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That one where Abigail gives away the fridge...


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Because going without is soooo much more fun that planning and preparing

http://abigails-alcove.blogspot.com/2013/04/shocking-confessions.html

I feed a family of seven out of a mini-fridge. One mini-fridge. You remember the kind we had in college. I don't even have the one with the serious freezer. We've got the common one with the narrow 4 inch freezer unit on the top shelf. Inside, we can fit either 2 ice cube trays inside or a few packages of frozen peas. Not both.

It is crazy. It is fun!

Know why it's fun? Because POVERTY!

So when we moved into this house, we came into ownership of the world's largest fridge. It was huge. It was old, a tired stained ivory, but it was the fridge of my elementary school dreams--side by side freezer/ fridge. It had a water dispenser in the door. It had an ice-cube maker. (The last two items weren't hooked up, but they looked nice anyway).

So they start out with a working fridge. It's big and old, but it works.

*hint* Someone living in true poverty would be doing a happy dance at this point.

and then a radical thing happened. We gave up our fridge. My husband put it on freecycle. Another family of seven picked it up. (I thought that was so ironic. They lady said "I need a second fridge because I have five children." I laughed and said "I have to get rid of my giant fridge because I have 5 kids. I need more space in my kitchen!)

Nothing says responsibility like giving your fridge away on a whim. Especially when you're POOR. You guys know Abigail is poor right? Just checking.

The swap out was only supposed to be short term. Our kitchen has three doorways close together in three walls. (a back door, a dining room entrance, and a hall entrance). If I wanted an "eat in kitchen" the only space for a fridge is super narrow. I couldn't get a standard cheap fridge for $300. I have to get one of those special order, super skinny fridges they make for apartments in New York City. The cheapest one of those I found was for $1,000. (Curiously skinny fridges are not common to find used in rural West Virginia. Bigger is always better for food storage in the countryside).

So we gave up our fridge in September--expecting that we'd get a new fridge shortly--but you know, the grand plans for saving money as a family of seven rarely go as easily as expected. So here we in April--no money for a new fridge on the horizon--but I've got to say. I don't care anymore!

I guess saving up the $1000 first would have just been completely out of the question. :roll: That fridge would have probably gotten in the way of their kitchen remodel anyway. POVERTY and all that. Not to mention their bathroom remodel. *coughPOVERTYcough*

And finally there is (for me) the gross factor:

My husband and I were forced to do actual "food research." We had to figure out what stuff is safe to leave out, what stuff needed to be chilled. Surprising, the answer is "not that much." I learned that as long as I use up all my food within a few days, I don't have to "chill" eggs, or strawberries, or cheese.

The strawberries are meh, whatever. The cheese I wouldn't do, but to each his own. But the eggs...blech...

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She has added a Part 2:

abigails-alcove.blogspot.ca/2013/04/thoughts-about-poverty-and-food-hoarding.html

She claims that poverty is a blessing because the mini-fridge stops her from hoarding food.

I liked this passage from the first post. More money mismanagement!

I had to adjust my grocery shopping slightly. I can't fit those huge gallon plastic milk jugs in my fridge. I buy the 1/2 gallon milk in paper containers. It costs more, but then we easily switched up to Organic Milk. Now I'm more careful about our milk use. We buy 3 1/2 gallons each week. Usually I run out within 4 days. However, that's an easy shopping trip.
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I have a mini-fridge, and the freezer doesn't work. This suits me just fine, but I only have to feed two people. Also, given that we shop in a very European way (buying fresh food every other day, if not every day), we just don't need a freezer or any more storage space for chilled food. We shop frugally not by buying on sale and stocking up the freezer, but by buying things that are reduced for reaching their sell-by date (including milk). This isn't doable for everyone, though, and I certainly couldn't do it if my shopping habits were 'once a week in a car' rather than 'walking past multiple grocery stories every day' - or if we had kids!

Eggs in the UK are not refrigerated; the difference between US/UK has to do with...I want to say pasturizing? Or not washing the shells? I know lots of people who don't refrigerate butter. I wouldn't do either of these things, though!

