I looked in the fridge and discovered that the WideEyedSpouse and I had successfully filled the backs of the shelves with containers and objects of mystery.
Crème fraîche container. Actually contained crème fraîche. From New Year’s Eve caviar, blinis, and a bright-sparkling Spanish cava. I sniffed it. “Seems ok,” I told the Spouse. My tongue tingled and burned under the little sample. Perhaps not.
Tarter sauce jar. Actually contained tartar sauce. Expiration December 5, 2014. No one can remember why or when it was purchased. Now we have a warehouse club bag of 115 frozen fish sticks waiting for saucy additions. I wacked the stuck on lid on the counter a couple of times and cranked it open over the sink so the crumbly bits didn’t go all over the floor. I sniffed it. “Seems ok,” I told the Spouse. I dipped a crunchy warm fish stick into it and tasted. “Tastes ok,” I announced and plopped a few tablespoons on my plate. If something happens to us, tell them to check the fish sticks AND the tartar sauce jar. Which is now back in the fridge. Because now there’re 93 frozen fish sticks waiting for saucy additions.
Wegman’s 4% cottage cheese container. Contents unidentifiable. Did not sniff. Sniffing was, in fact, unnecessary as the aroma instantaneously saturated my sinuses. Miss Tibbit, who helps with food investigations, sneezed.
½ head of Chinese cabbage. Felt solid, did not sag. I peeled it out of the thin produce bag and sniffed it. “Smells ok,” I told the Spouse. He looked at me over his fish sticks. “It’s black,” he said. I peeled open the layers, “not inside the leaves,” I told him. “It’s black,” he said.
Daisy Sour Cream Light container. See cottage cheese container. With blue fuzz.
2.5 pint Ball Jars of bacon and beef fat. Clean, pure, lenses of suet collected throughout our years in this place. No, there is no logic to this. We cook bacon or whatever. Fat is bad for drains. Thus, we dump fat into jars and refrigerate. Problem solved. I opened the jars. Sniffed. Smelled like meat. The dogs offered a solution, which I ignored. I thought about our long, cold, snowy winter. I thought out the chickadees, woodpeckers, crows, sparrows, robins, thrushes, and finches. “I bet the birds are hungry,” I said to the Spouse and traded clearing the fridge and eating fish sticks for a run to the hardware store. It was an easy decision.
I melted the fat, tossed in some old cornmeal and old oats – because mystery containers are not restricted to the fridge – and piled in as much premium Northeastern bird seed as the greasy liquid would take. After cooling the whole thing down for a couple of hours I cut it into six suet cakes and hung the first from the grape arbor in the back garden.
It’s out there now, dangling in the winter sun. There are a couple of peck marks in it but not much action so far. Tibbit got stuck in the three feet of snow below it. She cried for help. She knows there is something wonderful up there. Come on birdies, there’s something wonderful here for you!
Then, as I was writing about the suet cake and hungry birds…