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Battling "condimentia"

I can't take credit for that term but if it were in the dictionary, a photo of my open refrigerator could accompany the definition. I have multiple jars of opened preserves, several types of mustard, bottled dressings (store brands on sale for less than the cost of making them), Asian pastes and sauces, and on and on. They take up at least half of the real estate in there, which is a problem given the current local produce bounty.

My mother had fridge claustrophobia - she'd shop three times a week so she could reach anything in her refrigerator without having to move something else. On the rare occasions when she had more than one jar of jam going, as soon as they were half-empty she'd combine two into one jar, maybe stirring, maybe just layering. I have combined my 6 jars of fruity dregs into one. And I've Frankensteined some French Blue Cheese Dressing (something Marzetti or Marie's used to make). Beyond that, I'm at a loss. Can any Hounds recommend some tasty, less-obvious dreg melanges?

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  1. Very messy, but space saving: sometimes I'll spoon that 1/2 jr of whatever into a ziploc bag, squeeze out the air, and just fridge it that way. All those jars take up primo real estate.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pine time

      This sounds like a promising idea! I need to find a way to keep all my ziplock bags from sliding around in the fridge, too - maybe clear boxes to stack them in?

      But, yes, I too, suffer from condimentia. It must be half my fridge. How can I possibly throw away my stash of relishes and preserves from Fortnum and Mason (although I only eat about two tablespoons a week)? And the good soy sauce comes in such a giant bottle. And I *need* that chili garlic paste for my oatmeal in the morning. And I really only use curry catsup when I cook Austrian food - once a month?
      Edited to say: where am I supposed to put all of my tsukemono? There really needs to be a special drawer.

      1. re: khh1138

        Yeah, I organize my ziplocked condiments by type in a small plastic container.

          1. re: pine time

            I do that in non-fridged items, esp. spices.

      2. I sympathize with you I just cleaned my fridge. My husband is a dab saver. Stuff I would have pitched he hangs on to. Then when I do a clean out he's not sure what some of those dabs are.

        1. I often mix dregs of chili sauces and relishes with mayonnaise, with or without mustard, as a spread for panini. The dregs of ponzu, hoisin, etc. often end up in melange stir fries or marinades. We've all squeezed the last bit of blue cheese dressing out of the bottle by adding vinaigrette and shaking. Sometimes condiment dregs fuse with vegetable drawer dregs (although vegetable drawer dregs are more rare now that I make vegetable broth with scraps). One of my better condiment/produce fusions was the last few green olives and half and orange with a few sad pork chops. Also I engage in using dairy dregs,like the last spoon of sour cream stirred into a tomato and meat Bolognese wannabe.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tim irvine

            if you have the dregs of hoisin sauce, you can mix them with the dregs from the jar of peanut butter, and you have the beginnings of a thai peanut sauce

          2. You would certainly like a religious-themed postcard I once saw in San Francisco. It had ten small photos of various items and was headlined The Ten Condiments.

            1. Condiments improve life. They are deserving of their own dedicated refrigerator. No milk, no produce drawers, no egg shelves, no butter box.
              Condiments. Lots of condiments.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                We have one of those "dorm" fridges that I'm seriously considering moving condiments to. This is a real problem for us.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I have 2 small fridges, one in the outdoor kitchen and one in the outdoor tiki bar. Both are filled with condiments. I can't stop myself.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    We have a garage fridge.. that has the "seldom used but must have" stuff in it

                    1. re: girloftheworld

                      High heat in summer and frigid winter temps make an unheated garage not a sensible place for us to have a fridge.

                2. re: Veggo

                  A few weeks ago, after the condiments had finally taken over half the fridge, I took a few hours off work and went to HD and bought an 11 cubic ft fridge/freezer. I put it in the garage right next to the kitchen door, and put all the pickled things, sauces, jams, soup bases and nuts in there that don't get used daily.
                  The top is an actual freezer section, not one of those little doors within the fridge. The bags of rhubarb and cherries that we froze recently went in there, along with the freezer packs for the picnic cooler, the frozen pizzas and some breads.
                  Meanwhile, we have been cooking 'out of the freezer', using up what's in the kitchen freezer. Now we can actually dig around and find stuff in there, and the freezer drawer is easier to close! I feel so...decadent.