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The strawberries are meh, whatever. The cheese I wouldn't do, but to each his own. But the eggs...blech...

I have a perfectly fine, working fridge and do not keep the eggs in there. Never once have I had rotten eggs in my cupboard. They don't keep them in the fridge in stores, at least here in Britain, either. It's also really really easy to tell if an egg is off, apart from the sink-or-float test: if it is even slightly off, you will smell it. Trust me. FYI, only ever have I encountered fridge-kept rotten eggs.

Of course they need to be kept cool, so I probably wouldn't keep them out of the fridge/pantry if I lived in Texas / Southern Italy / anywhere else hot. Given I live in Scotland and my kitchen is so cold the Nutella goes brittle in the same cupboard the eggs are in, I daresay I'm good.

On topic: What an idiot. Sure, buying a new, more energy efficient and practically sized fridge is a good idea. but don't *give* the old, perfectly functional one away before you can do that!

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Wow, who would give away a working fridge? She should be like everyone else in that situation and be thankful for this amazing luck to get a huge fridge.

When I was a kid, our family was pretty poor, and we only had a tiny fridge like Abigail's for a similar family size for years. We would have been thrilled to have gotten a big fridge, but we couldnt afford it as other things were more important, like paying the bills.

We generally got by, with shopping regularly for frozen stuff, things that dont usually kill you when not kept cool would not be refridgerated, and we kept milk outside the back door when it was cold outside. I didnt know you had to keep eggs in the fridge as we usually didnt.

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Eggs out of the fridge is a totally new one on me, but I confess I have some real issues with food. I have a terrible fear of food poisoning.

From her new post:

Switching to a mini-fridge in an example of the hidden blessing of involuntary poverty. I did not do this switch as a well thought out "plan" to improve my family's eating habits.

In other news: Poverty. Also, bad financial planner.

I also like how she points out that they often run out of money between paydays and she was reliant on her stock of frozen food. She talks about the frozen stash of food like it's a bad thing. It's not. It fed her family on days when they didn't have money for something fresh. Now what are they supposed to do when they are between paychecks? Eat the peas or the ice-cubes? :angry-banghead:

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Eggs out of the fridge is a totally new one on me, but I confess I have some real issues with food. I have a terrible fear of food poisoning.
Fair enough. I didn't know US stores keep eggs in the fridge, either! I definitely keep all dairy and meat products in there.

I also like how she points out that they often run out of money between paydays and she was reliant on her stock of frozen food. She talks about the frozen stash of food like it's a bad thing. It's not. It fed her family on days when they didn't have money for something fresh. Now what are they supposed to do when they are between paychecks? Eat the peas or the ice-cubes? :angry-banghead:

Frozen is the way peas are most delicious, I find! ^^

In all seriousness, this is so unbelievably dumb. We should ask her, since she hasn't had a proper fridge for a while! Poverty could be alleviated by buying and cooking in bulk. Oh wait, never mind -.-

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Eggs are never kept in the fridge in UK supermarkets and in most UK households. We keep ours in a wire chicken-shaped basket on the countertop. Also we keep our real butter in a butter dish on the countertop, it keeps it soft so you can spread it on bread properly. Margarine and spreadable 'butter' is kept in the fridge though. I would be much more concerned about cheese not being refrigerated but that's just me?

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Eggs are never kept in the fridge in UK supermarkets and in most UK households. We keep ours in a wire chicken-shaped basket on the countertop. Also we keep our real butter in a butter dish on the countertop, it keeps it soft so you can spread it on bread properly. Margarine and spreadable 'butter' is kept in the fridge though. I would be much more concerned about cheese not being refrigerated but that's just me?

Well, in a cold climate you can keep your cheese out. My grandmother used to use a "Käseglocke" (basically, it's a bowl of glass you put over your cheese). But if you don't want your cheese to mature, then it's not a good idea to keep it out.

