Men, Their Refrigerators, and a Confession (or Two)

dave's refrigerator
It’s no secret that I love men who love food. Not the men who simply love to eat whatever happens to placed in front of them. No no, that could be any man who excitedly dives animal-style into a Double-Double for every meal, who thinks getting Fatburger is a change, who says that Olive Garden is a real Italian treat, especially since they take reservations.

No, I am talking about the “food men” – food writers, professional chefs, writing chefs, food nerds, wine geeks, manfriends who tap into their PDAs, with alarm, the call-in day for French Laundry 90 days in advance because they know, the men we know who *sigh* out a souffle or stir a risotto into creamycrazy from their bare hands, the mysterious stranger who smiles in the shade of his boyish baseball cap at the farmers’ market pondering what to make as he lovingly caresses a soft, fuzzy pink peach in a way that sends a quiet thrill all the way down to your…er, *blush* well, you know what I mean.

Men who love food and cooking make me *sigh*

But I have a slightly embarassing confession.

As much as I adore men who know their way around a kitchen like Cassanova knows his way around a woman, I am so utterly enamored of men who are…at a complete loss. I love men who are helpless in the kitchen. The ones who don’t even know where the kitchen is. The ones who think that if it doesn’t come in a hot box from Papa John’s, pizza comes from a microwave oven. The ones who “make” canned soup in a frying pan because that’s the only piece of cookware they inherited from their college roommate.

I am flabbergasted by the absence of such basic tools like a knife and a spatula. I pretend to be frustrated by having to slice and dice vegetables with a butter knife when we’re going to “cook in” at their place. I am amazed that someone could survive on only beer and ketchup.

But deep down, I love it. It is endearing. It is adorable. I stifle my smile behind a “How can you not have a cutting board?!?!?”

Let’s leave the explanation of why I love the helplessness to the Psych students. Let’s? Thanks. :)

So anyway, we went to Dave’s house for an impromptu pool party. I toted along a small supply of fresh fruit. When I opened Dave’s refrigerator to put away the remainder of the peeled and cut fruit that wouldn’t fit on the serving plate, I was taken over by that same impossibly paradoxical mix of emotions. An immediate disbelief at a sight that was so universally typically telling of a man that is was almost comical, and at the same time, I was utterly charmed.

Dave’s refrigerator was the perfect example of what I must now call The Manfridge™.

The Manfridge™. It is the refrigerator that belongs to a man who clearly has no influence of a woman. (Ooo, I might get lynched.) The Manfridge™ is always in one of two states: a) completely and totally naked, exposing every grate, shelf, see-thru crisper drawer, and frost-free, energy-saving surface, or b) fully stocked with absolutely nothing.

Dave’s fridge is fully stocked. In the door, there is bottled water on the top shelf and on the bottom shelf, not one, but two bottles of ketchup, condiments that would have made Top Dog blush with shame, every brand of hot sauce available in a regular market, and salad dressings, though I’m not quite sure why he would have salad dressing when every salad to-go comes with dressing on the side.

The main compartment of the refrigerator is a neatly organized collection of what might be thought of as “drinks” to the uninitiated. However, those of us non-laypeople know that Full Throttle, individual bottles of tonic, canned soda, V8, other various fruit juices, and large bulk bottles of suspiciously fluorescent green fluid are not really “drinks,” as in “to drink, by themselves, as a refreshing fruit juice beverage.” They are “to make drinks.” Even a tiny bottle of milk that one might have hoped was for a breakfast of cold cereal was probably for…Kahlua.

Not a single shred of real food to be found. Of course, there was fruit in the fruit and vegetable crisper – limes.

The only thing missing from Dave’s Manfridge was a flat screen tv mounted to the front door pre-set to ESPN and FoxSports in every time zone provided via satellite and a small tap attached to a secret, internal keg.

I could not believe my eyes, and I was completely…I must confess, I was completely enamored. Totally charmed by such flagrant display of manliness. *blush*

But I also have another confession.

Ohgawd. I can’t believe I am out-ing myself like this. *gulp*

My refrigerator looks a lot like Dave’s.

