Holiday Gift Guide
So I've been wanting to "Fridge Out" for a while...and since I am spending an extreme amount of time in exotic North Saint Paul, Minnesota this holiday season I asked Kayoko if I could take all of you on a journey into my parents' refrigerator. So come's going to be just like Journey to the Center of the Earth, but funner...and hopefully minus Pat Boone.

So this is the fridge. My parents have three grandchildren so there are usually lots of photos and drawings up there. The one on the upper left was drawn by my oldest nephew on the occasion of my father's 60th birthday party, which was on the 21st.

Before I open the fridge...I just want to tell you that Costco is a phenomenon in MN. (I've been there four times already!) It might be in other parts of the country too...but I wouldn't know about it, although my mother did tell me that The New York Times had an article about Costco's Martha Stewart Ham and how amazing it is...and Minneapolis - St. Paul Magazine had a big article about it and how it was totally gourmet...anyway, I'm going to point out when stuff is from Costco.

Hey top two shelves! What's up?'re completely packed...that must be uncomfortable. I would like to say that the fridge is only this packed because of the holidays and having about 50 people go through our house in the last four days...but it pretty much always looks like this and it pretty much always has. Let's start on the top left and move right, hmm? So first we have some pickled red onions that I made for the hot beef sandwiches served at my dad's party. (Jud-San helped me to find the right recipe) then some spinach (from Costco) then eggs that come from a colleague of my father's who not only owns her own free range farm with her hubby...but also sells the eggs for...are you sitting down...$1 a dozen! Seriously beautiful big brown eggs with deep yellow yolks...for $1. Even in Minnesota that is a heck of a deal. Then we have some Silk brand yogurt that my mom likes, some blackberries (from Costco) and then the leftover hot beef from my dad's party. Hot Beef sandwiches are the eponymous MN winter get together's a pot roast that you slow cook for between 10 and 20 hours (depending on your generation) until the meat really just falls apart and is so yummy and juicy and excellent that you can't do anything but gorge yourself on it. I asked my grandma what the secret is and she said 1) Lipton's onion soup and 2) beef bouillon...those are not my ideal ingredients, but I swear it is yummy.

Below right we have some shredded parm from Costco, some Gedney Minnesota State Fair Pickles (seriously, this company takes the blue ribbon winning pickles from the MN State Fair each year and mass produces them in state. It's awesome!), rendered turkey fat in the mug, some icing for cookies and three containers of Holy Land baba ganoush - you can't see it but there are also two containers of Hellman's Mayonnaise and some organic yogurt in back. In that drawer are deli sliced meats and cheeses for sandwiches. Below the drawer is a bunch of left over xmas cookie dough that I haven't made into cookies yet.

The bottom shelf is a little nutz...we've got some english muffins, some really dreadful "organic" vodka that is made in MN (purchased at Costco) that I made the mistake of drinking waaaaayyyyy too much of on my second night here. Oops! There are various other drinks and liquids - diet ginger ale, tomato juice, Odwala green juice (Costco), two containers of milk, whipping cream, cream, a nice viognier from dad's party and some pomegranate juice. On the right you will see what is left over from xmas dinner last night - turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (you make it with Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans, canned water chestnuts and then put Funnions on top!) and stuffing. In back you would find left over New England clam chowder - made from scratch and with real clams - that my dad and I made on xmas eve. You would also find the following...

SIX POUNDS OF BUTTER! I know what you're thinking...what the F could anyone in a residential kitchen need 6 pound of butter for? Well...first off, in all fairness, this picture was taken earlier so it has since mostly been used for 1) potato gratin 2) frying eggs (because my grandmother uses about a 1/2 stick per egg when frying) 3) cookie dough 4) clam chowder 5) hollandaise sauce that my dad made for eggs benedict this morning 6) buttering lots and lots of toast...I think we still have about 2 pounds left...oh, and two of the pounds pictured came from Costco.

This can also be found on the bottom shelf - this is Grain Belt Premium beer. It is a MN classic and as far as I know you can only get it here. I'm not much of a beer drinker - and truth be told, this really isn't that great of a beer - but I like the packaging and the MN vibe so much that I usually order it when I'm in town.

So I'm only going to show one vegetable drawer...the other's picture didn't come out but I can tell you that it is filled with the left over prosecco from my dad's party. We got all of the wine from this tiny little store in North Saint Paul called Bright Wines, which is honestly my favorite wine store in the entire world. You should look it up! So...back to this vegetable drawer. Again, more leftovers from dad's party...this time comte cheese and parmesan cheese (Costco), various Columbus salamis (Costco), and some shameful Mountain Dew that was apparently purchased for my dad's side of the family who then couldn't attend the party due to a blizzard! The comte is kind of important, not because it was great, because it wasn't (although the parmesan was), but because you can actually get comte in MN now...and at a completely accessible place. Ten years ago I asked a lady who owned a cheese shop if she had comte cheese and she looked at me like I'd asked if she had alien-baby pate.

In the door you will find 5 types of mustard - 3 of them are labeled "yellow mustard", one is stone ground, and one is classic Maille (which I bought about a year ago and have eaten pretty much by myself as my mother deemed it "too spicy"). There are 5 products from Heinz - ketchup, 57 sauce, steak sauce, worcestershire sauce and cocktail sauce. There are many salad dressings - everything from spritzers to blue cheese. The most shocking and bizarre thing in the door is I Can't Believe it's Not Butter! spray...I mean...if it was a normal fridge I would just kind of say "ew" or whatever...but why do you need imitation butter in your fridge when you know that there are six pounds of BELIEVE IT'S BUTTER in there as well?

Ok...last obvs this is the freezer. At top left we have some mushroom wild rice soup sitting atop of some morning star veggie burgers. We've got some walnut burgers (I have no idea what that means...I think they are meat and walnut but I just don't know. I think they're from Costco), some hot dogs, some frozen cherries, philo dough, bacon wrapped scallops (Costco - my mom loves them...but usually frozen scallops skeeve me out), some stuff that I was saving for my dad's compost heap back in August that I guess never made it outside, and some Lean Cuisines. On the bottom there are various mystery meats (there is a ton of that in the McMonagle household. I have every confidence that my father knows exactly what everything is...), frozen blueberries (Costco) frozen corn, Oreida tator tots and more mystery meat.

I think that's about it...I was going to take more pictures but it seemed excessive and my father was getting suspicious as to why I kept taking pictures of the fridge. "Do you have evidence on us in there or something?" he asked...I choose to believe that he was joking and not referring to the mystery meats.
Column: Fridgin Out

1 comment

  • omg Erin this is so awesome!!! i really love all this STUFF in here, it’s like a maze of gourmet items all via Costco, and i esp find all the MN specific foods fascinating.

    please tell your parents they have a perfectly dreamy fridge! thanks for sharing!!!

    ps, the fridge door is quite hilarious. what happened to all the shelves??

    kayoko on

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published