We’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s way past the witch’s titty hour, too late to be stuffing our faces, but the munchies have kicked in. The only light in the room is a blasting shaft of spaceship white, starkly contrasting our blasted faces. Or maybe we’re just hungry and can’t sleep. It’s early or late–debatable. And by the looks of it, there’s little more than too many condiments in the fridge, and not much else. We most certainly don’t have access to any of THESE. But I won’t just put mustard on a cracker, we think to ourselves. And yet upon second look, over the fact that there are no beautifully ready to eat leftovers of roasted chicken, cold potato salad, crisp slices of watermelon, or take-out tubs of tasty Indian dips–we do start to see something. Random twinkly stars, distant from each other; seemingly unrelated start to form a constellation of sorts. What image are you connecting, twinkly little dots? Our mouths begin to water and our foggy brains lube up the cogs in the vague beginnings of a plan.
We are not as lazily disappointed as we were when we first stumbled into the dark kitchen. There are things here, elements that will work together, however unrelated they may seem. There are tiny flecks of mold that can be scraped off, dried pucks of bread that can be re-hydrated back into their youthful bounce. And there will always be condiments–a bounty of trusted agents called into action to cover-up, to enhance, to distract, and to enliven what will probably end up fried eggs on a stale piece of bread. Like these ones. Luckily there were two eggs, a really old hunk of cornbread I’d made. The cheese was as hard as a rock. That’s fridge-aged white cheddar, not grated Parmesan. And yes, mustard and hot sauce…
Custering or mustering, whipping something up, whatever it’s called–we’ve all had to do it. For most of us, it happens in the comfort of our own homes, but there have been many a late night when spicy corn chips dusted on top of a 7-11 curry rice did the trick. Or chocolate covered peanuts mixed in with honey mustard pretzel bits. A packet of instant noodles smashed into crumbs, then added to a cold bowl of dried out mashed potatoes, anyone? I’ve been there. Did I mention there’s a whole bag of almonds in the freezer, or a couple not too wilted apples? Would a handful of almonds keep the hunger wolves at bay? Yes. But do I want anything to do with any of that? No. I want as much of a flavor explosion in my mouth as I would get if I had cooked dinner in the first place. I want it now, and I want to do as little work as possible to achieve this.
Unfortunately the DOCS don’t like us doing this. So be it. Some of us are plastered and a lot of us can’t sleep. We do what we gotta do to survive in this mad mad mad world. And sometimes we get real lucky. One time I was looking for something to whip up for my Nan because we hadn’t gone shopping yet. Luckily, there was some leftover turkey dinner, fully loaded with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy in the fridge. We couldn’t be arssed to re-heat anything. I found a couple of old flour tortillas in the fridge and we ended up with this beaut. And it was all winner winner, turkey dinner.
I know this to be true. No matter how great my intentions are to prep for the whole week, or to lay about easy, go-to snacks that are healthful, I’m gonna end up–once again– on my hands and knees, begging the fridge gods to lend inspiration to my tired and hangry soul. Because options come on payday… and then there’s the rest of the time. And when out of options, we must improvise.