5/30/11

The Meat of the Matter


As someone who likes to cook, I like having a well-stocked pantry.  One of the features of my dream home is a walk-in pantry.  It was missing from the home we live in now.  Since I'd never had one, it didn't make my list of "absolutely necessary" items for a new home, but that didn't change the fact that I wanted one.  When we remodeled the kitchen of our home, I tried and tried and tried to envision a way to have one, but I couldn't figure it out without changing something I didn't want to change.  Later on, I got this idea to turn a small room about ten paces from the kitchen into a walk-in pantry, and voila!  The pantry was born.

[Abrupt segue.]  I like shopping the bargain meats at the grocery store.  You know . . . where meats that have turned dark from the fluorescent lighting retire to.  There's nothing wrong with the meat.  In fact, beef is aged before it ever hits the meat counter.  I'm not bothered by the dark color, and once it's cooked, no one would know the difference.  I believe it's actually more tender than the other stuff.  (And yes, I eat red meat about once per week.  Please don't tell me the health hazards.)

If a walk-in pantry was desirable, a refrigerated one was a bonus.  When we moved in here, we came with our previous refrigerator.  There was already one in the house, and we moved it out into the garage to be a refrigerated pantry/freezer combination.  So with my garage freezer, I happily shopped the bargain meats and stocked up on steaks, pot roasts, prime rib roasts, and whatever else I could find there.  Gradually, the freezer filled with meat so that we'd have plenty to eat when the big one came.  (I'm not exactly sure what might constitute the "big one" when we live high on a hill in Oregon.  Maybe a meteor strike?  Volcano blast?)

One day I came home with a new batch of pot roasts from the bargain meat counter and opened the door of the freezer to load them in.  Oh.  My.  Gosh!  I was greeted by the most horrible stench and the biggest bloody mess.  At some point in time--who knows when--the freezer had stopped working.  Everything was thawed and rotting.  It took me a full day to clean up the mess.  I felt less bad about the mess than I did about the money I had invested in all that meat.  There were two prime ribs among all the dead meat.  It was at least several hundred dollars worth.  I was sick about it.  That was a couple of years ago.

Fast forward to this week.  When we remodeled the kitchen, we put our old refrigerator in the garage and replaced it with a shiny stainless steel one.  (I love the look of stainless steel, even if I hate keeping the fingerprints off of it.)  Since then, I've gone happily about my way restocking the freezer in the garage with bargain meats.  A few days ago, I came home with a couple more pot roasts (my favorite winter meal) and discovered--to my horror--that the freezer door was open about an inch.  Who knows how long it had been that way?  And, yes, I found the same bloody, stinky mess I'd found in my previous thawed meat adventure.  And, yes, I'm equally sick about it.  Fortunately, the freezer seems unharmed even though I'm sure it's been running continuously for days . . . at least.

I've been bugging Mike for a real freezer with more space than the one in the refrigerator/freezer combo.  He pointed out the other day that it probably doesn't make economic sense to stock that much meat.  Having lost enough meat in these two episodes to pay for two freezers, I'm thinking that this might be one of those rare occasions when I actually agree with him.

4 comments from clever and witty friends:

Kate said...

Definitely not fun!

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Oh man, what a wreck of a good day !~! Yeah, stocking up too far ahead looks to be problematic.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, I certainly sympathize with you. In the winter when the electricity goes off, we pack the freezer full of snow. Once when it was off for several days, the freezer didn't come back on when the electricity did. We didn't notice right away. We didn't have a bloody mess like you, but had to discard a bunch of meat that had thawed. We replaced the chest with an upright, which is easier to keep organized. How about checking on the freezer once a day? That's not too much trouble. Sharon on a hilltop southwest of Eugene. (I'm going to post this anonymously because every time I try to log in with my Google account, it tries to make me sign up for a blogger account.)

free indeed said...

That is really too bad....it is so nice to have something for dinner at anytime by simply thawing it out. We raise a few beef, and I always have meat on hand. A small chest freezer isn't too bad cost wise and no 'oops' the door is open episodes.