I…*she stammers*

I have a Manfridge™.

For some time, I was totally ashamed by this. In fact, I felt really bad about myself because of it.

My sisters would come over and look in my refrigerator, aghast. My mother would open the refrigerator for cold, filtered water out of the Brita, then close the door, stunned. “Sarah!” they would gasp out. “You have no food!” They were surprised that someone so “into food” didn’t have any food. Frightened for my nutritional health, they would ask “What on earth do you eat? How do you survive out here? In the wilderness of West LA? With no food?!?!” It is the same tone of voice I heard in my head when I opened Dave’s refrigerator. Or John’s refrigerator. Or many other guy friends’ refrigerators.

For some reason, it made me feel as if there were something wrong with it. I don’t even have a bottle of kimchee. What kind of good Korean girl doesn’t have a gigundous bottle of kimchee in a state of suspended fermentation on the bottom shelf of her refrigerator?!?!

This kind of Korean girl. And I never said I was good.

So yes, it would seem that Sarah has a Manfridge, but it is not without cause. There are three very reasonable explanations as to why it appears that there is almost nothing of true substance in my refrigerator that would give any indication that I care about food, let alone eat any.

It makes perfect sense that my refrigerator is not brimming over with food for eating at home because, quite simply, I eat out a lot. Thanks almos
t entirely to my current financial situation, though, I am not eating out quite as often as I used to. However, I am certain that the current frequency with which I eat out is far higher than average, and just barely beyond excusable for someone who is gainfully funemployed.

Eating out a lot is one of the explanations that I maintain a Manfridge, but it is giving way rapidly to the other reasons.

You see, I said that there was “almost nothing” substantial because although the bulk of my Manfridge airspace is taken up by common bar stock, there are some certain things hidden in the deepest recesses of the refrigerator: a carton of eggs, cream cheese, and butter locked away in the “butter garage.” From time to time, a container of milk will make an appearance, but I will tell you, I drink Kahlua straight up. The milk is not there for White Russians.

What does this mean? This absence of a stockpile of prepared foods? Let’s break it down: “stockpile” and “prepared foods.”

I am what one might call an “Efficiency Eater.” It’s not “efficiency” as in “eat fast and efficiently without burning too much of our limited supply of natural resources.” It means I don’t like to “stock up.” I live alone, so stocking up means that inevitably, almost half of whatever I “stock up” on will never get eaten. It will go to waste, and if there was one thing my parents taught me, it was that there are children in Africa. Uneaten food will sit in the back of the middle shelf, progress through every shade of the bacterial growth rainbow, before I finally discover it, three weeks too late, horrified by the hairy alien I have been giving refuge to in my refrigerator. I use one hand to cover my nose and mouth as some sort of primordial haz-mat protection from the noxious fumes, and the forefinger and thumb on the other hand to grab the package, tupperware, ziplocbag, whatever it is, by the least harmful corner, throw it in the garbage, tie it up, and run it out to the trash chute, screaming for the safety of anyone who gets in the way. Waste.

Many a perfectly good, non-disposable Tupperware have become disposable because of this.

I just simply cannot stock up on anything other than condiments and things like mayonnaise that will expire in 2038 because I live alone. (By the way, mayonnaise would actually last long past 2038, but I’m sure that people would freak out if the jar actually said “can be passed down for three generations past you.”)

The “Efficiency Eater” things also has to do with “prepared foods,” or “pre-prepared foods.” It has nothing to do with the fact that I think “pre-prepared” is a stupid word because if it is prepared, it is already made, and you can’t pre-make something that is already made. It has everything to do with the fact that I tend to buy ingredients, as opposed to foods. I like to shop for fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, bread, anything, the day I plan to cook something at home. That is it. Not only do I buy them the day I plan to use them, but I also buy only enough so that there might be enough for one day of leftovers. No stockpiling.

So there it is. My confessions. I have this “thing” for manly men who don’t know where the kitchen is except to find their Manfridges.

And, I have a Manfridge.

