Sunday, July 13, 2008

Behold, the crisper of death

(David Attenborough voice)

“For hundreds of years, men have sought the answer to this question: where do cauliflowers, those giants of the vegetable world, go to die? Now, with the discovery of a fridge crisper in a beach-side suburb of Adelaide, we may have found the answer.”

Sadly, that crisper belongs to me.

I have such good intentions when I visit the fruit and veg. Soups, stir-fries, curries, meat-and-three-veg, salads. The colours are bright and lovely, but they all end up going the same way. The zucchinis and cucumbers melt to a pale green slurry that looks like stepped-on caterpillars. The tomatoes sprout black spots and weep in the darkness, while the eggplant get sun-burnt. The broccoli pop pimples, the cauliflowers grow mold and the cabbages turn to sauerkraut.

I know. I’m a bad vegetable parent. I’m also sadistic, because I like to make Bloke look at the squishy mess when I drag it out of the crisper.

Me: “Euwww! Sludgy!”
Bloke: “I don’t want to know.”
Me: “But look! It looks like it’s melted!
Bloke: “La la la! Not listening!
Me: “Look: it’s a Mold Slushy.”
Bloke: “Oh, GOD! You just had to make me look, didn’t you?”
Me: “Yes. And your point is?”

But thank Ford for plastic bags, or I’d have to irradiate the fridge once a fortnight.

In other news from the fridge, I realised today that my youth had officially ended.

Yesterday, while waiting to be served in an interminable deli counter queue, I caught sight of a veritable mound of bung fritz. For Sydney types, this is ‘devon’. I have no idea whether anyone else is insane enough to make it, but if the words ‘fritz’ and ‘devon’ mean nothing, imagine a sausage the size of your elbow made entirely of minced lips, ears, arse-holes and random off-cuts of lard. Sounds tasty, doesn’t? Don’t worry, it gets better. Ordinary old Chapman’s fritz comes wrapped in plastic and looks a bit like dog food loaf, but bung fritz is another matter altogether. It’s orange and random in shape, with odd twists and turns created by tying bits of string at intervals of about eight inches. Think of a fat chick in orange bike pants and you’re close.

When I was a kiddledink, I was passionately attached to a fritz-and-sauce sandwich. Doughy white bread (no crusts, thanks), a good layer of spread (Flora or Meadow Lea), four slices of fritz and a solid layer of Rosella tomato sauce. By lunch-time, the sauce had soaked into the bread and it was all pretty soggy. Heaven. Some people prefer fritz fried, though. Cut in slices, remove the orange skin and cut little nicks all around the edge or it curls up like a cupped palm.

I can’t remember the last time I bought fritz. It must be at least eight or nine years. It’s usually salami at our place. I sometimes think that if Bloke were forced to choose between salami and me, I would have had my marching orders many years ago.

But for some reason yesterday, I thought, “Mm, fritz”. Why I didn’t think, “Mm, Danish feta” or, “Mm, bocconcini”, I’ll never know.

Anyway, this morning, I asked Bloke whether he’d like a fritz-and-egg muffin. He showed more than a passing interest in the concept, so I whacked off a couple of slices and dropped them in the fry pan.

By the time it was fried, I’d well and truly gone off the idea and suspected it would ruin a perfectly good egg, so I cut off a thin slice and had a sniff, then a bite.

The wonderful primary school lunch had somehow turned into salty, pink sludge: spam minus the spice and with no ham.

Ah, farewell, childhood. It’s all downhill from here.

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At 6:14 am, July 14, 2008, Blogger Amanda said...

I think we call it polony in WA, although there's a strong chance it isn't spelt like that. I've heard of it referred to as fritz by SA locals, but never devon... crazy Sydneysiders. I had a similar experience a couple of years ago, suddenly it was a horrid, salty mess. Entirely unappetising, it reminded me that our tastes mature as adults for a reason.

At 9:44 am, July 14, 2008, Blogger Kath Lockett said...

Love it - a fat chick in orange bike shorts.

Do you remember when the butcher or deli person would always offer you - or you kid - a slice? Sapphire always got a few, but at about the age of five, piped up and said, "No thanks, I like salami or pancetta instead." Of course she didn't get either slices of those for free....

I was never a fritz-n-sauce sanger kid, it was vegemite-n-cheese for me; which inexplicably I can't stand now. Maybe I'll give it a burl for lunch today.

At 1:25 pm, July 14, 2008, Blogger Scorpy said...

I went on Six weeks leave and thought I had got rid of all perishables, even from the fridge...but upon my return I discovered several, ozzing masses of what previously had been potatoes slowly bubbling in the back of my pantry. It took about a week of scrubbing and gagging to get rid of the smell. Almost as bad as when we went away for the weekend and my youngest had opened a can of sardines and oput them back in the pantry... just before we left!

At 1:28 pm, July 14, 2008, Blogger Scorpy said...

PS: You described my lunch all the way thru school...devon and sauce on whitebread....I can't stand the stuff now but my kids like it.

