Empire building, by definition, is the building of one’s power or wealth. Empire building also means that the progression of your power or wealth comes at the cost to someone or something else. What’s this got to do with cooking, and fridges in particular??
Well, if you want to increase your wealth of cooking knowledge and you want absolute power over the kitchen, then you need to think about how you’re going to increase your empire. What will you do to get that power and wealth? And what are you going to give up in order to become the Emperor of your domain?
If you want to start building a cooking empire you need to start at home (going to restaurants can provide inspiration but there’s no where else you can actually start exercising your power like in your own kitchen). And the best place to start is by looking in the fridge, because power of the fridge means power of the ingredients you use and the quality of your meals.
So, if you want to build an empire (ie. you want to be able to cook), you’d better start by taking a look inside your fridge. Head on over and take a look, I’ll wait here till you’re back…
Now tell me, what did you see?
Was it a perfectly organised fridge with everything labelled and clearly packaged? Are all your foods covered and boxed correctly? Are all the condiments ordered nicely and in one place while the cheeses are in another, and the vegetables are in the crisper? Was all the food fresh and healthy looking, and ready to just pick up and eat?
Or was it more like an animal had been let loose in there? Was there food everywhere, some of it packaged up, others left open? Did you spy any moldy foods and jars of half consumed pasta sauce with mold growing around the edges? Were your blocks of cheese dried out and had the tomatoes seen better days?
I know which fridge I’d rather be looking at. And you do too, right?
Now, the state of your fridge is going to reflect the state of your cooking personality. If you have a sloppy attitude to cooking then you’re sure to have a sloppy fridge. If you have an organised attitude to cooking then the fridge will follow suit.
But don’t stress if you’re not a naturally organised person (I wasn’t either!). You can change the way your cooking skills develop by starting with a good clean out of your fridge. It’s easier to become a more organised person once the old chaos is removed. And if you weren’t sure, this is the part of the empire you’re going to have to compromise on – an hour cleaning the fridge will definitely improve the outlook on your empire building.
Fridge cleaning steps
1. Start by taking everything out of the fridge.
Pull everything out and put it on the bench. Take a look at everything you’ve got and make a few decisions about what you can keep and what should be thrown away. Anything not packaged properly is a good place to start, and anything with either white, pink, green or black mold should go (yes there are 4 colours of mold and I’ve seen them all during my empire expanding journey).
2. Remove the shelves and wash them thoroughly.
Take each shelf out of the fridge and clean them in some hot soapy water. You want to get rid of all traces of anything that could have been touched by mold, and you want to make sure that every nook and cranny has been scrubbed (especially if it’s been a while since you last cleaned the fridge!). Also remove the egg trays and the shelves attached to the door too. Dry everything off, but don’t put them back in just yet.
3. Clean out the inside of the fridge.
Now that you have beautifully cleaned shelves you don’t want to put them back into a dirty fridge. Use some hot soapy water and give the fridge a really decent clean out. It’s a great idea to put an old towel on the floor so that any water and bits of food can fall onto that and you won’t ruin your floor. Wipe off the soap and dry the fridge as well. Put all the shelves back in when you’re finished.
4. Properly wrap and store your food.
That food that has been on the bench now needs to be stored correctly. Get out the plastic wrap, the sandwich bags and the plastic boxes so you can get everything stored properly. If you’re not sure how to do this, follow the instructions in my post on storing foods properly.
5. Put everything back into your nice new clean fridge.
Now that you have the fridge cleaned up beautifully and the food is stored properly, put everything back into the fridge.
Hopefully with a good clean fridge your empire will start to shape up into something that is powerful and rich in the quality of your cooking. And after all, a little bit of elbow grease is not really that much to sacrifice for building your empire. The Greek and Roman Empires had to fight wars for their empires, so a little bit of cleaning can’t really be that bad after all, right?
For more empire building strategies check out @SpicedAnecdotes on Twitter, or Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to share this post if you’ve found it useful, and leave me a comment about the grossest thing you’ve discovered in your fridge!