The Refrigerator as Repository of Rancid Remnants


Music – “Livin’ In the Fridge” from Alapalooza by “Weird Al” Yankovic. Released: 1999

I recently heard that November 15th is “National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day“.  Some references suggest that Whirlpool Home Appliances started the promotion, however, this has not been confirmed.  An alternate explanation is that someone (turkey breeders? pumpkin growers? cranberry harvesters?) suggested the date in anticipation of all of the room need to accommodate the coming Thanksgiving leftovers.  Who knows?

Don’t forget….November 15th!                           (Photo Credit:

I used to watch the show “Hoarders“and I was both fascinated and repelled by the stuff that people hoard and how MUCH of it.  Suffice it to say, while I have never been accused of hoarding cookbooks, some people seem to think that no matter how organized or how much care goes into the selection and curation of a large collection of books, ownership of more than 1,000 books is “hoarding”, or, at least the Compulsive Book Hoarders Group seems to think.  Wikipedia describes “bibliomania”, as the collecting of books which have no use to the collector nor any great intrinsic value to a genuine book collector.  Well, that certainly lets me off the hook, as my cookbooks have tremendous value and are frequently used. Whatever.

In appreciation of the upcoming “National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day“, I pulled out several of my older “cookbooklets”, which were issued from refrigerator manufacturers back in the day:  Frigidaire, General Electric, Servel Electrolux, and International Harvester (I never knew they made refrigerators).  This is an example of what a well-maintained refrigerator should look like, according to Servel Electrolux:

The “Servel Electrolux” refrigerator from their brochure, dated 1936. Such slick lines! Such cleanliness!





Or, from the booklet that accompanied the General Electric Refrigerator, for the modern woman of 1927….

1927 – General Electric Refrigerator, all neat and organized inside. No rotting meat here!







The Frigidaire Model AP-7-2, which featured “…enduring Tu-Tone porcelain enamels of gray and white, in lustrous white Duco or in any of five harmonious color combinations of Duco”. Very impressive! From their 1928 “Frigidaire Recipes”.

One of the things that absolutely floored and disgusted me no end about many hoarders was the frequent obsession with retaining everything, including garbage, and even worse, rotting food.  For example…(a picture is worth a thousand words)…

Wow! (Photo Credit:








Whew! (Photo Credit:


When the HazMat team has to come and clean out your fridge, you know it’s serious! (Photo Credit:

Shared office refrigerators have always had a bad reputation. (Photo Credit:









TGIF at the office! (Photo Credit:

One wonders if hoarders actually attempt to eat the rotting remnants in their refrigerators or if there is just a sense of comfort knowing that the fridge is full….

Please tell me that people don’t actually try to eat any of this stuff! (Photo Credit:




What might be lurking in this myriad of takeout containers and is new life being spawned?            (Photo Credit:


These ladies are carefully organizing the refrigerator to ensure freshness. No waste here! (Photo from “101 Refrigerator Helps, published by Frigidaire, 1944)




Roommates have their own refrigerator issues too…(Photo Credit:
















Wouldn’t you rather eat food that came out of this deluxe Frigidaire? (Photo from Frigidaire Recipes, 1928)

While this might not be considered “hoarding” food, the owner had a novel approach to keeping fish fresh….

OK…who wants fresh sushi for dinner? (Photo Credit:








How many hot dogs does it take, end to end, to circle the earth? (Photo Credit:

If this is the kitchen, imagine what’s inside the refrigerator! (Photo Credit:

Perhaps the safest kind of “hoard” in your refrigerator (never rots, doesn’t smell) (Photo Credit:

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve located some relics at the rear of many a refrigerator of mine over the years….I recall one particular ghastly and stomach-wrenching episode some years back, which, without going into details, I named “the ugly egg salad incident”  (you can read between the lines)

So, please don’t forget that November 15th is NATIONAL CLEAN OUT YOUR REFRIGERATOR DAY!  You just never know what you might find….

No comment. (Photo Credit:

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,500. What next? More shelves?
This entry was posted in Collecting, Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Eating, Guinness World Records, New Mexico, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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