THE KITCHEN – Here it is, my new refrigerator. You probably have such an appliance in your home, most people do. If you are in the market for a new refrigerator, and if you are not in the market you will be eventually, cut this out and stick on – where else? – your refrigerator (or “fridge” as we Freon engineers call it). Do you want a French door model (doors that open from the center outwards)? They are good for holding wine, cheese, foie gras and a cold shoulder for Americans. Or maybe a top-refrigerator/bottom-freezer style. How about a top freezer, bottom refrigerator? Or perhaps – never mind.
Most fridges have shelves which can easily be adjusted at the factory. After that, those suckers can’t be pried out of their sockets with the Jaws of Life. Different models have varying interior designs. Some can hold 13 pounds of kale. Others have slots for cold drinks. One holds a keg. Another holds the last four fruitcakes you got for Christmas. A transparent box for cheese and butter is nice. That way you can tell when the mold is ready for serving. And here is the mullion.
There are drawers for vegetables, fruits and all those other healthy stuff we’re supposed to eat. I use the drawers to hold red meat and leftover lasagna. Do you want shelves in your doors so that when you open them to go for the your of wine everything in the doors falls on the floor, and it’s 3 a.m.? My model has door racks for pickles, olives, teriyaki sauce and chocolate mousse, but maybe I should put the mousse in a container. Here’s the freezer. This baby sports a slide-out drawer, two bins, a shelf and apparently a place for a toaster. The freezer is big which means it’s deep. Each time I lean down to get a frozen margarita, I need a forklift to stand up straight again.
“Grand Dad, what’s an ice tray?” This brings us to the icemaker, an invention which ranks right up there with the automatic garage door opener, ChapStick and the Texas Aggie Band. This gizmo is so much better than ice trays. The fridge also has dials and knobs in abundance to set the temperatures. The owner’s manual says I should keep the cooler at 37 degrees and the freezer at zero. That seems awfully cold to me, so I set them at room temperature.
Quick history: Until Fort Sumter, Texans got their ice from the north. After that, desperate Texans shipped an ice machine through the Union blockade into Mexico and eventually to Texas. Once refrigerated rail cars came along, the cattle could be slaughtered in Texas and the meat sent north. By 1900 there were 766 ice plants in the U.S., and Texas, with 77, had more than any other state. In 1950 close to 90 percent of Texas families had some type of refrigeration. Wonder if they could change the shelves?
. Ashby is cold at firstname.lastname@example.org