                3. Look to see if you are storing condiments that do not have to be refrigerated- nut butters, maple syrup, vinegars, and even ketchup can be kept in a cool cabinet in the kitchen. Re-organizing the fridge can also help (ie all condiments in the door) so that you have maximum visibility while trying to use up what you have.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    "nut butters" that are nothing other than nuts have to be refrigerated after opening. I have so much in the fridge cause the pantry is full :( If I could get all my condiments on the doors of the fridge, it would have to be a fridge the size of a small New England state :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Hey, leave New Hamster out of this....:)

                      1. re: c oliver

                        "Small New England state"...what other kind is there?

                        Born in Boston but have acquired a Texas perspective on some things.

                        :0)

                        1. re: tim irvine

                          True. I live in CA so they're all small but some smaller than others.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            This is true; if you will use them up within a reasonable amount of time, and especially if your kitchen isn't too warm, pure nut butters won't go rancid if kept in the pantry.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              Also they taste and spread better at room temp.

                              1. re: Michelly

                                I happened to find a jar of sunflower butter in the fridge last night. It was completely separated. I added it to the other nut butters in the cabinet. I rarely spread nut butters since I don't really eat carbs in rectangular form :) so the texture at room temperature is good for dipping :)

                        2. re: Ttrockwood

                          My old refrigerator used to be a disaster area. When I remodeled the house last year, all the appliances were replaced, and I vowed to strart fresh.

                          All my condiments and pickles and jams are in the door (and they *do* take up all the space there) with the exception of unopened jams, and my working supply of peanut butter and Nutella. I have vowed that if it won't fit in the door, I can't buy it until something else is used up to make room.

                          Putting any of these items in the main compartment is a guarantee of "lost" items, spillage, etc.

                            1. re: mcsheridan

                              I rearranged my fridge for condiment placement. Most go in the door, but I also bought an extra shelf for small condiment bottles and keep a few bottles of fizzy water on their side on that shelf. They are spendy - around $100, but well worth it.

                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                Mary, can you tell us a little more about your shelf? I'm very curious.

                                I googled on fridge condiment shelf (trying to see if I could find something similar to what Mary was talking about) and got this hit on organizing your fridge. Forget the whiteboard--they suggest you write directly on your fridge. (The exterior surface of my fridge is textured, so that wouldn't work for me, I don't think.)

                                http://www.buzzfeed.com/twopoodles/op...

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  I just bought another glass refrigerator shelf and placed it about 6 inches below the one above it. Finding it was tricky as my refrigerator is not the newest model.

                                  Also, this shelf arrangement was made possible by ditching the meat bin. I have two large crisper drawers and as a vegetarian, no need for a meat drawer. I'll replace the drawer and take out the extra shelf when I sell this place.

                                  Come to think of it - I probably could have just used the meat drawer as a condiment habitat. Oh well.

                                  1. re: MplsM ary

                                    Interesting. I'll have to consider that. I also have an older fridge, but I just recently broke one of the shelves and will be in search of replacement parts anyway. Might as well think about whether adding an extra shelf would be useful. (Can't ditch our meat bin, alas!, but surely there are lots of ways to rearrange! The biggest worry I have is whether I'd be left with enough height to accommodate my tall bottles of fish sauce, etc.

                                    ~TDQ

                            2. re: Ttrockwood

                              I've had real maple syrup go moldy when it wasn't kept in the fridge.

                            3. Because we are facing similar, I am buying my wife side-by-side Miele fridges, plus side-by-side freezers, and adding a two-drawer fridge/freezer to the butler's pantry. We are overloaded with condiments, sauces and the like, but love them - so long as we do not loose them, and can find them, when needed. I think that one 'fridge will ONLY have condiments in it. The other will have the few leftovers.

                              Luckily, I am also building her a full, walk-in pantry, as we have tons of unopened condiments, mustards and sauces, that have not made their way to the 'fridge, yet.

                              Hunt

                              Hunt

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                I never knew what a handy man you are.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Handy with a credit card, and not much more...

