Okay, so a couple weeks ago, we had this idea. What would happen if we were to get all the food writers from the Voracious blog--everyone from the Seattle Food Geek to CSA queen Angela Garbes to yours truly--and convince them to take pictures of their home refrigerators? No cleaning, no arranging, no tidying: just open the door, take a snap and let the chips (or take-out or beer) fall where they may.
Not a picture of me or my fridge. I have more hair.
What would this documentary evidence say about us as writers and consumers, we wondered? What secrets might be revealed by an honest look at those things we keep close to us--the foods we eat and the foods we keep. I have long been of the opinion that the condiments alone in any person's fridge will say more about them as people than any conversation might reveal. And take-away boxes? Come on... The phrase "you are what you eat" has never been more telling than when applied to those who make their livings (or at least their beer money) eating food and then writing about it.
As a matter of fact, this entire project was inspired by an art show entitled "You Are What You Eat" that was mounted at the Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco and featured the photographic stylings of shooter Mark Menjivar who went all around the country snapping pictures of peoples' open refrigerators.
So consider this our little homage to the brilliant notion of Mark Menjivar. As with his show, we're going to present only basic biographical information and identifying data on what's being shown. The judgment, we leave to you. And we're going to start this project off with my own fridge, right after the jump.
Name of food writer: Jason Sheehan
Position: Restaurant critic, food editor
Shame factor: Fairly low, though I think my mother would be horrified by the lack of vegetables
Contents of note: Take out. Lots and lots (and lots) of take out. Understandable considering my job, but still... Starting from the top left, we have some Thai noodle soup, curry and ancient rice from Bai Tong, a covered container of chicken salad (that I actually made myself because I like mine with no celery and a shot of orange juice and no one here makes it just that way), a package of instant Japanese noodles and a box of microwaveable bacon (because yes, I am a savage and will sometimes just eat six slices of bacon in the middle of the night as a snack). That supplement bottle up there on top? Acidophilus--sometimes the only stuff that keeps me upright and functioning after a bad night or two on the town.
Second shelf: More take out. Waffles on the left from Sweet Iron, half an ancient cheeseburger to the left of that (a box that has been in there so long that I can no longer remember what restaurant it came from), some Sabra hummus with garlic, three slices of boloney old enough to figure in an archaeological display at the natural history museum, a bowl of dumplings leftover from Macky's, plain yogurt and yes, fake butter. This job I have? I've been informed by certain doctors that my heart is going to just plain explode if I keep mainlining Plugra day and night. They have suggested that I eat less, eat more healthily, eat a vegetable now and then and stop inhaling microwave bacon in the middle of the night. And I have roundly refused all their attempts at making me a better, more healthy person save one: when eating at home, I now use fake butter most of the time. The trick there? I almost never eat at home. C'est la guerre...
Bottom shelf: Corona (the rest is in the door), a brick of cheese, a carton of orange juice (used for making the aforementioned chicken salad) and yet still more take out. The boxes and bags and styros actually go all the way back, but what's visible are sandwiches from Tat's (in the brown paper bag), some more Chinese, and a box of leftover Crying Tiger from Noodle Land which, not for nothing, made the entire fridge smell like beef and lime juice.
Other items not shown: The rest of the beer, bottle of Sriracha, 2 bottles of soy sauce, 7 kinds of mustard, bottle of Prosecco, just waiting for an occasion. Absent the take out, my fridge essentially contains beer, chicken salad, a dozen different condiments and nothing more.
So that's me. We're going to try to run these snaps once a week for as long as our supply of food writers and refrigerators holds out, but if some of you out there happen to have a fridge that you think is particularly psychologically telling and/or picturesque, please feel free to send along a snap (along with the necessary identifying information) and maybe we'll include you in our little experiment. Fridge photos can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments, complaints, suggestions and mockery goes below.