I need to empty my freezer and defrost it, but it's not easy. I'm a hoarder, and I can't help buying things that look good, and then putting by a bit of leftover this or that, and keeping a bag of bones and vegetable peelings for stock, and a long list of etceteras.
But finally I'm getting there. A ruthless plan means that this week, come what may, I'm unplugging the damn thing, and if I have to throw away some stuff (a bag of chicken skin? what was that about? ) so be it.
Once the fun-size Greenland ice cap that's inside is melted, I will have a pristine, good-as-new, bigger than ever freezer. And I will have to fill it, because, duh, everyone knows a full freezer is more energy efficient, and because I'm a freezer geek.
So a fresh start means that for a few days at least, I will have the perfect wish list freezer. The real thing. The go-to ingredients that save the day, the hard to find meats and fish, the tubs of stock. So, while I struggle to plan meals that will accomodate a jar of mushroom ragù, pesto ice cubes, 6 Chinese sausages, a tub of carrot soup, another of poached pears, two bags of raspberries and a packet of broad beans, I dream up my perfect new freezer contents.
Here they are:
First, I will buy ham hocks and chicken wings, and I will make at least 3 litres of strong stock, to pack into 500 ml containers. At least.
And maybe I'll cook up a batch of tomato sauce, so I can have a couple of tubs in there too.
The rest is all stuff I can buy:
Fish fingers, which are my disgusting children's favourite food, and a surprisingly good sandwich filler for decadent days.
Coley and mackerel fillets. Sustainable, quick to thaw, quicker to cook, essential.
Octopus for J, and squid if I can find it.
Sausages: good British bangers, and chipolatas, which can be sliced when frozen and cook very quickly.
Minced beef and pork, mixed by myself into delicious little patties and meatballs.
Minced free range turkey, not easy to score, packed into 100 gr. pouches.
Organic chicken livers.
Smoked pork ribs, for bean dishes.
Whole leaf spinach.
Puff pastry, the good all butter kind.
Ice cream, vanilla, or maybe Mackie's cream.
Naan bread, or pizza bases, the good ones smeared with tons of butter from the chiller cabinet.
I will try to leave room for bread, or for more ice cream, or for nestling beers when they won't fit in the fridge, and for the packets of stuff that find their way into the freezer from time to time: a bit of stew to be turned into a noodle topping, a bag of pisto to pull out for a quick lunch, bechamel, soup, etc.
And so the long unending game of Freezer Tetris that is my life will begin anew, until the ice advances and I have to start the cull all over again.
(The drawing above is of Amundsen's crew. He's my least favourite Polar explorer, but you have to admit he was a good leader; he made sure to hire an excellent cook who kept the pancakes coming.)