Re-Acquainted with My Good Friend the Freezer
Menu Monday seems to follow banker’s hours. Of course, we all know what we’d have found. Pining over the last tomatoes. A day later, let’s discuss something else.
When we turned on the lights at the Local Beet, the first bit of advice I proffered was to consider a spare freezer; an essential eat local purchase I called it. Freezing is an easy way to preserve your seasonal bounty, and a freezer allows you to space to purchase bulk local meat. We picked up our extra freezer several years ago. We did not feel the need to spend a lot on that freezer. We did not spend on any frost free features. I do not rue this decision. Sometimes my children push me on this. They’ve been known, too often, to leave the freezer door just enough ajar, just not fully closed. When a frost-free-free freezer gets a wisp of extra air; when the seal is broken slightly, it can build up a White Witch worthy ice village inside. Last week, my wife fought back. Chipped away. In the process, she got us re-acquainted with the contents. Meet our good friend the freezer.
We found more than anything, beneath the ice, ground meat. It’s been a long time since we got our half-cow, Bessie, to the kids. A side of cow, one finds, is mostly ground beef. In the years since we have had Bessie, she’d provided us many burgers, often seasoned becoming kefta. There’s been meatloaf and chili and for the last two Sukhots but not this year even though we talked about it, stuffed vegetables. All that ground beef is finally, almost, believe it or not, gone. In its wake, however, is package after package of ground pork. Did our lost head hog, Anne Boleyn, really have that much grindings. It seems she did. And it seems this may be the winter of spaghetti and meatballs. In there, a bit too of Bacon, our lamb, the rack is left. Another posh cut found, we have some NY strip steaks that never got eaten.
We find in the freezer, vegetables mostly frozen in times past. There are peas and corn that my wife cannot part with simply as a side. They should be for something, I guess ideally, a pot pie. In her rate of parsing, they have piled up over the years. On the other hand, we found in there, another packet of plum tomatoes. They were supposed to freeze just fine. We did not agree, so never got around to this other batch. Let’s give it another shot.
There are many containers, some more mysterious than others. We know for sure that the white cylinders contain Michigan sour cherries. We though another container contained one of many Bolognese my wife once created (yes, with that abundant supply of ground Bessie). It surprised us last week instead, with an Indian-ish veggie stew featuring eggplants and summer squash. No one remembers the creation of this. We all liked it with pasta anyways. We have identified and isolated containers of chicken stock, although with celery wilting from an older CSA box, it is time for more stock making. It turns out, once we moved things around, we have several local chickens too, as well as two local duck.
From forays to Madison, one of those chickens turns out to be a smoked chicken. We used last week’s and the week’s before CSA collards to make that a good freezer find. Not only did we have greens for dinner. We learned that one of the local daughters has a high appreciation for the liquid from cooking greens, pot likker in the vernacular. Today’s the second time she’s bringing a thermos full of pot likker for her school lunch.
We have always valued our friendship with the freezer. Like a lot of valued friendships, it got neglected. We allowed systems to fall apart. When it became harder to find things, we went less to look. Going less, we sent down the teens. We know what happened next. The Local Mom worked hard to make up for those careless kids. She’s opened the door (hahaha) to a renewed relationship. We are going to use you, freezer. Your meat will keep us hale and hearty as things get chilly. Your fruits and vegetables will help us stay local as our market choices dwindle. We find you an essential part of our Local Family.