I can procrastinate with the best of them–in fact, most of the time I’m just getting around to procrastinating–but there are things you can’t argue with for long, and having a dead-rat smell inside your refrigerator is one of them.
You can let it go a day out of sheer disbelief. You can then imagine the smell is not coming from inside the refrigerator even though it wafts out only when you open the door; you can suppose there is a small deceased rodent behind the refrigerator, and that it will dry up into a cracker if you ignore it thoroughly enough.
You can suspect–if you’re really good at this–it is not real at all, but instead is a neurological delusion of the olfactory centers in the brain, triggered by the sound of a refrigerator door opening, just like the one you used to store dead mice in when you worked in a toxicology lab for practically no pay at all.
You figure it’s got to be one of those things, because the refrigerator in question is the beer refrigerator, and it’s full of beer, which absolutely never smells like a dead rat outside of Iceland, where they make beer out of whale testicles.
Except…it’s not completely full of beer. Ever since we took the keg out of it, forty years ago, because we found it attracted more friends than we really wanted, there has been room for a case and a half of beer and several blocks of cheese. I opened the door again. Same smell. But all the cheese is intact. Either swaddled in plastic or wax, every one.
The worms! The worms we kept for Studley have finally turned! We’ve got a million of them in there. We have four cottage cheese containers of mealworms all lined up to go to heaven in the form of a chickadee gullet, and we never seem to run out. (We haven’t even opened containers two through four yet. It’s possible we overbought.)
I withdrew a worm container and, with gingerly trepidation, pried open the lid. Worms. Live worms, mostly, that didn’t smell.
And finally I saw it. A pound of maitake mushrooms rotting in the bottom crisper because there was no room in the Real Fridge. That was the culprit, all right, every bit as fragrant as a rat gone by, and it had been since the day after I bought them. Maitake mushrooms look like a puffball with a mohawk and they’re made of mycelium and money, and I was intending to introduce them to some garnet yams, oil, and feta cheese.
But now I’ll have to wait until I save up again.
Since the disruption in distribution chain, I have wanted a freezer so I can stock up on things. We had a hardly ever used fridge in the apartment over our garages. (We rented it out once, and said never again!) Paul, ever the MacGyverist, plugged it in, set the refrigerator part as cold as it could get, I put in ice cube trays of water, and they froze. So now I have a freezer without having to spend a lot of money buying one. It never even occurred to me that one could do this!
I know that supply chain affects everything, so I take it as a confirmation that I'm a reluctant consumer that I haven't noticed the disruption.
I only noticed (outside of the initial toilet paper shortage — which I stock up on anyway.) because frozen foods were in short supply, and some stores had limits on them. I LOVE Wyman's wild blueberries, out of Maine. They are so much better than domesticated blueberries. We eat them every morning in our yogurt. And my parrot Max LOVES shelled edamame. It must be shelled, or he will glare at me. I am normally not specific about which product I buy, but there are dissenters in my midst (mostly parrots) which I must placate or suffer the consequences.
You don't want to suffer a dissenting parrot consequence, I know that much. Thanks for the tip on blueberries, because I always freeze mine plus a flat from a local farm and eat them every day in my oatmeal. But this year my crop was a bit punier. So I think I'll need to get some frozen 'round March, and I'm disappointed in normal frozen blueberries.
YES! Wyman’s Wild Blueberries. SO much better than the “regular” blues…..and packed with more antioxidants!
I think I'll add "blueberries" to the tags on this post so when I run out of mine I can search for this. I know of no other way to write myself a note that I'll find again. Oh: maybe "Alexa, say Wyman's Wild Blueberries on the Ides of March."
Handy hint: Have you seen those little perforated plastic balls that are packed with activated carbon (whatever that is) which you put in the bottom part of the fridge where the vegetables are stored? Well they really work.
I have NOT. Now I need me some perforated balls. Any volunteers?
(You know that this response was inevitable…) As much as I would offer you the shirt off my back, I can't volunteer for your request because I'm still using mine. If anything changes (i.e. Si je perds le petit mexicain qui marche sur mon dos deux fois par mois) I will be sure to let you know…..
I don't mind doing the perforating on the donor.
OoooOOO! And you know who would like to watch? Probably Bruce Mohn, as he has a very low gag reflex. (See, Bruce: I told you you could not live this down!) 😉
Oh Ed, I'm so glad I can still read French! Tom: do we have anger issues? Mimi: careful!
No, not anger – fear, although the two are usually linked. I don't want my balls perforated by anyone, let alone a complete stranger.
I went thru something very similar just recently when opening my own fridge door, it turns out was a hunk of unfinished baked cod brought home in a doggie bag several nights before, shoved to the back and forgotten about. But I think I saw my life pass before my eyes just now, when I got to the part in your story about opening your containers of worms… thank God for the shiitake! Thank God!
