THE SONIC BOOMER
I know the holidays are over when my refrigerator is bursting at the seams with, well, food. My husband and I don’t eat food.
Oh, we subsist on things we have chewed up, but it is not what one would call real food.
If you open that fridge door on a random Saturday — say, June 10 — it will contain a half-eaten sub from the local sub shop, a carton of milk slowly going sour and, of course, wine. There will also be a Styrofoam-tubbed history of the restaurants we’ve eaten in that week, with Monday jammed all the way to the back. The freezer is home to my collection of batteries.
I don’t like to cook. It’s not that I’m not good at it, it’s just that I’ve calculated it out and, without fail, it takes me many more minutes to prepare the food than it does for people to eat it. So it’s not good time management on my part. If you add in the effort it takes to buy groceries and after-meal clean-up, it simply does not make sense.
I’d rather be typing. I enjoy it, and people pay me to do it. The ROI is greater.
Yet, after the holidays, my refrigerator is chock full of things given to me by people who have used their brief time on earth to cook.
When this first started happening — people cheerily foisting various foodstuffs on me unbidden — I would just say, “No, thank you.” I quickly learned that this is not something that people who have spent hours in the kitchen want to hear. So, right now, my refrigerator contains eight baked potatoes (“Just pop ’em in the microwave!” No.), an “egg bake” (an unspecified conglomeration of ingredients of which one, I assume, is eggs), and a gigantic dish of guacamole with leftover bits of tortilla chip reaching out for help from the middle of it.
There are also packages of random cheese and sausage (another gift), accompanied by teeny, tiny jars of mustard. I dislike mustard, but it’s OK, the jars are too small to get a knife into anyway.
The worst is the sourdough bread. This ubiquitous substance never goes away. Even though it’s the worst-tasting bread out there, you are supposed to keep a starter batch and — get this! — “share” similar starter batches to everyone within driving distance. No! Keep your time-sucking bread to yourself!
Initially, I looked over the lump’s accompanying recipe, but certain excerpts convinced me I will never be baking this stuff — “feed your starter the night before,” “get a kitchen scale and pour 525 grams of water into a bowl,” “let the dough sit for an hour,” then “let the dough rest for 30 minutes, repeating 5 to 6 times,” “finally, let the dough rest for an hour, then put in the fridge for 12 to 22 hours,” and “when you take it out, let it rest for 30 minutes” then “back in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.” That doesn’t count the time you spend kneading it and, after you finally shape it, it bakes for 45 minutes.
Are you kidding me. There is no way I am devoting 31 and a quarter hours of my life to babysitting a loaf of bread! No wonder people try to give it away! It costs a buck and a half at the grocery store. If I ever want some (and I don’t), I’ll pick it up when I’m in there buying a lottery ticket.
OK, OK. Enough ranting. I’m going to spend my time more productively — namely, by cleaning out the fridge.