But I am proud of it. Now grab me a Miller Light, will ya, babe?

** a year ago today, i had a dinner-and-a-movie date, sans date **

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 abraxis August 13, 2006 at 5:07 pm

Yup, looks like a guy’s fridge alrighty.

Heavy on the beverages (cuz you gotta stay refreshed) and “Just in Time” food shopping (cuz you never know what you’re gonna feel in the mood for).

In fact, it kinda looks like MY fridge!



2 Anonymous August 13, 2006 at 6:05 pm

Is that YOUR refrigerator?


3 Jennifer August 13, 2006 at 6:54 pm

*laugh* That looks like my fridge. Tons of beverages and condiments, but not much else.

And I ADORE those kind of men. The world needs more of them.


4 peachiee August 13, 2006 at 7:14 pm

Well, my embarssing confession is that I once had a boyfriend who didn’t know anything about or appreciate good food, and I was embarassed about him whenever we went to a restaurant. So snobbish of me! *gasp*


5 peachiee August 13, 2006 at 7:14 pm

Well, my embarssing confession is that I once had a boyfriend who didn’t know anything about or appreciate good food, and I was embarassed about him whenever we went to a restaurant. So snobbish of me! *gasp*


6 Xericx August 13, 2006 at 9:31 pm

that’s my actual fridge…hah…


7 The Drunken Master August 13, 2006 at 10:31 pm
8 The Drunken Master August 13, 2006 at 10:31 pm
9 KT August 14, 2006 at 12:45 am

Well?! What is it? What is the confession? Don’t tease me with this halfway post …

And yes, those men are fabulous … after several years of a man who preferred buckets of KFC and 22 oz. Budweisers, I finally found a man who–well, he walked with me to Angeli Caffe last night and then walked with me to the Farmer’s Market this morning to pick out heirloom tomatoes to recreate the salad from last night.

And yes, I promptly married him.


10 texican August 14, 2006 at 10:39 am

You’ve got me grinning like an idiot again. Especially since my pet name for my girlfriend is “Peaches”.


11 Allergic Girl® August 14, 2006 at 2:08 pm

my BF does have many different colored beverages however what about the food from a week ago that he will still eat, and not get sick–yuck! –love the blog, keep it up!


12 Tim August 14, 2006 at 6:52 pm




13 Neil August 14, 2006 at 10:28 pm

Sarah —

Help! My wife is leaving town for seven weeks and I will starve if you don’t tell me what to do! Is it really “unhealthy” to eat at In & Out every night, or is that just an “urban myth” started by those nasty vegans?


14 Kelvin August 15, 2006 at 12:59 am

Hello from down under in New Zealand from someone who can’t cook to save himself. I eat take-a-wayssssssss!!!

Can I mention your blog on my foodie blog ???


15 Eddie Lin August 15, 2006 at 2:53 am

I don’t have a Manfridge but I do have man-breasts. I had a Manfridge when I was single. Could that have led to my current man-breast condition?

I’ll check back for your professional opinion. Thank you.


16 sarah August 15, 2006 at 5:30 pm

abraxis: yeah, “just in time.” LOL! dave bought that little package of sausages and potato salad about five minutes before the rest of us got there!

anon: no, that’s dave’s fridge. mine is actually not quite as nicely organized, but the contents are VERY similar. except i have a brita pitcher.

jennifer: yes, i adore the cooking and food men. i adore the totally-non-food men. i adore all the men in between ;)

peach: LOL! that’s not snobbish to be embarrassed. it’d be snobbish if you left him at home. LOL!

xericx and the drunken master: great pix! maybe we should ALL post pix of our frdiges.

kt: awww…that’s awesome! lucky!

texican: LOL!

allergic girl: omg. and i bet he doesn’t even heat it up – just eats it cold, straight out of the fridge! haha!

tim: is that brief commetn an indication that you TOO have a Manfridge?!? ;)

neil: hey, you can totally change it up with in n out’s secret menu. and i don’t know what those vegans have their tofu all tangled up for. in n out can make them a veggie – everything except the meat and cheese! and what do they think French fries are?!?!

kelvin: hello! i love how take out is called “takeaway.” :)

eddie: you have “moobs?!?!” (man+boobs=moobs) wow. you hude them well.


