The Post-Vacation Refrigerator Blues

Get a Happily Supplied Frig without the Hassle of Grocery Shopping

We just got back from three weeks in Argentina and Chile. Traveling in and about the Andes is no less amazing than you would expect. However, as we made the final leg of our journey from airport to home, the usual post-vacation gloom began to settle in.

To my mind, vacations have one fundamental flaw: They end. Fortunately, most of us don’t dwell on this too much. We might never leave home if we seriously considered the mountain of stuff that spoils the end of every vacation—mail to read, clothes to unpack and launder, newspapers to dispatch, emails to answer, projects to complete, and so on and so forth.

Eggs & beer could be good for dinner?

Eggs & beer could be good for dinner?

As annoying as these tasks might be, what I dread most at the end of every journey is the empty refrigerator. I know we’ll stumble hungrily into the kitchen with all our bags and there will be no leftovers to kick start a meal, no fresh vegetables to counter the road food we’ve endured on the way home, and no fresh fruit to bite into.

Of course there’s an easy remedy for an empty, uninspiring frig: Head to the grocery store! But that’s got to be the most depressing way for anyone to end a holiday—worse than sifting through the mail and paying bills in my opinion.

Happily, there is a strategy that provides a happy medium: Stock the frig from the pantry.

Opening my frig this morning I was amazed at how it had gone from forlornly empty to happily full in the space of a day:

  • Left over from yesterday’s breakfast was half a jar of luscious peach sauce (canned last summer) that I had brought up from the downstairs pantry to top pancakes.
  • My husband had thawed a bottle of fresh squeezed apple juice from the Farmer’s Market
  • Left over from lunch was a dish of rice, veggies and beans (I had frozen the last bit of brown rice and slow cooker beans that were remaining before we left; these I combined with some frozen mixed veggies and homemade salsa made last fall and frozen as well.)
  • Left over from dinner were salmon (from the freezer), a fresh batch of rice and pumpkin cornmeal pudding. I had combined these last night with sautéed petite whole frozen green beans for a complete—and completely delicious–meal.
  • In need of something to add pizzazz to the salmon I grabbed the jar of green onions packed in olive oil that I had prepared last summer and stashed in the downstairs frig.
  • Also pulled up from my downstairs frig were apples and pears, still hanging in there (even if just barely) from the Farmer’s Market. Added to these were some oranges and grapefruit from the boxes I had purchased from a fundraiser before leaving.
  • I also dredged up the last two heads of cabbage from the Farmer’s Market, as well as bags of carrots and celery root.
  • An extra dozen eggs had survived our vacation in fine order, as well as a hunk of unopened Mozzarella and some Parmesan I’d thrown in the freezer at the last minute.
  • Completing my frig ensemble was a Tupperware container of roasted pumpkin, from the store of squashes, potatoes and onions in the basement.

Surveying the happy clutter of dishes and Tupperware filling my frig, I felt a smile creep over my face. Maybe it’s only a nutcase foodie that is so easily gratified by a frig full of Tupperware. Nevertheless, I’m feeling a lot more confident that I can successfully wrap up all the post-vacation stuff that must be finished today, before work begins tomorrow.

And likely as not, I can put off going to the store for another week! Check out the next post for the meal plan strategy that will make this feat possible, and then read all the articles in this series:

Invaluable Kitchen Resource Gets No Respect

Remedy for the Post-Vacation Refrigerator Blues

Time Spent Stocking the Pantry Isn’t Wasted, It’s Invested!

How Many Great Meals Are Hiding In Your Pantry?

. . . or Do a Better Job Working the One You Have

Good News:  The Fun of a Pantry Journey Lasts More than an Afternoon

Pantries Save Time, Reduce Stress, Save Money, Produce Intriguing Meals and Maybe Even Lead to Enlightenment

How to Breathe Fresh Air Into Yours


4 Responses

  1. Wow, you read my mind about the worst part of a vacation… the end. When I came back from Malta I felt like my word was going to end 😦


  2. […] Previous posts have convinced you of the beauty of a pantry.  In the spirit of an ever-unfolding journey, here are some beginning “trail markers” to get you started: […]


  3. […] How to Shop without Going to the Grocery Store […]


  4. […] Dinner, Time Saving, What are Pantries Good For?, What Is a Pantry?, Why Keep a Pantry « The Post-Vacation Refrigerator Blues Portrait of Pantry Meals for a Week […]


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