It’s no secret that I love men who love food. Not the men who simply love to eat whatever happens to placed in front of them. No no, that could be any man who excitedly dives animal-style into a Double-Double for every meal, who thinks getting Fatburger is a change, who says that Olive Garden is a real Italian treat, especially since they take reservations.
No, I am talking about the “food men” – food writers, professional chefs, writing chefs, food nerds, wine geeks, manfriends who tap into their PDAs, with alarm, the call-in day for French Laundry 90 days in advance because they know, the men we know who *sigh* out a souffle or stir a risotto into creamycrazy from their bare hands, the mysterious stranger who smiles in the shade of his boyish baseball cap at the farmers’ market pondering what to make as he lovingly caresses a soft, fuzzy pink peach in a way that sends a quiet thrill all the way down to your…er, *blush* well, you know what I mean.
Men who love food and cooking make me *sigh*
But I have a slightly embarassing confession.
As much as I adore men who know their way around a kitchen like Cassanova knows his way around a woman, I am so utterly enamored of men who are…at a complete loss. I love men who are helpless in the kitchen. The ones who don’t even know where the kitchen is. The ones who think that if it doesn’t come in a hot box from Papa John’s, pizza comes from a microwave oven. The ones who “make” canned soup in a frying pan because that’s the only piece of cookware they inherited from their college roommate.
I am flabbergasted by the absence of such basic tools like a knife and a spatula. I pretend to be frustrated by having to slice and dice vegetables with a butter knife when we’re going to “cook in” at their place. I am amazed that someone could survive on only beer and ketchup.
But deep down, I love it. It is endearing. It is adorable. I stifle my smile behind a “How can you not have a cutting board?!?!?”
Let’s leave the explanation of why I love the helplessness to the Psych students. Let’s? Thanks. :)
So anyway, we went to Dave’s house for an impromptu pool party. I toted along a small supply of fresh fruit. When I opened Dave’s refrigerator to put away the remainder of the peeled and cut fruit that wouldn’t fit on the serving plate, I was taken over by that same impossibly paradoxical mix of emotions. An immediate disbelief at a sight that was so universally typically telling of a man that is was almost comical, and at the same time, I was utterly charmed.
Dave’s refrigerator was the perfect example of what I must now call The Manfridge™.
The Manfridge™. It is the refrigerator that belongs to a man who clearly has no influence of a woman. (Ooo, I might get lynched.) The Manfridge™ is always in one of two states: a) completely and totally naked, exposing every grate, shelf, see-thru crisper drawer, and frost-free, energy-saving surface, or b) fully stocked with absolutely nothing.
Dave’s fridge is fully stocked. In the door, there is bottled water on the top shelf and on the bottom shelf, not one, but two bottles of ketchup, condiments that would have made Top Dog blush with shame, every brand of hot sauce available in a regular market, and salad dressings, though I’m not quite sure why he would have salad dressing when every salad to-go comes with dressing on the side.
The main compartment of the refrigerator is a neatly organized collection of what might be thought of as “drinks” to the uninitiated. However, those of us non-laypeople know that Full Throttle, individual bottles of tonic, canned soda, V8, other various fruit juices, and large bulk bottles of suspiciously fluorescent green fluid are not really “drinks,” as in “to drink, by themselves, as a refreshing fruit juice beverage.” They are “to make drinks.” Even a tiny bottle of milk that one might have hoped was for a breakfast of cold cereal was probably for…Kahlua.
Not a single shred of real food to be found. Of course, there was fruit in the fruit and vegetable crisper – limes.
The only thing missing from Dave’s Manfridge was a flat screen tv mounted to the front door pre-set to ESPN and FoxSports in every time zone provided via satellite and a small tap attached to a secret, internal keg.
I could not believe my eyes, and I was completely…I must confess, I was completely enamored. Totally charmed by such flagrant display of manliness. *blush*
But I also have another confession.
Ohgawd. I can't believe I am out-ing myself like this. *gulp*
My refrigerator looks a lot like Dave’s.
I have a Manfridge™.