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    Ah, the credit card is building the pantry :) We've become less and less DIY as the years roll along.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Well, I can do many things, but construction is just not part of that - nor is plumbing. I hire professionals now, and save myself tons of money, and nights without any water - no sink, no toilet, no sagging walls, etc.

                                      Wish that I was better in some areas, but I am not. I can design it, I can create working drawings, but that is the end of my capabilities.

                                      Hope that the expansion will address OUR "condimentia." My lovely wife is as bad, as I am.

                                      Hunt

                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        My to-do list tomorrow is to organize and repackage all the spices I brought back from Turkey. Thank goodness, I do have a pantry. Not huge but a pantry nonetheless.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          We did similar some years back. Everything from Colorado, or New Orleans (unless we just brought it back), went bye-bye. I shed a tear for some, but it was necessary, and way past time to do so.

                                          Hunt

                              2. I solved this by buying a new Samsung Fridge that is not only 32 cubic feet, but you can swap 1/2 of the bottom freezer section of the French Door fridge into fridge space - so 3/4 fridge.

                                I never know quite how it happens, but my fridge always looks like a small store exploded in there.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Ariadanz

                                  Unfortunately or not, my freezer is as full or sometimes fuller than the fridge :)

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    I know. My wife puts everything in the freezer--bread, bananas and other stuff we'll never eat. Drives me nuts!

                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                      We fell into that trap many years ago. No longer. It is rare that anything frozen doesn't get eaten. It happens but not often. I do, however, have a goat leg that needs to go to a wildlife center :(

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        And my golf course has a dog leg that should go to a goat center.

                                  2. re: Ariadanz

                                    We have a separate freezer (mostly for hunting season), so that would be awesome to have. If only I were in the position to buy a new fridge!

                                  3. Some of those jars are pretty old. Start whipping them into the trash. Less than a quarter full? Use it or lose it. Now. Sounds brutal, but that's why there's no room in there. Those dribs and drabs will kill ya.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                      agree with flavrmeistr AND those dregs, even when properly stored, lose/change flavor.

                                    2. Ugh. The Asian pastes and sauces.

                                      I just moved, and was sure that I'd have so much more room in my new fridge, as the last one was garbage and one of the produce bins regularly filled up with water. However, the bar that holds everything in the door pocket is broken and won't hold anything.

                                      I had no idea how many condiments/sauces/pastes I had until this week. Not matter what I'm trying to access, I have to move at least five other things to get to it safely. Except the produce! At least I have two drawers for that now.

                                      It's a situation that must be remedied ASAP. I was thinking a bungie cord, but the plastic is already cracked and I doubt that would hold. Next thought is a mesh made from duct tape?

                                      (I like Veggo's idea. I might have to get a mini fridge and hide it in the credenza for condiment storage!)

                                      1. BBQ sauce...good for mixing a bit of fruit preserves, mustards, catsups.
                                        I have a couple of unopened jars of interesting preserves that were gifted me, I refrain from opening them because DH won't eat them and I can't bear the thought of looking at yet another open jar for 6 months, have to wait for one to finish before I'll open another.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: BeeZee

                                          We do house exchanges and if there's one thing I can count on being left, it's BBQ sauce. Oh, yeah, and syrup. Two things that we don't use. I hate waste so they sit there for a year or so before I eventually give them the heave-ho.

                                        2. I have some very small plastic containers that hold 1/4 c at most and stack nicely. (I think I got them at IKEA.) I put small amounts of condiments in there and right what it is on the top with Sharpie. When it's used up the Sharpie writing can be rubbed off.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: escondido123

                                            I bought OXO baby food containers for taking condiments with me to work. I no longer need to pack lunch, but they're perfect for odds and ends. They're nice because the all click into the little tray, which keeps them from sliding all over the refrigerator.

                                            http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Blocks-Free...

                                          2. Hello. My name is allie, and I'm a condiholic. I have no control over my habit.
                                            The only way I keep my fridge somewhat tamed is to look through, organize and chuck things often.
                                            Lots of good advice here!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: alliegator

                                              Agreed. My fridge has also become unmanageable. Calling on a higher power....

