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So, my father-in-law was in town for the Fourth of July holiday. When some relatives come to visit, they bring a bottle of wine. Maybe a dish to pass. Photos of their colonoscopies, perhaps.

My relatives? Well, they come bearing major appliances.

More accurately, he brought a modern nostalgic curiosity that was once a major appliance. It is a 1950-ish GM refrigerator that, despite a faint musty smell, actually still gets cold. He picked it up, along with two others, at an estate sale where he paid thirty bucks for the set.

A huge bargain!

Yay! A beer fridge!

But, yeah, I made him plug it in to make sure it worked before we hauled the beast down to the basement.

I’m not stupid.

When we discovered it did work, feelings were, I have to say, mixed. Sure, it’s awesome to have a cheap new beer fridge, but, crap, we gotta get it downstairs.

But we did. And I’m happy. It’s been running for a week as I write this and has not stopped making the air in its spacious storage compartment cold and has not shorted out and burned my house down.

I have three favorite things about this fridge:

1.  The handle you pull sort of like the handle on a slot machine is cool. It makes a satisfying clicky noise when you open it and a solid kerchunk when you close the door.

2.  The awesome GM emblem on the front. Yep, back in the days before recalls and exploding cars, GM once made refrigerators. I’m thinking of sending GM a demand for cash right now, just in case.

3.  When I opened the fridge the first time, I discovered it came with a bonus freebie.  HOW TO USE YOUR HOME FREEZER, copyright 1945, by Dr. James D. Winter. Here’s his bio: “M.S., Associate Professor of Horticulture, University of Minnesota; in charge of the frozen food research in the Division of Horticulture, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, University Farm, St. Paul.”

This book is EIGHTY PAGES OF AWESOME about the wonders of modern science that resulted in the ability to freeze fish! Or strawberries! Or Nazis! (Okay, it doesn’t say that, but this was 1945.) And Dr. Winters is the man to lead us into this brave new world because, as his bio tells us, “long years of experience in frozen food research are backed by a keen personal interest in the subject.” Then it goes on to explain, that after working all day in the lab, he goes home at night and on the weekends to stick stuff in the fridge, which, apparently, is not a euphemism.

The rest of the book provides excruciating detail about what happens to the vitamins in food when you refrigerate them, the best packaging, the best way to get foods ready to store, and optimal arrangement of foods in the freezer (“It will be much easier to select the food you need if, for instance, all the strawberries, beef roasts, or whatever you want are each in their own pile from top to bottom of the freezer.”) Dr. Winter recommends an inventory chart.

Hey! I just realized that a guy named WINTER is writing about freezing stuff! Destiny is a powerful thing.

There’s even a handy section on the proper way to kill a bird before preparing it for freezing. I’ll spare you the details, except to say that I now know what’s needed to “permit better bleeding.”

If “How to Serve Man” was a cookbook (and we know it was. Never trust giant space aliens.), this book tells you how to keep your enslaved human population fresh and tasty as possible while you peruse recipes. Thank you, Dr. Winter.

Gotta go. Time to thaw out some…well, it tastes like chicken.




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