More than half those worms are dead and I really need to put them all out in bowls for the birdies and let them sort it out. Then start over with fresh for my next victim…
Your planned dish sounds adventurous, which implies a degree of risk. I’ve become slightly less willing to take risks with my comestibles since the supply chain has gone to pot, so to speak. Mushrooms are known to be finicky, but marshmallows have a nearly infinite shelf life. Retrograde yams might be safer, is all I’m saying.
I do believe I have a 25-year-old bag of marshmallows in my pantry. Still squishy. But marshmallows (and brown sugar, for that) do NOT BELONG IN YAMS.
SO right! When an entreé recipe calls for sugar, I leave it out. No harm is done to the taste. We are not sugar-eaters, and WTF is up with adding sugar to entreés? It's not dessert!
Last year I ignored the time my astrologer warned the yams would be in retrograde, and I've regretted it ever since.
As one would.
Well now, you should have STARTED there. I mean, who the hell opens the CRISPER in the BEER refrigerator? Beer keeps. Whatever was rotting HAD to be in there. LOL
It's true. It's why I forgot about it. They wouldn't fit in the regular fridge crisper and I thought, hey! But then I never look in there.
Years ago when I was still living with my parents I spent a summer in Cape May scraping dead terrapins off the road. I’d reconstructed about one hundred shells during my internship and brought a few hundred more home to work on over the winter. I loaded them into the spare fridge where I stored my frozen fauna in the basement, turned up the thermostat and figured I was good.
Not long after that I was sitting in my bedroom when I detected the distinctive smell of dead turtle. I ran downstairs and there to my horror was a pool of blood drooling out of the specimen fridge. My mom had apparently decided that the fridge didn’t need to be on if nothing was in it and had unplugged it without checking if there was anything in there.
My advisor on being notified said that he didn’t want me to bury them, but to bring them down to the college and stick them in a freezer there. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about doing anything further with them after the drive down with a trunkful of decaying turtles.
I said as much to one of the other professors who was involved with the project and a younger female intern stated that she could deal with it because she had a very low gag reflex. The professor turned to her and said, “No one has a lower gag reflex than Bruce J. Mohn.” And so endeth that take.
Bruce, I can't tell you how happy your comments make me. Every time.
Murr, I don't think I know this Bruce Mohn fellow well enough to make any comment about his gag reflex, so I will politely keep quiet…just sayin'…..
Best comment of the week, hands down!
Ed, I had been thinking the young female intern with the low gag reflex would probably get far in academia.
Well,now I know all about dead turtles and the gag reflex of Bruce J. Mohn. A Saturday well begun.
An unopened Twinkie will never treat you that way in a million years.
The man makes a point.
However, if it is opened AND eaten, it WILL kill you eventually.
Murr and friends nevah disappoint!
It is a particularly stellar day in commentland.
Oh my, the horrifying quest for "what IS that smell?!" One time there was a smell coming out of our pantry that reminded me of the latrine at Girl Scout camp when I was 11. It took a lot of digging but I found it – it was a rotten potato. Had no idea they smelled that foul.
Sometimes when I start a fire in the fireplace, I smell something REALLY foul. I figure that a mouse may have gotten trapped in the chimney (it smells vaguely mousey) and by the time the fire really gets going, the smell dissipates. But until then… well, let's just say my gag reflex isn't as good as Bruce Mohn's. (Bruce– you will NEVER live down that comment!)
I DO remember just how bad a potato can get. Gaaah.
Great. This morning, I cacked a rat that had been lurking in my house for several days. I found him on the blanket on my couch RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE MY HOUSE MATE'S CAT SLEEPS! Thanks, KITTY!! Anyway, such a coincidence that I now read your latest blog mentioning mice and rats. Thanks, MURR!! But it is good that you located the stench source and it was a relatively easy clean-up.
I haven't quit smiling since "cacked a rat."
OK, thanks, I'm finally inspired to do a thorough refrigerator clean-out, now that the plastic bags in the refrigerator drawers are sticking to the bottom.
Yeah, I'm not quite there yet, but my commenters are going to shame me into it soon.
At least you still have all those good worms to start up your fly-in buffet again.
Yeah. Well some of them are good. Some of them are rather stiff.
Toss them out there anyway, the birds will still eat them. I toss out freeze-dried mealworms because that's all I can get locally and cheaply, the crows and smaller birds love them.
Good point. Studley was rather particular. If I had a moribund worm in my hand he'd pick it up and toss it over his little round shoulder.
I recently had not been able to locate a foul smell, turned out it was my Granddaughter's Cat Food, one of the Fancy Feast pacs had perforated, OMG that shit when it goes bad smells like Death! I would be mad if some Fifteen dollar a Lb. Mushrooms went bad in a day and I didn't get to eat them!
Ooops, my Granddaughter's Cat's Food… shit, sounded like I was feeding the Child Fancy Feast, so please don't call the Authorities… she has a Cat, I swear! *LOL*