If my wardrobe and sneeze volume are any indication, I’m slowly but surely becoming my old man. This, of course, brings various degrees of shame — and mixed feelings about aging. I will not, however, apologize or feel ashamed for wanting to emulate Dad in one very important way: taking possession of a second fridge.
Growing up in a family of seven meant my parents had a lot of mouths to feed, which also meant planning ahead, buying food in bulk and storing that food in a second fridge and second and third freezer. It was, in a word, the best. In fact, I have many cherished memories of running down to the basement to grab a pack of frozen hamburger meat from the freezer and a Red Dog from the fridge for my dad.
But while I’m currently trapped in a Chicago apartment that leaves no room for the vaunted second fridge (or freezer), unable to properly honor my father beyond my clamorous sneezes, many others have proudly continued the tradition. And to hear them tell it, as the pandemic winter drags on, it’s far more necessity than luxury good.
Beer on Beer on Beer on Beer
Jim Mumford, Michigan, 2 Refrigerators: I have a second fridge in the garage, and it’s a lifesaver. I use it to store food from the Costco runs we make every week, saving money in bulk. Second, it’s great when I’m trying to marinate a chicken, thaw a roast, etc., as it doesn’t displace the food I use on a daily basis. Finally, more room for beer!
Some don’t want the extra fridge due to energy usage, but modern refrigeration is vastly more efficient than 20 years ago. A 20-cubic-foot fridge (the standard size) that’s Energy Star-rated (99 percent are if purchased this century) will use only $30 to $40 per year in electricity, which you’ll easily save in buying bulk and convenience.
Never-Ending Meal Prep
Tim Koster, Netherlands, 2 Freezers: Cooking in advance for one or more weeks is a big timesaver. In order to do that, however, you do need a place to store all those meals. The extra freezer space also comes in handy when buying food that is on sale. Being able to buy additional ingredients and store them for later use can be a big money-saver, especially when it comes to pricey foods that you can sometimes find at a discount, like meats.
After having used a second freezer for a couple of years, we don’t see ourselves going back to just a single freezer. We’ve found that the time and money savings far outweigh the cost of the electricity and physical space.
Food and Drink Forever Parted
Gerallt Hywel, the U.K., 2 Refrigerators: To me, food and drink should be separated. Why do we just assume that they should be stored together — stacked on top of each other and leaking onto the other? It’s just not right. I’ve used separate refrigerators since becoming an adult, and I’ve never looked back. I’m able to keep my food fridge where I cook — the kitchen — and my drink fridge in a location where I spend more time and thus have easier access to beverages.
Impossible to Be Eaten Out of House and Home
Steve Morrow, Arizona, 2 Refrigerators: We use the second fridge mostly for drinks and overflow. With two teenagers, we go through a lot of food and drinks in a given week. And so, the second refrigerator has become a “must-have,” and if it ever fails, we’ll have to replace it immediately. It’s actually over 20 years old so I’m sure the day of reckoning is coming!
A Quarantine Savior
Marlene Quade, Texas, 2 Refrigerators, 1 Extra Freezer: We have a smart fridge in the kitchen, a refrigerator in the pantry and a 74-inch chest freezer in the garage — all three are used daily and have been especially important since the pandemic hit.
The Family Hub in our kitchen has been a fun addition since our family is homebound and cooking three meals a day. The second refrigerator comes in handy when hosting because we primarily use it for beverages and prepared dishes. We purchased the chest freezer at the very beginning of the pandemic, out of concern for fresh fruit and vegetable shortages, skyrocketing meat prices and coronavirus exposure with every trip to the grocery store.
But in addition to our healthy meal options, we have room for comfort foods like pizza and ice cream to complement our way-too-frequent can’t-wait-for-a-vaccine movie nights.