Opinion: On the cold cut case 


Do you have a tough time finding things in your refrigerator? I am mostly talking to the men reading here. Of course, we have no trouble finding the refrigerator, do we?

Here’s some stuff I couldn’t find this week: Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks, Sara Lee’s Cheesecake and Aunt Jemima’s syrup. What do these women have against me? Why are they avoiding me?

I did find a tube of anchovy paste behind the vegetable bin, which expired in 2014, but I believe the difference between fresh anchovy paste and stale anchovy paste is pretty academic, so I put it back where I found it.

I know these other things are in there somewhere, and my wife hides the good stuff from me. I’m convinced that when I’m sleeping, Mary Ellen sneaks downstairs and rearranges everything in our second fridge. She shoves the jar of horseradish behind the milk carton, buries the tartar sauce under the bag of spinach and conceals the lettuce in the lettuce bin (Never underestimate how tricky she is).

It annoys me that companies like Amana, Frigidaire and Maytag label parts of the fridge. Who are they to tell me where to put my food? I want to jam everything onto the top shelf so I don’t have to bend down to eat directly out of the appliance.

Sometimes, around midnight, I’ll crave a ham sandwich on rye with mustard. The rye bread is easy (you seldom lose things in a bread box) and I can usually sniff out the ham. But mustard should have an extra label: Warning: This condiment has been known to disappear when placed in a confined environment under 40 degrees.

I often require marital help for this search and seizure. Last night, I hollered upstairs to my wife:

“Mary Ellen, where’s the mustard?”

“In the refrigerator.”

“Gee, thanks, that really cuts down the amount of time I’d have spent looking in the washer and dryer.”

The inevitable sigh wafted down from the living room and cut through me like a dull knife slicing a squishy tomato.

“Keep looking, Dick. It’s there.”

“It’s not here, dear. Are you sure we have mustard?”

“Yes, I’m sure. Look behind the pickles.”

“Are you sure we have pickles? I don’t see any pickles.”

Mustard should be the easiest thing to find, but even when it’s right in front of me, I always think we are out of it, so I keep buying more. That’s why there are three half-full containers on the lower shelves and five more full ones poking out their crusty heads from inside the door.

I can never find anything. I can’t even find a funny way to end this column. I think I’ll just relax, maybe go in the kitchen and make myself lunch. A hot dog with mustard and relish sounds good.

Okay, maybe just a hot dog.