I don't keep my butter out, but I know plenty of people who do. We don't use it enough, so it'd just go rancid. Milk just goes off too fast. The longest I managed to keep fresh milk out, was two days in winter (milk always got nicked from the fridges in my halls of residence, so I used to buy a pint, and keep it in my room. Somehow it never crossed my mind to buy UHT).

On topic: I agree with another poster who said that it's doable, if you shop every day for fresh stuff. But in Abigail's case, I'd say it's just another "look at how poor and saintly I am" thing. :roll:

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Eggs are never kept in the fridge in UK supermarkets and in most UK households. We keep ours in a wire chicken-shaped basket on the countertop. Also we keep our real butter in a butter dish on the countertop, it keeps it soft so you can spread it on bread properly. Margarine and spreadable 'butter' is kept in the fridge though. I would be much more concerned about cheese not being refrigerated but that's just me?

How long do you typically leave the eggs and butter out?

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US eggs from a supermarket must be refrigerated, because the USDA requires that commercial egg producers power wash eggs before sale. This removes the protective coating that keeps newly laid eggs fresh.

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We store the butter in the fridge, but keep the stick that's being used out. Most of the time, it's just in a plastic bowl, in the microwave (the microwave kept the cat away. We no longer have the cat, but the habit stuck). Butter doesn't last too long in our house, but I'd say we keep it out for a few days without any problems with it going rancid. Of course, we do use salted butter, so that probably also tips in our favor for keeping it "fresh."

And, now my fridge confession. We are a family of five. We have the largest french door style fridge that was available at the time- I think 28 cubic feet. In addition, we have another full size freezer on top style fridge- probably 18 cubic feet. Both are generally packed full. And the second fridge is really only used for drinks- soda, beer, juice, etc. My husband is actually looking to buy a separate wine fridge. And, in the summer, we have one of those mini fridges outside, that I keep stocked with snacks, drinks and freezer pops for the kids.

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So wait, because I think we've missed something really important in our analysis here - Abigail is poor right? The special, godly, cello playing, swim camp attending, giving away essential appliances, blowing money on decorative tat and fast food kind of Poverty? Because I think we're in danger of forgetting that.

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The power washing not only removes the bloom that protects the eggs, in ensures that any bacteria that is on the outside of the egg will be forced inside. This, along with battery raising chickens, is why eggs in the US are often contaminated.

I do put my eggs in the fridge, even though I have my own chickens, because although unwashed eggs can be safely stored at room temp for an extended period of time, keeping them cool extends their life considerably. This means that I can stockpile eggs in the spring so that I have an ample supply in the summer, when the heat puts the girls off laying.

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Some upcoming threads on Abigail's Alcove:

Seven People in a Pup Tent, and We Love It!

Who Needs Electricity? Kerosene Lamps Make Me Holier than You!

I Never Felt More Catholic than the Day the City Turned Off My Water

Who Wants My Roth IRA?

Dispatches from the Stream Where I Pound Laundry on Rocks

Tiny Toes in the Snow. My Kids are Discalced, Too

Holy Smoke! We're Burning Furniture to Stay Warm

Naked Unto the Lord: I Freecycled All My Clothing

Dumpster Diving for Seven, I'll Show You How

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We keep our butter out and have never had a problem. We live where it's warm but our house is always cool even when it's wretched hot out, because I think A/C is proof of God's abiding love of mankind. ;)

And, now my fridge confession. We are a family of five. We have the largest french door style fridge that was available at the time- I think 28 cubic feet. In addition, we have another full size freezer on top style fridge- probably 18 cubic feet. Both are generally packed full. And the second fridge is really only used for drinks- soda, beer, juice, etc. My husband is actually looking to buy a separate wine fridge. And, in the summer, we have one of those mini fridges outside, that I keep stocked with snacks, drinks and freezer pops for the kids.

keen 23, your family sounds like mine, except we are only four. We have the giant indoor fridge/freezer, a large chest freezer in the garage that is full mostly of frozen meat and fish, and another big fridge/freezer in the garage that contains beer, wine, sodas and stuff that won't fit into the one upstairs (esp. when we are getting ready for a party or a holiday celebration.) .