At 2:34 pm, July 14, 2008, Blogger eleanor bloom said...

I have a similarly sad relationship with my salad and vegies. Hence I often buy snap-frozen organic vegies. They're always fresh!

I also believe it is polony here, and I too used to have polony and tomato sauce sandwiches at school.

May I add that I am regretting reading this post re moldy produce and products made of 'lips, ears, arse-holes and random off-cuts of lard' just before I have my lunch...

At 4:16 pm, July 14, 2008, Blogger River said...

I'm horrified that you put your mold slushies in plastic bags. take the crisper outside and hose the stuff onto your garden beds. cover with a layer of potting mix or bagged compost. Great for the garden and the earthworms will love you.

At 4:56 am, July 15, 2008, Blogger tea and crisps said...

In Melbourne it's called 'straz', so you have a 'straz & sauce sanger'. I could never handle the sog factor as a kid - which I never grew out of, so there is no way I could handle one now.

Loved the fat chick in orange bike shorts comment.

At 1:51 pm, July 15, 2008, Anonymous kate said...

Mmmmm, fritz and sauce sandwich was my favourite lunch as a kid. If mum spread the butter thick enough, it wouldn't even make the tiptop bread soggy.
Now I have kids of my own, and they love fritz, and I can't bring myself to take even one samll bite. I think it's just revolting.

At 2:42 pm, July 15, 2008, Blogger phishez_rule said...

Yeah, nothing beat a good devon and sauce sanger. Salty but sweet and it had meat too!

I hate when cucumbers go bad. They look ok in the bag, but if you accidentally stick your finger in one...

At 4:21 pm, July 15, 2008, Blogger Homo J. Sapien said...

Is Fritz the same as Strasbourg?

At 1:02 pm, July 16, 2008, Blogger Jo said...

Welcome back, slacker.

At 4:19 pm, July 16, 2008, Blogger redcap said...

amanda, true enough. In the old days, I wouldn't have anything to do with capsicum either.

kath, I seem to remember reading a coroner's finding a few years ago that suggested a guy had died from Vegemite and cheese reacting together in his stomach. Are you all right? ;)

scorpy, glad to see you out and about in blogland! Aren't you supposed to put opened cans back in the pantry?

eleanor, sadly, snap frozen lettuce and cucumbers don't really work. And so long as you aren't eating any sort of sausage, you'll
be safe from L,E&A.

river, they were already in the plastic bags that they came home from the shop in...

phish, oh Christ yes. Caterpillar guts.

hjs, similar, I think.

jo, yep. I'm wicked and I'm la-a-azy.

At 5:28 pm, July 16, 2008, Blogger Lonie Polony said...

Good to see you back in blogging action :)

My crisper is the same. These days I try to avoid the self-delusion and the inevitable waste, and avoid buying many veges altogether. We're all about health in the polony household (can't you tell from the name?)

At 6:27 pm, July 17, 2008, Blogger Marmalade Wombat said...

Hi! I've only just come across your blog and it's criminally hilarious!

"bung fritz", "kiddledinks" hahahaha I love it!

My mother was very creative. One of my favourites was peanut butter + kiwi-fruit. Sometimes she would make "macdonalds" for me - which was sandwich bread + mystery meat + mustard + leftovers from dinner bunged into the microwave and then wrapped in foil.

At 8:10 pm, July 17, 2008, Blogger ashleigh said...

Straz, strasburg, devon, fritz, polony... all the same, it just changes depending on where you come from.

As a colleague of mine describes it, they are all "head cheese". What a delightful image that conjures up.

Cant stand the stuff. Didn't like it much as a kid, either.

At 1:44 am, July 19, 2008, Blogger Ariel said...

Fried fritz ... urgh! That's disgusting. I do fondly remember fritz & sauce sangers on white bread though. Not that I'd touch the stuff, now.

And you're BACK! Hooray!

At 10:48 pm, July 20, 2008, Blogger redcap said...

lonie, well, sort of. I may lose inspiration again, but in the meantime, I'll ride the wave. Sorry to disrespect your family name, by the way ;)

marmalade, why thank you! Your mum does sound very creative. I have to admit that my second-favourite school lunch was a bit like the kiwi and peanut butter: cream cheese and sultana sandwiches.

ashleigh, ~euww~

ariel, sad, isn't it? A fritz and sauce sandwich was nine parts of heaven and now... ninth circle in Dante's Inferno. (I think that's the circle where spin doctors and advertising copy writers go.)

At 3:59 pm, July 22, 2008, Blogger hazelblackberry said...

Aaaah, a polony-and-sauce sandwich, with a fairy bread chaser. Mmmmm.

At 5:07 am, August 06, 2008, Blogger tonypark said...

Fritz, devon, polony... it's all bad.

You should be where I am right now, in Biltong land.

Yep, back in the Kruger National Park.


At 10:39 pm, October 24, 2008, Blogger tonypark said...

Get blogging again. I need an excuse to look like I'm working on my book while secretly checking blogs.

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