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Food ex Machina: Inspiration from Cleaning your Fridge

If you are a regular reader of my contributions to this blog, you will remember the time that I explained how important frozen vegetables were in my life simply because I always forget about the fresh food slowly dying in my fridge as I pick up some McDonald’s on the way home. Well, dear reader, this is the flip side of the coin. Instead of an analysis of how I combat gross fridge syndrome by using freezer space, this is how I try to make the most of my fridge clean-outs when they must happen.

As much as I criticize myself for forgetting about food and letting my vegetables resent me, the reality is that I don’t do it that much. I get quite prickly about cleanliness in my house – and the fridge is no exception to this instinct. I don’t like to have a nasty fridge, so I try to clean it out every once in a while. When I do, it always leaves me with a bit of inspiration.

Those peppers in the crisper that are looking a little soft? How about we fry ‘em up and add them to a quesadilla? The zucchini that was stuck at the back a week ago? Maybe we can chop it up and make them into some healthy zucchini fries!

Soup Fridge Dumps

And, well, a soup blog wouldn’t really be complete without a soup recommendation, would it? Minestrone is a delicious soup that is more than accepting of any type of vegetable, legume, or even meat that you want to throw in there. The actual recipe for Minestrone requires that there be no set recipe (how’s that for chaotic?), as long as it has pasta and vegetables in it. Some Italian food authors say that beans must be involved for it to be ‘genuine’… but that kind of thinking goes for just about every Italian dish.


Ready to make a “Fridge-Dump” soup?
Find it in this Cauliflower soup recipe here!

Another option for re-using old and wilting vegetables is the adorably named ‘Bubble and Squeak’ dish from English cuisine. Unsurprisingly, dishes that try to capitalize on making something new out of old food come from a peasant/serf tradition, where poverty dictated how one could cook food without wasting. Bubble and squeak, a traditional peasant food of fried potatoes and cabbage, can incorporate any number of vegetables to add to the flavour and nutrition of the dish.

Of course, there is also the positive aspect that a good deep fridge clean will finally force you to confront the harsh reality that the old, sticky bottle of barbeque sauce that you got in Kansas City 7 years ago might actually have the be thrown out now. You’ll be left with a clean, organized fridge, a meal or two from what you scavenged, and a new sense of domestic pride in your kitchen!

I always feel inspired, creative, and energized when I clean out my fridge, but what about you? What’s the most creative way you averted food going bad in your fridge? Let me know below!

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Tayla Blaire

Tayla Blaire is a South African writer, teacher, epicurean, and (most importantly) mother to all cats. Tayla has been thinking (and subsequently writing) about food since she was a tiny tot after her mother taught her that measuring ingredients was for the weak. If you’re interested to see what Tayla has whipped up recently, check out her Instagram profile @tayla.blaire to see the recipes that she has lovingly filmed in her very own too-small kitchen.

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