                                            2. My problem is condiment amnesia. I dont remember if I have it, so I buy another just in case.

                                              1. In one of my previous homes, we used one of the crisper drawers for condiments, and kept the produce in a plastic container :) At least, then, the condiments didn't fall out of the fridge.
                                                As for using up the "dregs", various (smoother) fruity preserves have been incorporated into sauces which typically use small amounts of wine. I added a bit of vinegar/balsamic reduction to balance acidity.
                                                I have also included various savory preserves and condiments in beef or pork braises, especially in the recipes which are already super flavorful, but need a bit of sweetness (or whatever is going on in your particular condiment).
                                                +1 for transferring to a smaller, labeled, container.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: KarenDW

                                                  Our toddler grandbabies were just here and I have a half jar of grape jelly. I can see adding that to some things. Thanks for the tip.

                                                2. Careful when you put that last bit of Dave's Ghost Pepper Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce in the Tabasco bottle.

                                                   
                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. I've started buying smaller sizes. You don't get the economy of saving on a bulk size, but you can take advantage of the shelf space in the pantry by having an unopened container there waiting for you.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                      Agreed. Smaller containers allow for a greater assortment of condiments. Who needs a partial half-gallon jar of rancid mayonnaise taking up valuable ice box real estate?

                                                    2. I've gotten into the habit of using a marker to note the jar opened date. If the jar has been in the fridge for over six months, I toss it. My reasoning - if I enjoyed the condiment it would have been used in a two or three months.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: dave_c

                                                        Just can't bring myself to throw away edible food. I am currently working on some pear preserves made by a good friend, who labeled it....in 2005. Only opened it last year so it's still half-full. One thing that does help is that I have shallow wire mesh trays that hold the condiments/ingredients on various refrigerator shelves. So I can pull out the tray rather than having to move things jar by jar. Since things are easier to see and locate, I am less likely to forget what's in there. I can enjoy a condiment or dish a great deal, but since I have a pretty large cooking repertoire, may well not make it again for years.

                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          g, the wire basket idea is a GREAT one! Copying. Thanks.

                                                      2. I have all of you to thank!!! Because of this thread I took EVERYTHING out of my pantry today. Reorganized it which yielded some room to take some condiments out of the fridge that didn't really need to be there. That then allowed me to move some from the shelves to the doors. I know anyone else would probably groan over it but to me it seems so spacious :) Thanks.

                                                        26 Replies
                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          And then allowed you to head to the local gourmet market for MORE condiments!

                                                          Hunt

                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                            Get thee behind me, Satan!

                                                            I got about a dozen spices in Turkey and have been regularly shopping my Asian and Latino markets so 'hopefully' I'm good...a while :)

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              Yeah. I bet you are. You will yield to temptation, and buy a dozen NEW condiments, to fill the spaces. I just know it.

                                                              Hunt

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  Hey, I know how it goes - as said in other threads, "been there - done that."

                                                                  Whenever we make room, one of us fills it, within a month.

                                                                  It's the same in the pantry, the 'fridge, or even in our respective closets - "nature abhors a vacuum... " and that does not matter if the vacuum regards places, where one might put food, or clothing, then it WILL be filled.

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                    My two cats abhor the vacuum (topic bleed).

                                                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                      My Bulldog feels the same way too... [Grin]

                                                                      Hunt

                                                          2. re: c oliver

                                                            Ok, that does it. I'm next. Off to the fridge...

                                                            1. re: bonoeuf

                                                              And just like that I've cleared the door and bins of any almost-empty bottles and jars. Emptied and washed out the bins that hold everyday condiments, salad dressings, and jellies/jams. Eliminated duplicates, replaced all else. There are still the various olives/pickles/relishes to tend to but that can wait.

                                                              Much happier with the fridge now. :)
                                                              Thanks for the inspiration, c oliver and all!

                                                              1. re: bonoeuf

                                                                It's a beautiful thing, no? Now I have to tackle the freezer.

