A Household of Action, Drama and Pathos

This morning, after going to the gym for a workout, then grinding assorted fruits and greens into 3 glasses of juice out of concern for the healthy lives of my co-habitants, and then showering and settling into work, I decided what I needed next was to make myself some toast lathered in a dense, bullet-turning layer of peanut butter. Only when I went to the kitchen there wasn’t any bread. I uttered a curse under my breath, as I was certain that just last night there had been about half a loaf left. So I fired off an email to Julia, who was already at work, inquiring if she’d had it or if Sid had polished it off (my suspicion, at this point, was that, in her state of constant running late in the morning, she had simply grabbed the entire remaining loaf to take with her for making a sandwich later). She replied that she had indeed taken two slices, but that there were several remaining.

The plot thickened, I returned to the kitchen for another look. After poking through various cupboards, I found the remaining bread stashed on the top shelf of the refrigerator. I emailed her back, saying that I found it in the fridge, and that I thought that was funny. Here is her response:

Oh yeah, and in my defense, our family always kept the bread in the fridge. This bread on the counter is new to me. Same with peanut butter.

Yes, I’ve found the peanut butter in the fridge before too. I responded:

Must be a warm/cold climate thing.

Julia being from Arizona, it seemed like a reasonable assumption, right? I mean, she has her other climate-related quirks, like sleeping under a down comforter 10 months out of the year. This was her response, though:

Or a queer Montanan thing.

Them’s almost fighting words. After firing off a suitable and mature response that clung desperately to the high road —

Your queerness wouldn’t fit in the biggest bread box!

— I started wondering how other people deal with placement of bread and peanut butter.

So that’s my question to anyone reading this. Who has the queer habits here, me or my uppity woman? Bread and peanut butter — do you keep them in the fridge or cupboard? Any other food storage conflicts arise in your households?

14 thoughts on “A Household of Action, Drama and Pathos”

  1. >Bread sometimes goes in the fridge — it'll keep longer, and if it's like, homemade or artisan shit, then it might go south fast. (Regular white bread will survive an Apocalypse, and can be left exposed.)Peanut butter, never fridge. It turns into a surly, unmanageable block. And if there's oil separation, it gets worse.For the record, I love posts like this. I have no idea why.– c.

  2. >We keep peanut butter and bread in a cabinet.My aunt, dad's sister, used to keep everything in a cabinet. Butter. Mayonnaise.MAYONNAISE.I never ate the salads she made.

  3. >Chuck, I can see that, especially in humid climates. It's dry enough here, and we tend to use it fast enough, that we don't have a big problem with that, but it does pop up sometimes.Mayonnaise. Ugh. That stuff is banned from this house. I worked at a place that literally pumped out truckloads of the shit. The smell alone will make me hurl.

  4. >Speaking as another queer Montanan: Yeah, definitely keep the PB out of the fridge. Nothing sucks more than trying to spread a glutinous blob over bread and having it rip the bread all to shit. Especially if you're preparing it for little kids who insist on intact bread that can be cookie-cuttered into a heart or bunny shape. Also, cold PB will often cause your average Queer Montanan to put the jar in the microwave, only to discover that there's a few shreds of aluminum foil lining the jar's opening… sparks, shrieks and general chaos ensue.My biggest quarrel with my own spouse is her wantonly careless and sloppy chip-bag opening technique. This Queer Montanan INSISTS that bags of tortilla chips, etc. be opened cleanly using the time-honored and proven Pinch-And-Separate operation. None of this "let's just rip the fucking bag open any old way and then watch in horror over a period of a few days as the bag surely finds 8 other places to rip itself open and totally eliminating its function as a BAG".The other recurring struggle we have is her obsessive need to refrigerate even the most miniscule portions of leftovers. I'm all about not being wasteful and all that, but opening the fridge and seeing a bunch of tupperware containers, each with six peas or a tiny corner of a sandwich in it… that's just more than a man can bear.

  5. >Yale, yes, YES! on the bag opening problem. I'd like to extend that to the inner bags in cereal boxes too. On this I'm not just pointing at Julia, I'm pointing at my Obnoxious Mutant Offspring too.

  6. >Bread doesn't turn blue as fast if kept in the refrigerator. Unless you're always in a big hurry, the best bet is to keep it in the freezer, then quickly toast the slices you need or leave them on the counter for ten minutes. That way you don't wind up tossing out bread what's got mouldy, mate.Peanut butter? Good for clogging your arteries, but that's about it.

  7. >Peanut butter is proof that some chemists somewhere just want people to be happy, Richard. You'd do well not to forget that. One thing I know Julia would gripe out with me concerns leftovers. I forget about them, and then they turn. I know that irks her.

  8. >We keep bread, tortillas, in the fridge. Keep the peanut butter in the pantry.We always keep a stick of butter out, too, soft. Some people think that's gross.We like light mayo and sometimes even Miracle Whip (for slaw). But mostly go with spicy mustards for sammies.We're cheap so we drink a lot of Bota Box brand wines, which always stay out of the fridge too. Occasionally, if it's hot, I might drop an ice cube or two into a glass of white wine. TMI?

  9. >No, not too much at all, John. I'll keep butter out too if I'm going to use it. Don't use it enough to keep it out all the time, though.

  10. >Because due to one big fat health problem (diabetes) I eat loads of natural peanut butter (the kind of stuff most kids hate because it isn't pumped up with gobs of sugar).And because I loath anything solid that doesn't need to be, I store mine in the pantry. Makes life easier and I'm a little less crabby in the process.

  11. >I like almost everything at room temperature. Favorite sandwich though is a multi-grain waffle, peanut butter and a banana. Hit all the food groups almost that way. And I would freeze bread before I refrigerated it. Keeps the taste better.

  12. >I kept bread in the frig for years because it kept longer. Problem is that it loses it's softness and tasted like cardboard. Wait – maybe that's just the brand I buy. Anyway, nowadays I keep bread on top of the microwave and because my eating habits have gone south themselves and I'm eating a hell of a lot more bread than I used to, it never has the chance to get moldy. Peanut butter – I thought you were supposed to keep the "healthy" kind in the frig, but then you have to deal with the oil separation problem that Chuck is talking about. Whoever came up with the idea that oil should be separate from peanut butter should be shot. It's not natural.

  13. >I'm from Arizona. As kids we kept both unrefrigerated. We had real peanut butter (peanuts and salt only), and it congealed if you refrigerated it. Also, since there were 9 of us in the house, the bread was gone within a couple of days.As a single person, I still keep the peanut butter in the cupboard, but I've started putting the bread in the fridge as it's hard to finish a loaf before it starts molding if I don't.

  14. >Just received this comment via email, which may be the most important one, considering the source:"This is Julia's dad weighing in. We did keep the bread in the frig as in the Tucson warm season (most of the year) it was prone to become moldy quickly. Peanut butter I can't remember but at my natal home it lived in the cupboard just waiting for a finger or a spoon. Julia's wicked step-mother, my beautiful bride, insists that it should be kept in the frig. I yield. The important thing that I have since learned is that if you are keeping bread for longer than a few days it's best kept in the freezer where it keeps for long periods of time with out much change if it is relatively air tight." — John MuellerAll in all re: this important poll, I think I could be sold on keeping bread in the refrigerator. But I will die on the hill that keeps peanut butter in the pantry. Cold peanut butter is pure blasphemy.

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