17 Anonymous August 15, 2006 at 10:28 pm

Well, Well, Miss Sarah – As the proud owner of that original ManFridge, I’m quite pleased to hear mine stands up against the upper crust that’s required to hang in your circles. You realize it’s not easy maintaining an ample supply / selection of all the ‘tini mixers, twists and garnishes to satisfy the palette of a princess…each guest appearance likely generates an unanticipated request in variety. Will it be an apple, ras, melon, cosmo, or ???…we know it won’t be straight up…that would be too predictable and after all, ladies are all about creating trend – rather than following it. As for that Sub-Zero ManFridge…whether the drinks are shaken or stirred, poured or just popped (open), they’re always cold and there’s more ice on hand than one could find at an Elks Lodge for Eskimos. Oh, and let me mention my humble abode is home to 3 or 4 cutting boards – generally either all in use or all side-lined…

ManFridge Dave


18 Tim August 18, 2006 at 12:56 am

Ah, Sarah, I used to have a Manfridge, but then I went and took a wife. She proceeded to discard my carefully accumulated collection of moldering condiments and stale carbonated fluids, and declared that henceforth my studly Kenmore WOULD BE USED ONLY AS A HUMBLE RECEPTACLE FOR PERISHABLE FOOD ITEMS! Thus has domestic tyranny stripped me of my dreams. I have been DE-FRIDGED! Yes, that is the trouble with American men today. Their precious carbonated fluids are being sapped and they are actually being FORCE-FED FRESH VEGETABLES! *gasp*

Personally, I believe it is a conspiracy. But your posting has given me hope that one day, this great nation will see a resurgence of Manfridges! That’s right, red-blooded American Manfridges, great Freon wastes unmarred by hideous Tupperware shapes.

And we can return to the glory days of eating fast food every night.

Super-sized, of course. *smile*


19 onetomato August 18, 2006 at 1:34 am

i remember when i had to de-manfridge my bf. his fridge was more like a cavemanfridge. there was a pint of ben and jerry permanently lodged in dry ice that had protruded out of his freezer…wtf?


20 Anonymous August 21, 2006 at 8:24 pm

As the ex and now good friend of the Manfridge owner, I will reveal a dirty, little secret – his condiment selection last year was basically ketchup, mustard, and Tabasco, the latter used for the world’s best bloody mary’s, IMHO. Dave was always shocked, just SHOCKED, that my fridge door was lined with condiments from all over the world (10 types of hot sauce because each one goes with a specific cuisine and dish), various ethnic soup bases, sauces, pastes, etc. “Why do you have your fridge cluttered with so many jars of stuff,” he would naively stammer. “Because every cook needs to be ready when inspired,” I’d reply, wondering if his lack off culinary knowledge was reason alone to end the relationship.

But every dog can learn a new trick. Dave now proudly points out his condiment shelf to me, and frankly I’m impressed with his growing selection when I cook a meal there.

Your post taught me three things: 1) We can learn new things from every relationship; 2) Condiments can be the start of a good fridge; and 3) Now I remember where I left my ketchup bottle that’s missing from my fridge.


21 sarah August 21, 2006 at 11:27 pm

dave: yours sets the standard for manfridges. the standard. and the next best thing, of course, is the multiple liquor cabinets hidden around your kitchen. did you think i wouldn’t find them?!?!

tim: she WHAT?!?! no she didn’t. she put VEGETABLES in your manfridge!?1?! how utterly traumatizing. doesn’t she know that KETCHUP COUNTS AS A VEGETABLE?!?! sheesh.

onetomato: ben and jerry’s? wait, that sounds like a girlfridge.

anonymous: i know who you are ;) and your #3 just made me LOL!


22 hermz August 23, 2006 at 1:04 am

The fact that me and my roommate are different types of fridge-keepers makes for quite an interesting amalgam of items in there.


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