                                                                1. re: bonoeuf

                                                                  Just payin' it forward :) Two things I just dumped (and saved the jars) were homemade gifts that I didn't care for. Out they went. Now that I've made room in the pantry, I can take some of the cans of V8 out of the fridge. And some of the hard cider. Hmm, better take another look.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Those are the worst clutterers of all; hideous concoctions that will never be eaten, but can't be thrown away because they were a "gift" from so-and-so. They can linger for years, some even out-living the gifters themselves. Ah! I can't stand it.

                                                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                      One of them is some kind of relish that I've never figured out what it is. We were having dinner at our fave place and the chef/owner was making these up and gave me one. It would probably be a good thing if people wouldn't give that kind of gift but that's a topic for another thread.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        True, but those are the exact sort of things that wind up taking all the space. It's not everyday useful condiments like rooster sauce, mustard or Miracle Whip.

                                                                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                          Just got two cans of V8 and two bottled of hard cider out. This is the best this fridge has looked since the day it was delivered.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            I just found a tiny old can of V-8 lurking in the back of the fridge. The "best by" date was 2008. Sheesh, where has it been hiding during prior clean-outs?

                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                              OP here. That's relatively fresh, in my world! I am currently near the bottom of a jar of spicy paste (it's called Tektonic SAUCE, so that tells you something about how long it has lurked in the fridge) given to me at least 10 yrs ago.

                                                                              Most of these responses have been of the enabling variety but I am firm in my resolve. In the absence of ideas I haven't already used in the past, yesty I blended pickle relish with sweet pepper relish; dregs of 4 different bottled dressings;
                                                                              3 different mustards. Last week I turned 3 jars into mixed fruit preserves. I also refrigerate some ingredients not because they normally require it, but because I have a wide enough recipe repertoire that it takes me a very long time to use them up: nuts, coconut, flours, chocolate chips, etc. On the positive side, I don't refrigerate peanut butter or ketchup (which do get used up regularly) because I'd been keeping them in cabinets for decades before I ever noticed the labels calling for the fridge..

                                                                              Does anyone keep opened jars of Better than Bouillon at room temp? The salt may make that safe but I have always kept them in the fridge or freezer. The labels do say "for best results refrigerate after opening". Yet unopened, they can sit on the shelf for years without deterioration. I always have 4 or 5 varieties open so that takes room.

                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                I keep my better than bouillon in the fridge, but I also kept it after we lost power for 2 days. The fridge temp got up to 58 (things I never thought I'd use a thermapen for. . . ) but the ketchup, mustards, soy sauce I kept. It was actually a much needed but expensive purge.

                                                                                Haven't seen it mentioned, but I took the produce crisper drawers out of my fridge, and it gives me so much more space. I get a lot of produce from either Costco or our CSA, so I needed the room. Now onions and potatoes are stored in the pantry in the crisper drawers. Granted, it's more space for things to get stuffed farther back, but space is space.

                                                                                1. re: autumm

                                                                                  What do you do with the produce that DOES need to be refrigerated?

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    put it where the drawer used to be. When I first took them out to clean them, I realized how much wasted space there was behind them.

                                                                                    1. re: autumm

                                                                                      Just checked mine and there's pretty much no space at the back. And I try to keep fruit in one and vegetables in the other so I have even a prayer of finding things :)

                                                                                  2. re: autumm

                                                                                    Removing the drawers temporarily when there's something large to be stored is something that never occurred to me
                                                                                    so thanks for that one! The trick will be to put them back again. A few autumns ago I got such a large cabbage that it would not fit the drawer and took up most of a shelf for weeks, as I whittled away at it. It would have fit the crisper area without the drawer. I find that Rubbermaid containers or freezer-thickness zip bags can serve in the stead of the drawers.

                                                                        2. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                          Fortunately, the jar of Romanoff Caspian Sea beluga caviar from Iran that my college girlfriend gave me for Christmas 39 years ago doesn't take up too much space.

                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                              Why do you have it in the fridge?!?!?

                                                                  2. Inspired by this thread, I sent a note to my SO asking this question: "Can we combine all the jellies into one jar? Someone in the household opens a jar of blackberry, loganberry, or wineberry jelly, hoping to find a strawberry jam, and then just puts it in the door of the fridge. These jars take up a lot of space."

