Domestic Tips for the Modern Man #2: The Remarkable Refrigerator

The refrigerator, or ‘fridge’ if we are being informal, is a device integral to most modern kitchens. One could argue that it’s the humming white heart of the whole operation, without which the kitchen would simply be a room with a sink in it. Therefore knowledge of the fridge and its ways are important tools in the domestic man’s mental toolbox, or mental utility belt if you prefer.

The main function of the fridge is to prolong the life of certain foodstuffs, which it does by keeping them cold. Milk, for example, only lasts a couple of days if not refrigerated. If placed inside a fridge, however, it can last up to a week, perhaps longer if the fridge is turned on.

Inside the fridge you will discover slated grills, where foodstuffs can be stored. Any spills will run through these slates, making it wise to keep the tastiest things on the top – that way, in the unfortunate event of a spill, everything below will become tastier.

It may come as a huge surprise to learn that not all food ages at the same rate. To discover the life expectancy of a food, find the ‘use by’ date on its packaging, and add 20 – 80%. You do this because typically manufactures underestimate the usable duration of foods, because they don’t want to be sued by some frothing pantywaister with a weak stomach and loose bowels. Since this isn’t you, you get a bit more mileage.

Another important thing the fridge does is store leftovers. Say you’ve gone to all the trouble and expense of microwaving yourself a nice meal, but don’t finish it in a single sitting – there is now a better course (pun alert!) of action than simply flinging it out a window! Now that you own a fridge, you can put the leftovers in it, ready to be microwaved again later. Note that it isn’t healthy the repeat this process too many times. If you find yourself microwaving leftovers for a third or fourth time, you might want to consider preparing less food in the first place.

Some controversy lingers over whether one should bother storing items like jam, vegemite and tomato sauce in the fridge, or if they’re all right in the pantry. It’s your choice of course, but suffice to say that if you choose the fridge, everyone will think you are some kind of Thomas. It might help to remember that, if the fridge is the heart of the kitchen, the pantry is its brains.

After owning your fridge for a while, you may become curious about the smaller door on the unit. What’s inside? Not some magical fairyland I can assure you, but rather a place called the ‘freezer’! This is an advanced function of the fridge, used to humanely put down goldfish. The freezer, like all things, comes with its dangers. Under no circumstances should you test the temperature of the freezer with your tongue.

Another thing that makes the fridge more than a simple electric cupboard, is the light that comes on when you open the door. You might not see much point to this on the day your fridge arrives, but wait until nightfall to truly appreciate this spectacular function. No more grubbing around for food in the dark like a wild boar – simply open the door for an illuminated display of all the food you have available, if any!

Warning: fridge light is not strong enough to read by for prolonged periods.

And speaking of not reading for prolonged periods, that’s about all for this time. Hopefully you’re now well on your way to becoming a successful fridge owner, and feel free to pin this article to your fridge as a handy reference! (alternatively, use a magnet)

Good luck!