EDM #49: The contents of my refrigerator

There’re few things as depressing as a bare fridge. It’s the cliché of the single person you always see in movies: a few moldy Chinese takeout containers, a half-empty jar of mayonnaise, a box of baking soda, a six-pack.

But shopping for one is tricky. These days, I do tend to eat at home and to cook more than I did when I had a teenaged roommate. But I have to be careful not to be too ambitious and to fill my kitchen with stuff I’ll never have time to eat. I hate throwing out stuff that survived past its due date: a head of cauliflower, a half-gallon of milk, some cheddar that’s turning into bleu cheese. Still, I’d rather waste food than face an empty larder.

Whenever I do a drawing in indian and sumi ink, I think of Ben Katchor. For years he did comics in the Daily Forward that had a bleakness and everyday decrepitude that made a big impression in me. His weltschmerz came out in a sigh of grey washes, a shrug of indifferent lines and cramped composition. These days as he branches out to publications with bigger budgets,  he uses bright colors but his work still has a lovely unsavoriness to it that smells vaguely of sour milk and unwashed socks.

58 thoughts on “EDM #49: The contents of my refrigerator”

  1. Love the sketch – several weeks ago I cleaned out my fridge (very frightening!) and did a sketch of the clean inside which I never posted. Maybe I’ll go back and revisit that sketch.


  2. The part of me raised by my father just wants you to close the refrigerator door!!! All that cold air has to be replaced!!! …it’s not easy being me. Great drawing!!


  3. “His weltschmerz came out in a sigh of grey washes, a shrug of indifferent lines and cramped composition.” such a lovely sentence! I had to look up ‘weltschmerz and what a great wordl.


  4. You inspired me to buy a Lamy Safari pen (which is on its way to me in the mail). I also ordered black ink cartridges and I will soon find out whether the ink is water soluble or permanent. So. Can you tell me if you are using cartridges or that tricky infusor thingy … and do you use watercolor for your grey washes or just a brush loaded with water? Love your work, always have, always will!


  5. Like the sketch. The cliche always got to me though. When I see that lonely piece of old fruit and a half empty jar of mayonnaise, I’m just thinking “who’s Mr. Moneybags over there wasting electricity on moldy take out and whatnot?”, haha. The open fridge door was worth it for the drawing though, right?


  6. It doesnt get easier. We have 6 kids, we still have stuff rotting in our fridge that we didnt eat in time. The only thing that doesnt go bad is the milk. The kids seem to finish that fast


  7. Ah the Fridge – I’m an English Butler & have worked in a number of wealthy homes – but no matter how many chefs – there is always something interesting lurking in the back of the fridge – forget the sell by date – if it moves – stamp on it – if it doesn’t – check out the colour!! finally snif it! hehe


  8. Reblogged this on The Narcissistic Anthropologist and commented:
    I like the commentary in this blog refarding how the contents of said bloggers refrigerator depict a bleak portrait of decrepit single-life.

    I spent much of te early part of my career as a consumer anthropologist working in the consumer package good space, with endless hours engaged in scrutinizing the contents of different household refrigerators: seeking context for grocery purchase-decision-making behavior.

    It’s a habit I still hold on I and have used (in addition to pantry and bathroom drawer / medicine cabinet-audits) as a dating litmus-test as well as to gain a better understanding of my friends / family / etc.

    You can learn an awful lot about a person’s socioeconomic status, priorities, habits and lifestyle choices based in their “consumable” artifacts: all organic veggies? Condiments-only? Name brand booze but generic food items?

    In often catch myself in the checkout line making up stories about the person in front of me in line based on what’s in their belt.

    It makes me wonder what people might think of me. Last grocery order : cottonelle toilet paper with aloe, organic yogurt, egg whites, coconut ice cream, razors and salt and vinegar pop chips…the analysis please?


  9. I find it mystifying that the contents of a fridge should have any impact on how one feels. For me, fridges are a practical concern- they store the food you want and need, and what’s more important is what you’re eating, whether the fridge is full to bursting point- far worse than how empty it is if you want to avoid a mess- and whether the stuff in there isn’t so ‘off’ it constitutes a health hazard. An empty fridge is, at worst, a sign of an underutilised resource and that you’d probably be better off a smaller fridge. ‘Tis all. And, if it means more, perhaps that’s a sign of low self-esteem which need not be. You are more than the contents of your fridge, or lack thereof.

    As for the part concerning the drawing… a delightful, if equally mystifying, non-sequitur, perhaps? (It seems I am no artist.)


  10. I love your sketch, but although I love a freshly filled fridge I hate a overfilled fridge. I find that I buy all these “good for me foods” and fill the newly cleaned ice box. Organizing drawers and shelves so that I remember what is there, then something gets placed randomly and shoves the fresh cilantro to the back. Then another intruder misplaces the freshly sliced red peppers for salads and the science project begins! LOL I hate to throw out food too so that is why I compost.

    Love the word also,Weltschmerz, I looked it up and its the perfect word to describe Facebook.


  11. A full fridge vs. and empty one—such a conundrum. Of course left overs make great for an on the run lunch for me.

    Great drawing by the way. I love the method of rich black lines and watercolor-esk shading with the sumi ink. I use to use a similar method with india ink and diluting it in various measures to get the shades of grey i wanted.


  12. I live alone as well and tend to buy slightly more expensive things in order to make sure I’m not wasting food or letting it go bad. Examples: the half gallon milk vs. gallon; single cup servings of mac & cheese versus the boxes that don’t leftover well. I tend to freeze things often to mix up meals more.


  13. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I can empathize on the fridge for one. For some reason, I always thought that a person’s fridge is a reflection of them. Why? I don’t know. Because mine would have said, “spoiled rotten over achiever, who really is empty inside”.


  14. cooking for one is the HARDEST! i’m the worst with buying vegetables, forgetting about them and then having them all go bad. or cooking way too much that i can never finish the leftovers and have to stare at them for a couple days. nice read, thanks for sharin!


  15. Just dropping in to see what’s new with you. Good to see your posting again. You are the “guru” for so many peeps who are enjoying their creative sides, again. I know you got me started about six or seven years ago, and though I don’t say, or post much, I’ve been following right along. My fridge needs a cleaning, too. But, mmm, not today.


  16. Hey, Danny,
    Hoping that you survived Sandy ok; sounds like you may have gotten power back just last night, if my calculations of where you are are correct … and this drawing may timely.
    My thoughts are with you – stay safe!


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