Holiday Gift Guide

I swear, I'm bringing Fridgin' Out back! Just spent the morning sifting through my parent's fridge and boy, let me tell you that it was a pretty nasty affair. It's like a dungeon in here- sorta like the time I want through the Work Fridge.

Because there is just so much interesting stuff in this fridge (both good and way expired), I'm gonna do it in 3 parts: The cooler, the fridge door, and the freezer. Alright, here's the cooler!

The thing about this fridge is that it goes pretty deep, giving Hideko leeway to just keep shit in here without ever having to deal with it again. There was stuff in here I swear was from circa 2006.

Alright, top shelf- lots of interesting liquid condiments. Here are some highlights.

Brown rice and malt vinegar:

Apple vinegar to drink. That's a big thing now, right? I have a few friends who have a shot of it everyday.

Unsweetened soy milk.

Probably the best ponzu (citrus soy sauce) you can buy in the States.

My mom seems to really be into honey these days. Here is Korean plum honey.

I'm pretty obsessed with this- Citron honey. There are pieces of rind in here- it's great!!! My mom said she got it at the Korean grocer. Goes really well with plain yogurt!

Pomegranate honey.

Maui onions???

Middle shelves are just a lot of different kinds of miso, pickles and rice in tupperware. There's the honey I talked about earlier, and lots of questionable foods in paper and plastic bags that I was petrified to open.

Homemade yogurt. I'll do a post on this sometime- it's great! I know Yoko makes her own too.

They keep miso in tupperware, which is a good idea cause it tends to dry up if it's not properly stored.

Moro-miso, which is special miso for dipping cucumbers in. It's my dad's favorite thing.

Umeboshi pickled plums from Japan. These are the best- they're huge and sweet.

Salmon flakes from Hokkaido. My aunt made me bring this back from Japan for my mom - it was so heavy!!!

Dried fruits that are now overdried from excess time in this fridge.


Candied ginger. I have never once known my mother to use this in anything.

Handy middle pull out drawer.

Pre-made inari skins.


You're gonna think this is gross... but this is my favorite thing ever. Fish sausage!!! It's basically a bright pink fish cake in a long sausage-like form. Love it.

Real sausage- this just can't be good for you.

I'm pretty angry about this: Jamon Iberico I brought back from Spain back in October 2007. UGH!!!!! THEY SUCK! How could they not open this- it's like gold!!!

Veggie box- not too nasty here except for molding mochi. But you know you can still eat that right? For whatever reason, mold on mochi goes away after it's cooked and it's safe to eat. I ain't no scientist, but that's the truth, Ruth!

Fuji apples from our tree in the backyard! This should be the last of it for this season.

Fridge hygiene: charcoal to keep the smell down. Obviously this works, otherwise the whole house would stink of rotting foods.

Trade-off for going through the fridge was to clean it. It was not pretty. Look at how much crap I threw out! EWWWW!!!

I cleared an entire shelf!!!

Stay tuned next week for the Fridge Door!!!
Column: Fridgin Out


  • can i move in and then you can cook for me?!!!

    my mom always scrapes the mold off the mochi. but maybe it’s because we cook it in the microwave.

    i wish we could make a trip to mitsuwa for mochi.

    Mel on

  • Seeing this made me believe that you were actually at MY parents’ house for this post… what is it with Japanese moms and hoarding items in the back of the fridge?? Anyway, thanks for that amusing post :-)

    K on

  • I bet Hideko yelled at you for throwing out the containers! They are perfectly good to store something else for next 3 years!!

    Yamahomo on

  • Tomo’s Ma
    I just had to laugh so hard,,,
    Thank you Kayoko for putting this article. This must be the on-going-issue between mothers and daughters of Asians. My mom, who’s 88 has three refrigirators and still cannot find enough space for everything!!! I am getting better, thanks to Tomo’s nugging and my awakening to the truth about frige power. I only buy a week worth of groceries vs. months, now. I no longer believe in freezer power. I used to think that it could literally keep things fresh for a year!( scary, huh?)I think, somewhere back then in Asian countries frige sales persons succeded in making general public believe that it’s a magic box. So, millions of house wives fell for this religion called Frige the All Mighty God. Obviously the younger generations—especially those brought up in U.S.—seem to know better, so why don’t YOU make it your mission to convert your mamas, ok?

    Anonymous on

  • I am forwarding this post to my mom right this second, this is one of the main arguments we get in when I come home (I know, pathetic).
    Because of this, she has spawned the most militant refrigerator organizer.
    you would think she would have learned from my grandmother who has this black sesame candy from Korea that is OLDER THAN ME. Yes folks, asians truly believe that freezers are some sort of mechanism that will stop time dead in its tracks.

    tomotron on

  • Yamahomo- you, like my mother, need to let go of cheap, flimsy disposable plastic containers that totally melt in the microwave!!!

    i hate to go all green on here, but we definitely need to get you some good Pyrex tupperware, like Vinka!!!

    kayoko on

  • oh i love this convening of the generations! how wonderful!

    yes, it seems as though Japanese mothers have the tendency to hoard their food until it rots to oblivion? Tomo and Kaoru- it’s clearly up to us to regulate.

    Amy- i will certainly save you the package of dead piggie.

    thanks for reading!!!

    kayoko on

  • I Am a Scientist, and I am about to blow your minds.

    Did you know that the mold you see is just the fruiting body of the fungus? It only makes the fuzzy part to reproduce. It’s a very small part of the organism. That’s why bleu cheese and brie taste good all the way through and not just on the moldy-looking part.

    And Kayoko, if it’s possible and you eat the Spanish ham and the box isn’t contaminated with dead piggie, save it for me? I think I see Braille on the packaging, and all of the sudden I’m really curious if Spanish Braille is in different letters than American English Braille or not, and now I work with people who can read Braille. When I’m a little less shy around them, maybe I’ll ask them to read it for me.

    amy ann on

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