Wednesday, October 23, 2013


"NOTHING!" I screamed when I saw the headline "What's in your fridge?" in the Guardian's online edition.  "Nothing, nothing, nothing!"  And thereby hangs a tale, reader:

My fridge-freezer has - or perhaps I should say "had"- a temperature display which lights up on the outside and this usually shows a stable 3°C. Not so on Sunday morning, however, when my heart froze [which is more than I can say for the contents of the machine] at the sight of 20°C on the display. Why? Everything was perfectly all right on Saturday and there had been no indication that it wasn't working properly. OK, my fridge-freezer is 13 years old and I brought it with me from the UK but isn't a major household appliance supposed to last 15 years?

During the afternoon the temperature went slowly down and by evening had reached the magic 3°C but as soon as I opened the fridge door, up it soared again and it stayed up.  At 7 am on Monday it had gone down to 4°C but an hour later it was back at 20°C. At that point I called a technician who promised to come in the evening.  He did and was a little taken aback, as all Italians are, by my numerous fridge magnets but, having recovered himself, announced that he would have to take the contraption away to examine it and would need to bring a colleague to help him, either today [Wednesday] or tomorrow. You guessed it - it's going to be tomorrow.  

It's been hell without a functioning fridge these last four days and I'm going bonkers without cold drinks. Yes, I know our grandmothers - and even my mother's generation, until the mid-1950s - managed with pantries and meat safes but our needs and expectations are relative. The fact that it didn't happen in summer is cold comfort, for, apart from the cold drinks issue, in Sicily you have to keep most fresh fruit and all dried fruit and nuts in the fridge if you want to avoid rapid deterioration and discourage unwelcome visitors in your store cupboard.

I spent Monday night going back and forward to the rubbish containers in the street with the contents of the freezer, which were beyond saving and even if they hadn't been I would have had nowhere to keep them safely. Then I took the fridge magnets off the cabinet, a task which made me cry as I remembered packing a lot of them away eight years ago to bring them to Sicily. [I've acquired a few more since then.] 

I'm pretty sure the fridge man thinks the machine is beyond repair and how I am going to replace it is a worry. I don't think it is generally understood that when you're on your own an event like this is not an inconvenience but a disaster and, having endured quite a few disasters this year, I'm feeling sorry for myself!

But, in the cold light of day, I've been thinking:  why do I need a big freezer anyway? It's a British habit, not an Italian one, to freeze large quantities of food. I do tend to cook the full quantity of a recipe and then freeze what I can't eat immediately in small portions and this is partly because I've read too many magazines which panic you into preparing for uninvited hordes. More sensibly, it is also so that I'll always have something to hand if I'm feeling ill and not up to cooking. If I'm honest, though, I do not entertain hordes, invited or uninvited and I'd have to be ill enough for hospital not to feel like cooking. Having long abandoned my efficient British habit of keeping an up-to-date freezer inventory on the side of the cabinet, I no longer knew what was in the freezer and was working up to clearing it out one fine day. So perhaps it's time for me to get an Italian-style fridge with only a small freezing compartment on top - if and when I can afford a replacement, that is.

The fridge man has said he will bring me an old fridge to use while he makes his diagnosis and as for a replacement - as soon as I can make some I'll put the decision on ice.


Jenny Woolf said...

I'm so sorry - what a royal pain. Your fridge repair man sounds lovely to be lending you a fridge, and I hope he will be able to fix your old one too. If not, you will I am sure be able to adapt to the Italian way of doing things,and I would guess you will end up wondering why it was ever a problem - in due course.

Meanwhile, till the fridge problem is solved, I hope you have some boxes with tight fitting lids to keep out the unwelcome little house-invaders.

Lee said...

I empathise completely, Pat. You are so correct when you say - " when you're on your own an event like this is not an inconvenience but a disaster- - " Things can look horribly out of control when they go wrong when you're on your own. The anxiety builds up.

Over the past couple of months or so, my washing machine died on me; then the stove; and just to complete the trio (I hope that's the end of it for quite a while) my little Ford Festiva finally just stopped...totally exhausted; and all three had to be replaced.

Thankfully, there was one small mercy - the stove was the responsibility of my landlord...but he's hyperactive and runs around like a headless chicken; and he likes to make a Cecil B. DeMille production out of everything, minor or it was a time of madness getting a new stove! It was a simple exercise...but not when in his hands!

I'll say no more about that particular episode...other than to say it was bigger than "Ben Hur" and "Quo Vadis" combined!

Early this year because of some horrendous weather we were experiencing, areas here where I live had lengthy power outages...of course, that included me! For nigh on five days, I had no power whatsoever - which in turn meant I had no water, either as the pump is electric; and this property has its own water supply and is dependent on electricity - to paint the picture. And I have no gas to fall back on for anything - but I have since purchased a small. single butane gas-fueled cooking ring...just in case.

I lost everything that was in my fridge and freezer,including the meat for my two furry mates, but, thankfully, not my fridge/freezer.

And, I guess, I'm like fridge/freezer was filled to it almost always is! I think I run a supermarket here at home!

So...yes...I do empathise, Pat...and if it's any comfort to coffers are now bare after having to replace both washing machine and car. I'm a pauper, but I'm a mobile pauper who can do her laundry and have a cold drink from her fridge! ;)

I hope fortune looks kindly upon you very soon and that your problems are overcome in the easiest and cheapest ways.

In the meantime, I think you'd better store those decisions in your mind; and put some food on the ice!

Keep your chin up, Pat. :)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Jenny and thank you fort the empathy. It helps. Today the friege man brought the temporary fridge so that's a relief. I'm sure you're right about the replacement.
Thank you, too, Lee - it helps when others understand. Sorry about your disasters too - it's awful when everything decides to go at once. Love your film analogies! Must have been dreadful without power all that time, too. Thank you again for your friendship and good wishes.

Whispering Walls said...

Hope the replacement has enough room for the magnets

Liz Hinds said...

He'll lend you a replacement? that's good service.

When we had our new kitchen I insisted on a bigger fridge and smaller freezer but still, when the family is here, the fridge isn't big enough!

And now Husband is making his own tomato sauce we need more freezer space too!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Liz. Yes, it was very kind of him. I can understand your space concerns - you need loads of room for tomato sauce!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I hope so too, WW!


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