Monday, December 05, 2005

In case of apocalyptic catastrophe, open freezer

So last night my mother made a roast beef dinner. It was, in a word, amazing (for those of us who like to indulge in cow every once in a while. The cow lovers would have wept at the sight of the beautiful red meat juices flowing from the deliciously browned and wonderful smelling piece of meat on our counter).

So you think now "well ex-cuuuuuse me, little miss "my mom makes a sit down dinner every sunday"

yeah right, that's what you'd like to think.

While my mother cooks nearly every night of the week and we usually sit down as a family (unless only mom and I are eating, then we get lazy, bring our plates into the family room and drape ourselves across the couch or in the recliner to eat while leisurely watching the tv), she usually does not do anything fancy on Sundays. I mean she's a great cook and cooks great meals, but cooking a roast beef is usually saved for Christmas dinner or something like that. Until NOW

What is different about now you ask? I'll explain

For years and years, basically as long as I can remember, my mother has very carefully planned out the whole process of buying and storing food. If a whole turkey is on sale one week at the supermarket for .99 cents a pound, my mom would buy it and freeze it. If chicken breasts were on sale for a good enough price, she'd buy 4 packages. Same with hamburger, steak, pork, etc. We were able to do this because through my dad's various "connections" he of course knows an appliance guy, and we were basically given the freezer because it had to get off the showroom floor or something like that, so we have the accessory basement freezer, which is huge and has a large capacity for frozen meats and stuff like that. My mother would also make soups and stews in bulk and freeze them (though she did slow down when one day we realized all of our tupperware storage bowls were gone - being used in the freezer for storage) buy loaves of bread in bulk and freeze them, buy pizza crusts, pie dough, flour and sugar (freezing them protected them from our damp cellar) and things like popsicles and frozen drink mixes. The freezer was organized in a fairly orderly manner. Top shelf: leftovers, random game meat such as bear and elk acquired by my father through his "connections", and meat that was not numerous enough to have it's own shelf, such as a turkey. The next shelves featured mostly beef and chicken, with the bottom drawer occupied almost entirely by bread products. This freezer was sometimes so full that when you opened the door, a cascade of frozen meats would come tumbling out and hit the cement floor with a hollow thud.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, we watched horrified at the scenes before us. Horrified. It also made us think. If a hurricane hit here, and we were trapped for a week or so, could we survive? (Note: while everyone has a different view and argument about this issue, whether or not the Northeast would ever be immobilized by a storm, I would like to point out that I have been snowed into my house twice, once without electricity and heat, that I can remember without a way to get out, and even when we made our way out we were pretty much trapped anyways, as nothing was open, you couldn't get gas, you couldn't get groceries or water or an oil delivere, etc)
Ok, back to the question - would we survive? My mom immediately said "no, we wouldn't make it"
I was quiet for a minute and said "have you SEEN the freezer?" She just stared at me, kinda like "what?" and I said "mom, we probably could live here for a month if we rationed our food, for a week if we ate whatever we wanted. We have stockpiled canned goods, pasta and rice, we have some frozen veggies (even though my mother looks down on them!), and MEAT, woman, we have MEAT. Her argument was "what if we lost power?" I said "if for whatever reason our generator didn't work (side note: get a gas or oil powered generator. it will save your ass. i'm not even kidding) we'd fire up the grill and have us some barbecue." Finally she agreed that we could make it until help arrived on the food we had in the house, nevermind the fact that we could probably construct a shelter out of the paper towels we have stockpiled for BJ's....

So from then on the basement freezer became known, in my head, as the "apocalypse freezer" because if the apocalypse came, and whatever the apocalypse involved didn't kill us outright, at least we could eat some steak and wings prior to our final undoing.

Where does the roast beef come it? The apocalypse freezer is sadly and systematically being emptied. Believe it.

My mother started to realize that things frozen for 2 years straight did not taste good, even when defrosted and cooked. She realized that freezer burn really did ruin meat and bread and vegetables. She realized that the bear meat that has been in our freezer and is dated "2002" will probably never be eaten. She has learned that all the crackers she bought and kept "in case of company" are now stale, and we are starting to throw away box by box. She also realized that just because you buy something as a snack doesn't mean your kids will know they can eat it, especially when you yelled at your daughter for not eating the turkey you bought for her sandwiches, and then yell at her again for slicing up the 1 inch thick slab of turkey you bought for a "special salad" that was sliced up because you never told anyone there was thin sliced deli meat turkey for sandwiches and a slab of deli meat turkey for a "special salad!"

So the roast beef was part of the emptying of apocalypse freezer. It's sad and lonely in there now...You can actually see the bottoms of the shelves, something I haven't seen in years. Now while part of me is worried about the shelves emptying and the cabinets getting dusty, I know my mom won't really be able to completely ignore her ways.

That's why when our "meat guy connection" from the end of the street showed up with about 100 pounds worth of various meets last week that my mother lovingly unwrapped and then rewrapped in meat paper, I know that apocalypse freezer will not be lonely for long. heh heh heh..

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