                                                                    And she replied: "I'm going to combine all the liquor under the cabinet into one bottle. The leftover gin, scotch, vodka, and tequilla should all fit nicely into one bottle and save us a lot of room. Somebody opens a bottle and then brings home a different bottle, so we have too many bottles. And not many people use them anyways, really only one of us."

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                        Score one for her! I can't imagine mixing jellies any more than I can booze.

                                                                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                          Good for a laugh but really, in most cases combined jelly dregs taste fine. I wouldn't mix grape jelly and marmalade, but stuff like various berries mixed with grape and/or apple jelly is no different than buying a whole jar of mixed fruit spread.

                                                                          I opened a can of coconut milk two days ago, when baking a cake. The jar with the remainder is nagging me, and I know that somewhere in the freezer is part of a can of pineapple so I want to make pina colada jello today. Hoping I can find that pineapple, since otherwise I'll have to open another, which will commit me to making either carrot cake in the near future (or hummingbird muffins if I can find the frozen bananas). Hopefully by then I will have forgotten the flash of inspiration to include pureed bananas in crepe batter, the creation of which might make me open yet another can of coconut milk, bringing the windmills of my mind annoyingly full circle. And with another jar in the fridge.

                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            How did you get inside my head? Lol.

                                                                        2. Here's an article I remember reading and finally found it again.
                                                                          I hope it helps :-)
                                                                          http://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/fo...

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                            Different ingredients, same predicament. However, I thoroughly disagree with tossing the pickle juice. I boil it, pour it over just-cooked plain (dried soaked) white beans and sliced salad onion. These marinated beans are a favorite cold salad. Would that the door were the only condiment-clogged section of the refrigerator. It is mostly the home for human and animal medications, so most of the condiments are in wire mesh trays on the shelves (my DIY version of pull-out shelves in my old, basic model Kenmore).

                                                                          2. This has nothing to do with condiments in the fridge, but here I go...

                                                                            On the Caribbean island of Trinidad they have a sandwich called a Bake & Shark. The shark is seasoned with local herbs and then fried. The bread is a yeast leavened dough that is fried...it puffs and is sliced so that the shark can be inserted.

                                                                            Then you head to the buffet...the buffet is absolutely nothing but condiments. The best Bake & Shark stand on Maracas beach has a condiment table with at least 20+ options. Veggies, chutneys, pepper sauces, local sauces. Dear lord it doesn't get any better!!!

                                                                            1. Every party I throw I make mystery condiment meatballs. Just take ground beef and make small meatballs, and dump in any leftover condiments you have. Steak sauce, mustard, leftover jam/jelly, it all works with mystery condiment meatballs!

                                                                              1. What about child-sized mini yoghurts just half eate and the rest saved for later, not to mention half eaten fruits and avocados, half squeezed lemons, half eaten sandwiches and other meals all merrily hanging out in the fridge?

                                                                                17 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                  I had a houseguest once who, when I asked if she needed me to stock my fridge with anything in particular, requested yogurt. She took ONE spoonful of yogurt and put it back. Holy smokes, who does that?

                                                                                  Anyway, my husband puts all of those things back in the fridge and I discard them out the instant I see them, unless I have a specific plan to use that half lemon in tonight's dinner or whatever.

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    Clarify please :) Was it a big container of yogurt that she ate directly from? Or an individual one that she thought she'd return to later? Inquiring minds!

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      It was a single serve one, but I honestly think she had no intention of returning to it later because it's happened a couple of times now. All she needed was a spoonful, for good health I suppose, so she did that and put it back. Really, I wish she'd just thrown it out. I guess she figured we'd use it later, but the single serve yogurt with one spoonful out of it is not on my radar of things I keep track of in my kitchen, sorry. I'm worried about making sure that pork roast and that whole chicken get used.

                                                                                      When she stayed with us at a later date, I stocked the 4 oz yogurts so there's less waste, but she refuses to eat those (even though I've pointed them out to her). I don't know why--maybe she assumes they are for our toddler (again, I've pointed them out to her saying "yogurt, help yourself") or she doesn't appreciate the fat content. But, look, the fat content of a single spoonful of full fat yogurt just isn't going to kill you.

