Frozen in Time

Our Refrigerator. This once shiny stainless steel cool case is now an oxidized silver box, with finger smudges and an array of magnets showcasing past destinations conquered. A few stick-it notes, newspaper articles and recipes are also highlighted on the fridge door with mural-like gusto. A lone polaroid of my spouse and I from when we were still dating creates the centre-piece of this random work of art.

However, it’s not what’s portrayed on the surface of the door that brings a sense of intrigue and a curiosity surrounding the owners. The contents of the refrigerator are what tell the story. And a recent inventory of the objects inside the cooler brings identity to the proprietors.


Let’s start with what is NOT inside the refrigerator. No eggs. Yes, you read correctly, a fridge sans ova. Ever since the episode with my heart, those spheres encasing artery-damaging yolks are a no-no to my diet. In place of the eggs is a small carton of egg-whites. Possibly last used to bake an angel cake.

Another missing item regularly found in others’ Subzero is a carton of juice. Whether orange, cranberry or apple… I’ve long left my passion for squashed fruit, berry concentrated, or pulverized vegetable... Unless of course if they're freshly blended or squeezed. So long Tropicana… it was great when I could mindlessly consume litres of liquid sugar. That goes with you too, Dr. Pepper. No carbonized colas in our cooler.

Now let’s get into what we DO have in the refrigerator.

Just inside the door shelf is a clear plastic container… and encased within are three dark shrivelled objects the size of thumbs. These are no other than prunes. Prunes that hold many medicinal benefits, among others; to protect against cancer, prevent type-2 diabetes and obesity, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and so on and so on… No, I did not buy these preserved fruits for health reasons. I just love the wrinkly, chewy texture of the dried fruit. Just like raisins but larger. 

I wouldn’t be ethnically Indonesian if I didn’t have a bottle or two of hot chilli sauce. Personally, I could live without them, but some friends of ours find meals bland and meaningless without the burning sensation bombarding their mouths and intestines. To my fellow Indos… No Sambal, No Supper.

At the other end of the spectrum we have two cartons of Soy Milk. One chocolate, the other vanilla flavour. Cool, soothing, delectable soy. Yes we do have the usual moo-milk, and my wife drinks it regularly to stay regular. But for me, since becoming lactose-intolerant which led to bloating, which led to flatulence and ultimately, the runs, soy milk has been my source for liquid-protein. Vanilla soy is great with breakfast cereal, and chocolate soy a great reward after that muscle-depleting work-out.

The usual items regularly found or currently out of stock:

Fresh fruits and veggies in the crisper. Spinach, kale, apples, fibre, fibre, fibre.

No icecream in the freezer. Not summer. No kids. Nada Haagen-Dazs.

Flammable liquids; Stella, Chardonnay, Ice-Wine.

Condiment club members; Becel, Heinz, French, Smuckers, Philly, and Lee Kum Kee.

Meats; chicken and fish. Where’s the beef?!

A unique object sits within the enclosures of our fridge. It’s yellow on the outside, black on the inside and has traveled half way round the world to establish itself as THE monument inside our cold cabinet... Vegemite. Like what the Statue of Liberty is to New York, our jar of Vegemite is such to our refrigerator. Where Lady Liberty was a gift from France and accessible to visitors since 1889, this delicacy of yeast extract was a gift from Australia but has never been open since its arrival. Expiry date July 15, 2009.

What’s stranger than expired perishables in the fridge? That would be expired non-edibles in the cooler. On the top shelf lies a purple plastic bag containing a package the size of a thin hard-cover book. Written on the flat box; Agfa Multicontrast B/W. It’s true that photographic paper must be kept in cold storage. And it looks like these are left-over sheets from Dee’s photography course... from the days when digital photography was an emerging science and the dark-room was a dying skill. My wife successfully completed the program and nabbed her certificate. And that, dear readers, was over ten years ago.

December 2014

© Prakoso Sastrowardoyo 2012