Last week, our family reached a new level in the quest for self-sufficiency: we unplugged the refrigerator. We simply didn’t need it any more. It’s empty and has been for a few weeks. Tomorrow, it’s leaving and we will live in a home with no refigerator. I can’t wait to see the look on visitors’ faces when then realize something’s missing from the kitchen.
We’re happy to get rid of it because, now that we’re no longer using it, we realize how many bad habits it promotes. The refrigerator wasn’t invented for country people, but for the city, and the love of eating (and all the disease and poverty that goes with it) that plagues sedentary city culture wouldn’t be possible without a fridge.
First, it allows you to eat according to your desires rather than according to what is naturally available with the changing seasons. With a fridge running, you can go to the store and buy anything your belly wants at any time of the year–meat and sweets more than anything. On the farm, there’s no need for a fridge because the food is right here. Of course, you can’t eat anything you feel like–you have to make the most of what’s available. As you return to seasonal foods, all of the holidays and traditional meals begin to make sense.
Second, it supports big appetites since you can always refrigerate what’s left over. Make all that you want…and just stick whatever you can’t finish in the fridge…and finish it later. When the refrigerator isn’t available you learn to eat what is fresh and you realize that most of the stuff that is unhealthy for you to be eating can’t exist in a fridge-less house. No ice cream. No cold soda or fruit juices.
Third, like most conveniences, it fosters stupidity. Rather than the forthought and planning that needed on a farm, the fridge promotes the life of afterthoughts. There’s always a few extra (junk) meals on hand any time you run out of real food. We appreciate the pressure on us to think before we act and to sacrifice whenever we fail to plan well. The sacrifice helps us to become more thoughtful and self-disciplines since what we have is to be used as needed…a sudden burst of hunger isn’t allowed to empty a box of ice cream or drink 3 extra glasses of orange juice. We need to practice self-control and follow reason, which helped us establish a schedule and diet that’s good for our whole life–not just our tongue…right now.
Anyway, farewell, fridge.