                                                                                      I guess I should buy the giant tubs of yogurt which really are intended for communal, multiple use and then she won't feel bad digging in, but that will go to waste, too, and I'd rather throw out a 6 oz yogurt than a tub of yogurt.

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        I'm probably the least germophobic person I know but multiple spoons going into and out of any size container just sounds wrong. One of our dogs gets a dollop of yogurt on her food to stick a pill in. No double-dipping...and her mouth is likely cleaner than ours :)

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          Oh, I'm certain she's not double dipping. (and just FYI, I AM a total germophobe.) She's doing this out of extreme thriftiness, but I'm sure she wouldn't contaminate a container of yogurt she wasn't planning to finish. She is the sort of cook who would adjust her menu to accommodate some leftover yogurt and I think just assumes I am and can't bring herself to throw it out. I just think it's weird. Or, more accurately, an example of very different values between two people. She values the not wasting the yogurt I bought specifically for her that no one else is going to eat. I value the not making a pain-in-the-bottom of yourself as a house guest by specially requesting some yogurt you're going to take a spoonful of and then expect your host to do something with what's left. I don't know, maybe she has some condition that requires her to eat exactly one spoonful of yogurt and not a mouthful more.

                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            I just meant that if she took a spoon of it and put it back, it's "weird" that she'd think anyone else would then use it for anything. But friendship is sometimes a cup of yogurt :)

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                yup. 'cos after all, what's a yogurt worth... $2? I'd do that for a friend. But, I'd probably ask what flavor she wants :)

                                                                                                1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                  I've seen the yogurt in her fridge--it's all plain. I didn't need to ask. I didn't open it to notice only one bite out though. :)

                                                                                                  In all seriousness on that point, she typically has a whole, multi-serving tub of yogurt in her fridge, not single serve yogurt containers. Her tub also has a replaceable lid, not a foil, peel-away lid.

                                                                                                  Also, I didn't say she was a friend. She was a houseguest. Slightly different dynamics going on there.There are lots of varieties of houseguests one could host that aren't friends, and a wide of range (I think) of acceptable behaviors for imposing on your host depending on the circumstances.

                                                                                                  Nevertheless, I guess I'm getting the message that at least a couple of you think it's totally fine to make a special request of a food and take merely one spoonful, even though the container provided was a 7 oz single-serving container and it couldn't have been that hard to consume the entire thing out of politeness since it was obvious that it was purchased specifically for you as a result of your request. Also, to then refuse to touch the 4 oz yogurts on subsequents visits (after 3-4 visits of peeling the foil off and dipping into a fresh 7 oz container and taking only one spoonful) to reduce the amount of possible waste once it had been established that your apparent desired serving was one spoonful.

                                                                                                  I find it weird and not a way in which I'd personally impose on a host, but I guess we'll just have to leave it at that, with a conclusion that everyone has slightly different opinions about what it means to be a good houseguest. I suppose in the future I could decant the yogurt into a tupperware, but I thought it seemed better to make it clear to her that I wasn't suggesting she eat MY leftover yogurt of questionable age and origin--that this was a fresh container of yogurt I was providing. Also, it's easier for her to identify it if it's still in the original packaging.

                                                                                                  Unfortunately, this is a person I have to continue to host and since she finds the 4 oz yogurts unacceptable, I will continue to supply the 7 oz yogurts and throw them out after she leaves. I could buy a multi-serve container, but it would go bad at our house. And it grosses me out to eat her leftover yogurt. Sorry, no can do. I don't think she's double dipping, but I don't really know. I don't like the waste of throwing it out, but it's the best I can think of since I feel obligated to provide it and find it disgusting to eat her leftovers. I don't want to eat it (and neither does she, really.)

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                    If you thought I implied I thought it wasn't rude (and odd) of your houseguest, that was not my intent. I'd have been pretty annoyed and if she did this on more than one visit, I would not oblige her further. I hope she didn't open a new individual serving every day, which is inexcusable. In the future, I'd buy for her one small container, with a lid, that is intended to last her entire stay. If lidded is unavailable, then put the remainder in a different, lidded one and make sure she knows which one it is.

