Is it just me or do you also have a tough time finding things in your refrigerator? I am mostly talking to the men reading here. Of course, we have no trouble finding the refrigerator, do we?
Here’s some stuff I couldn’t find this week: Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks, Sara Lee’s Cheesecake, and Aunt Jemima’s syrup. What do these women have against me? Why are they avoiding me?
I did find a tube of anchovy paste, which had expired six years ago and had slid behind the vegetable bin, but I believe the difference between fresh anchovy paste and stale anchovy paste is pretty academic, so I put it back where I found it.
I know these other things are in there somewhere — and my wife is hiding the good stuff. I’m convinced that when I’m sleeping, Mary Ellen sneaks downstairs and rearranges everything in our second fridge. She shoves the jar of horseradish behind the milk carton, buries the tartar sauce under the bag of spinach and conceals the lettuce in the lettuce bin. (Never underestimate how tricky she is.)
It annoys me that companies like Amana, Frigidaire and Maytag label parts of the fridge. Who are they to tell me where to put my food? A specific place for butter, cheese, eggs, meat, vegetables? Please. When you buy bookshelves does the second shelf have tattooed on it “Non-fiction”? I think not.
I want to jam all our food on the top shelf so I don’t have to bend down to eat directly out of the appliance.
Sometimes, around midnight, I’ll be hungry for a ham sandwich on rye, with mustard. The rye bread is easy (you seldom lose things in a bread box) and I can usually sniff out the ham. But that mustard has a mind of its own. It should have an extra label:
Warning: This condiment has been known to disappear when placed in a confined environment under 40 degrees.
I hate to admit it, but I often require marital help for this search and seizure. Otherwise, I end up sticking my head in the Amana and clanking around in there for 20 minutes, coming up with nothing but a frost-bitten nose. Last night, I hollered upstairs to my wife:
“Mary Ellen, where’s the mustard?”
“In the refrigerator.”
“Gee, thanks, that really cuts down the amount of time I’d have spent looking in the washer and dryer.”
Then I heard that inevitable sigh. It wafted down from the living room and cut through me like a dull knife slicing a squishy tomato.
“Keep looking, Dick. It’s there.”
“It’s not here, dear. Are you sure we have mustard?”
“Yes, I’m sure. Look behind the pickles.”
“Are you sure we have pickles? I don’t see any pickles.”
Mustard should be the easiest thing to find. Because I can never see it — even when it’s right in front of me — I always think we are out of it, so I keep buying more. That’s why there are three half-full containers on the lower shelves and five more full ones poking out their crusty heads from inside the door.
I can never find anything. I can’t even find a funny way to end this column. I think I’ll just relax, maybe go in the kitchen and make myself lunch. A hot dog with a little mustard and relish sounds good.
OK, maybe just a hot dog.
Dick Wolfsie was a reporter for WISH-TV in Indianapolis for more than 30 years. His columns appear in 30 Indiana newspapers. He is a resident of Indianapolis. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.