I was watching CAREER OPPORTUNITIES at 4.30 this morning. Avid readers of my every word (I’m looking at you cyberstalker fangirl) will recall I wrote of this forgotten 1991 John Hughes penned and produced flick in my other blog. And while I was being less-than-thoroughly engaged by it, I was confronted by the image of a character getting up for a midnight snack or raiding the icebox or some other mid-century slang term. And I was instantly annoyed by the fact that he had a plate of fried chicken just sitting there naked on the top shelf of his Westinghouse. Chicken. Plate. Fridge. Boom! (see below)
Who does that? Who leaves cooked, unwrapped meat in the main body of their refrigerator? Who doesn’t whip out the clingfilm or the Glad wrap and seal that sucker into a plastic prison on the plate? Who doesn’t employ a transparent, non-permeable polymer membrane to cover their leftovers and not leave them exposed to the forbidding atmosphere of their Frigidaire? No one? Everyone? Am I merely the product of a germophobe mother and therefore unequipped to judge this seemingly odd food-handling decision? I decided to check on line to see if there were others who. like me, were repulsed at the thought of leaving food unprotected in their Kelvinator. I found an online forum with cheering responses such as these:
- Absolutely everything in my fridge has a cover of some sort. You can thank my mother for that??
- I’ve been known to stick a pizza box in there, but I always feel wrong about that — like there’s too much air around the food for it to count as covered.
- I cover everything. If I put something in the fridge uncovered, I would feel very uneasy about it. The fact that it’s in there, so vulnerable and unprotected, would prey on my mind continuously. I’d probably have nightmares about it.
So I am not alone in finding this behaviour unconscionable. In numerous other places online I also found food safety authorities pointing out that food left unwrapped dries out more quickly and can potentially “stink up” your Fisher and Paykel.
I assume this outrageous flouting of food safety best practice happens in movies for a number of reasons. Firstly, so we the audience, can immediately register that it’s chicken or cold cuts or leftover lasagne. Secondly, the actor is left free to externalise the very essence of pensiveness or worry or whatever they’re supposed to be putting across.
Whereas I’m sure that Dustin Hoffman is more than capable of making us understand that his character is concerned for the whereabouts of his daughter whilst he peels back a layer of tinfoil from last night’s apricot chicken–maybe this is beyond the remit of others of the acting fraternity. The man has won two academy awards, after all.
Similarly, if Meryl Streep were to assay the role of Gertrude in Hamlet, I can see her being all–Be thou assur’d, if words be made of breath, and breath of life, I have no life to breathe, what thou hast said to me–all while she removes Wiener schnitzel from a ziplock bag. But she too is a dual Oscar winner.
Whatever the reasons for movies continuing to promote these unsafe food storage practices, I would urge you all to take the prophylactic measure of wrapping your leftovers when abandoning them in your Samsung 2-door. Or better still, follow my lead in buying and using a ridiculous number of faux Tupperware containers from Willow or Décor, but never, ever Ikea.
Phil Jeng Kane