                                                                                                    My point was that one dip of a clean spoon does not contaminate the food, in response to your mention that you automatically throw out the partially-eaten odds and ends. In this instance it is your choice to waste the remaining yogurt rather than using it as soon as possible. If the idea of eating the remainder grosses you out, that's your hang-up and not hers.

                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                      Totally true. I just can't bring myself to eat it and I'm not going to feed my child anything I won't eat (although, face it, he'll pick up food right off the ground and eat it, who am I kidding?!). My husband doesn't eat yogurt.

                                                                                                      You're 100% right though. It is my hang-up. I am a bit of a germaphobe.

                                                                                                      ETA: P.S. she'd be totally aghast to know this bothers me. And now I feel a little petty posting about it.

                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                  2. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                    $2?!?

                                                                                                    I only buy 10/$10...Liberte for me.

                                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  If it's just one spoonful, no double dipping, then the problem is strictly in your own mind. It's no different than if someone opened the container, decided against having it, and replaced the lid. Would you throw that out, too? Do you throw out a jar of jelly or salsa or dressing once someone has spooned some out?

                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                    Well, it was a single serve yogurt, specially requested, out of which she took only one spoonful. On repeated visits with a new single serve yogurt each time. So, yeah, I expect someone to eat more than one spoonful. It's like specially requesting I have oranges on hand, then eating one wedge and putting the rest back. And doing this on repeated visits.

                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                      I can relate to this! My partner just "can't" eat an entire single serve yoghurt. For people like him, or your house guest, they need to make thimble-sized servings!

                                                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            I actually like to have parts of lemons available, due to sometimes a dish wants "just a squeeze" of lemon, or a flash of zest.
                                                                                            And yes, I am also one of those people who take just one spoonful of yogurt. I think I've had the same tub of plain, full fat yogurt in the fridge for at least a month.

                                                                                            1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                              I'll introduce you to my friend, well, houseguest. :)

                                                                                              I wish I were the kind of person who remembered I had a half lemon in my fridge before it went bad. I aspire to that level of organization for sure.

                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                        2. Condiments=entire top self of my fridge.

                                                                                          I don't even try to manage it.. and I probably go through at least 2 bottles Ketchup every week (and I buy the low-sugar, natural kind that is $2.68 a bottle)... and I water it down just to make it last longer.

                                                                                          1. We should have a condimentoff!

                                                                                            Off the top of my head.

                                                                                            Kikkomen soy sauce
                                                                                            Dark tamari
                                                                                            Bragg
                                                                                            Maggi
                                                                                            Sweet soy sauce

                                                                                            Balsamic ketchup (gross don't buy it)
                                                                                            Regular ketchup (since I didn't like new balsamic I bought)

                                                                                            Scotch Bonnet sauce
                                                                                            Mango Chutney
                                                                                            Chili Garlic
                                                                                            Saracha
                                                                                            Tabasco
                                                                                            Worchesterchire

                                                                                            Fig Jam
                                                                                            Strawberry Jam
                                                                                            Blackberry Jam
                                                                                            Marmalade
                                                                                            Boysenberry Jam

                                                                                            Dill mustard
                                                                                            Dijon
                                                                                            Frenchs

                                                                                            Horseradish

                                                                                            Seafood sauce

                                                                                            4 kinds of bbq sauce (at least)

                                                                                            Mayo
                                                                                            Miracle Whip

                                                                                            Italian salad dressing
                                                                                            My homemade salad dressing

                                                                                            Counting things like red curry paste,green curry paste,fish sauce,anchovy paste..

                                                                                            Im sure I'm forgetting at least 5 more things...yup think I have condimentia.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. Our fridge is on the small side so this is an issue for us, too. One time I stood there with the door open and remarked to my husband, "There's nothing in here but condiments." He replied, "Does that mean we're practicing safe eating?" (True story!) But there isn't a single one I could get rid of and not replace. I like to cook and experiment with lots of new recipes and each seems to require a special seasoning or sauce or something else I have to buy and store. Food would be very bland without them, so I have resigned myself to giving them storage space.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: elegraph

                                                                                                This thread prompted me and others to move A LOT out of the fridge and into the pantry (equivalent). LOTS. And part of my "pantry is a shelf in the laundry room. Another on the back of a door.