For some time, I was totally ashamed by this. In fact, I felt really bad about myself because of it.
My sisters would come over and look in my refrigerator, aghast. My mother would open the refrigerator for cold, filtered water out of the Brita, then close the door, stunned. “Sarah!” they would gasp out. “You have no food!” They were surprised that someone so “into food” didn’t have any food. Frightened for my nutritional health, they would ask “What on earth do you eat? How do you survive out here? In the wilderness of West LA? With no food?!?!” It is the same tone of voice I heard in my head when I opened Dave’s refrigerator. Or John’s refrigerator. Or many other guy friends’ refrigerators.
For some reason, it made me feel as if there were something wrong with it. I don’t even have a bottle of kimchee. What kind of good Korean girl doesn’t have a gigundous bottle of kimchee in a state of suspended fermentation on the bottom shelf of her refrigerator?!?!
This kind of Korean girl. And I never said I was good.
So yes, it would seem that Sarah has a Manfridge, but it is not without cause. There are three very reasonable explanations as to why it appears that there is almost nothing of true substance in my refrigerator that would give any indication that I care about food, let alone eat any.
It makes perfect sense that my refrigerator is not brimming over with food for eating at home because, quite simply, I eat out a lot. Thanks almos
t entirely to my current financial situation, though, I am not eating out quite as often as I used to. However, I am certain that the current frequency with which I eat out is far higher than average, and just barely beyond excusable for someone who is gainfully funemployed.
Eating out a lot is one of the explanations that I maintain a Manfridge, but it is giving way rapidly to the other reasons.
You see, I said that there was “almost nothing” substantial because although the bulk of my Manfridge airspace is taken up by common bar stock, there are some certain things hidden in the deepest recesses of the refrigerator: a carton of eggs, cream cheese, and butter locked away in the "butter garage." From time to time, a container of milk will make an appearance, but I will tell you, I drink Kahlua straight up. The milk is not there for White Russians.
What does this mean? This absence of a stockpile of prepared foods? Let’s break it down: “stockpile” and “prepared foods.”
I am what one might call an “Efficiency Eater.” It’s not “efficiency” as in “eat fast and efficiently without burning too much of our limited supply of natural resources.” It means I don’t like to “stock up.” I live alone, so stocking up means that inevitably, almost half of whatever I “stock up” on will never get eaten. It will go to waste, and if there was one thing my parents taught me, it was that there are children in Africa. Uneaten food will sit in the back of the middle shelf, progress through every shade of the bacterial growth rainbow, before I finally discover it, three weeks too late, horrified by the hairy alien I have been giving refuge to in my refrigerator. I use one hand to cover my nose and mouth as some sort of primordial haz-mat protection from the noxious fumes, and the forefinger and thumb on the other hand to grab the package, tupperware, ziplocbag, whatever it is, by the least harmful corner, throw it in the garbage, tie it up, and run it out to the trash chute, screaming for the safety of anyone who gets in the way. Waste.
Many a perfectly good, non-disposable Tupperware have become disposable because of this.
I just simply cannot stock up on anything other than condiments and things like mayonnaise that will expire in 2038 because I live alone. (By the way, mayonnaise would actually last long past 2038, but I’m sure that people would freak out if the jar actually said “can be passed down for three generations past you.”)
The “Efficiency Eater” things also has to do with “prepared foods,” or “pre-prepared foods.” It has nothing to do with the fact that I think “pre-prepared” is a stupid word because if it is prepared, it is already made, and you can’t pre-make something that is already made. It has everything to do with the fact that I tend to buy ingredients, as opposed to foods. I like to shop for fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, bread, anything, the day I plan to cook something at home. That is it. Not only do I buy them the day I plan to use them, but I also buy only enough so that there might be enough for one day of leftovers. No stockpiling.
So there it is. My confessions. I have this “thing” for manly men who don’t know where the kitchen is except to find their Manfridges.
And, I have a Manfridge.
But I am proud of it. Now grab me a Miller Light, will ya, babe?
** a year ago today, i had a dinner-and-a-movie date, sans date **