eye beans, a jar of red cabbage sauerkraut (biodynamic), oyster mushrooms, scallions & miso for soup, the best cider you’ll ever sip (Ricker Hill, local), and, I’m happy to say Dad, that there’s only 4 jars of mustard. The drawers are full of crunchy veggies I’ve been shaving into salads on my Muji mandoline and Bob’s Red Mill (flax, rolled oats, wheat bran, cornmeal) has taken up whole shelf residence. Best part, chilling in the door: a couple of bottles of vintage bubbly – because I sense there’ll be lots of celebrating in my near future!
All the lovin’ isn’t reserved for the interior – I create a visual bonanza on the outside, too – all good houses of worship are welcoming so I curate the door like an artful gallery – affirmations like “I’M LIVING THE LIFE I IMAGINED” to “THE UNIVERSE REWARDS ME FOR TAKING RISKS ON ITS BEHALF” greet my ravenous self. There are photos of my nephew (who makes my heart melt, which is what I want the excess lbs to do) and of gorgeous landscapes that remind me of the inherent beauty in all things natural. There’s a ticket stub to that Michael Franti concert where I sweated & bounced like a pogo stick last summer and a red, handmade, save-the-date card for the Iowan wedding-in-a-barn with the delicious roasted goat. There’s even one of my first watercolors, a postcard of a ripe Anjou pear.
Now, even before I open the door, I am uplifted, buoyant with good spirits, which is just how I want to feel before the Commencement of Nourishment. Like setting the table with your wedding porcelain and lighting delicate tapers for romance, I want my edibles to be given as much care as the farmers who grew them. I may have inherited a full-pantry sensibility, so my fridge won’t ever look spartan, but my Shrine of Healing is bursting with all nutritious ingredients to transform me back into the SEXY, ROBUST, GREEN GODDESS I know I am.
Now where did I put that yoga mat?