Living Without: Refrigeration

In light of my last post about the heat, I thought I would take you on a little journey. A journey I like to call living without a fridge.

You read that right. Much to my mother’s horror, I’ve been living in 100˚+ temps without a fridge (or AC) for the past three months. Full disclosure, though, this post is about to be past tense as I inherit an extra fridge from my site mate. And it has really only gotten hot in the past month, which isn’t an exponential amount of time to be living without cold things. Either way, the experience felt worth some reflection. Bear with me.

  1. Grocery shopping has to be done much more frequently. Almost daily, actually. Some items like potatoes and flour can be bought in bulk, but other things like couve, carrots and tomatoes need to be purchased fresh every day.
  2. If you want a cold beverage, you better drink it fast. Forget about buying a Coke or a beer for later while you’re at the market. Liquids reach room temperature pretty rapidly in general and you can only imagine what that’s like when the air is 106˚. Also, staying hydrated is really hard when your drinking water is the temperature of bath water.
  3. Cooking for one is a refined skill…it requires a surprising amount of precision if you want to avoid waste. I will never take left overs for granted again.
  4. Cooking is also time consuming. I now understand why women here dedicate so much of their day to it when everything has to be done from scratch. You want something like gnocchi and marinara sauce for dinner in the States? Tear open an airtight package of gnocchi from the fridge, bust out that half-used jar of Prego sitting next to it, grate some cheese on top and you’re good to go. You want that same dinner in Moz? Peel, boil, and mash some potatoes for the gnocchi, boil tomatoes to be skinned and cooked again for sauce, and keep dreaming about cheese. Four hours later and you’ll be sitting down for dinner.
  5. Things can be left at room temperature longer than you might think. Whole eggs, soups, cooked pasta, salsa, the list goes on. I may have pushed the limits on this one a few too many times, but what better way to learn than through trial and error? Practical application is hard to top.
  6. A fridge may be convenient, but it’s definitely not necessary. Millions of people live without them all over the world. Many of my neighbors live without them here. And, despite my newfound love and admiration for refrigeration systems and cold water, I’m confident in my ability to go without.

Like your AC, give your fridge a hug today. It works 24/7 to preserve your foods and give you other cold things. It’s the real MVP and unsung hero of your kitchen.


4 thoughts on “Living Without: Refrigeration

  1. elliewick says:

    I was prepared to be electricity-less and therefore fridge-less in Swaziland, but it is definitely nice to have one. During PST I didn’t have a fridge, and definitely pushed how long something could be left out. A cold, cement floor worked surprisingly well.


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