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Does Abigail's family have health insurance? If yes, I expect a post about how they have given it up because it saves money and suffering from ill health brings her closer to G-d.

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The power washing not only removes the bloom that protects the eggs, in ensures that any bacteria that is on the outside of the egg will be forced inside. This, along with battery raising chickens, is why eggs in the US are often contaminated.

So why do it????

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So why do it????

Probably because the typical American consumer would recoil at specks of chicken shit on the outside of most eggs.

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How long do you typically leave the eggs and butter out?

Depends how warm it is. At the moment it's quite chilly so butter is left out all the time and a block will get used up in about a week, maybe a few days more? In warm weather butter will only be kept out for how long it needs to be used, and refrigerated the rest of the time - but this is mostly so it doesn't melt! In our house we can easily get through a box of 6 eggs in a week, not sure how long it would take for eggs to go off if kept at room temperature because we eat eggs up too quickly for that lol.

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Probably because the typical American consumer would recoil at specks of chicken shit on the outside of most eggs.

On the flip side of that, I remember, years ago, being agog at a news story about a company in the UK sticking feathers and chicken poop to the eggs intentionally as part of the marketing...

it's to long ago for me to operate Google well enough to find it

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Abigail annoys me. A friend of mine inherited barely used appliances after her grandmother died. My friend's grandma had a stroke a few years before she died, her refrigerator, washer, and dryer were fairly new when the stroke happened. The grandma never lived on her own again because she was paralyzed on one side. Her speech and mind were good and she told everyone that she wanted my friend to have her appliances. My friend got married a year after her grandmother died. My friend was always grateful that she inherited those appliances and it saved her and her husband money when they were starting out. Abigail giving away a working appliance is just dumb.

Abigial's reasoning for the mini-fridge and saying a bigger fridge leads to food hoarding are ridiculous. Not everyone with big fridges hoards food like crazy. I know families that are around the same size as Abigail's and they do stock up on certain foods in case of emergencies. I have relatives in rural areas that are 20-40 miles away from reasonably priced grocery stores. They have bigger fridges and freezers to store more food in case they can't get to stores during bad weather, disasters, etc. Doesn't Abigial live in somewhat rural area?

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We've lived without a microwave oven for over a year. Through one of the worst summers in either of our lives, we were able to cook on the stove in the cooler parts of the day (cooler meant 80F) or grill outside.

Do I get a pat as a discalced Luutheran? Hee

ETA the way Big Mama Junebug would react to Abigail if she knew about her:

"You stupid woman. You think you're poor? I grew up without electricity and indoor plumbing. My mother had to pump water into the kitchen sink bowl and carry it outside to empty it. Our bathrooms were 50 feet away from the house and we read the Sears catalog pages before we consigned them to the deep, deep hole.

"You unthinking, poor excuse for being the mother of five healthy children God's given you. My mother was able to offer each of the six of us a piece of bread for a snack when we got home from school. Dinner was usually beans and if we had meat it was whatever a neighbor had seen fit to give us, or something my daddy slaughtered.

"You sit on your butt bragging about your 'involuntary poverty' while your kids do what, exactly? Are you teaching them? Talking with them? Preparing them for the world outside your clever little idea of being not just a good Catholic, but a Catholic who people look up to for her sparse lifestyle? Go live with the nuns in New Guinea, or Africa, or South Dakota or Mississippi or other places where they literally risk their lives and bodies 24/7/365 to carry out Christ's commands, THEN write a book about it, but only if the profits from the book go to help the people in the mission areas."

Well actually BMama wouldn't have said any of that. She was too kind and slow to express her judgment or anger.

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We've lived without a microwave oven for over a year. Through one of the worst summers in either of our lives, we were able to cook on the stove in the cooler parts of the day (cooler meant 80F) or grill outside.

Do I get a pat as a discalced Luutheran? Hee

I don't know, but you would get a nod from Latisha! :lol:

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