Fear Factor: Kitchen Edition

Since October is Halloween month, I’m doing a series of Fear Factor posts.  Here’s Number 1:

* * *

This week I embarked on a perilous mission. One that forced me to confront the darkest places in my soul. An epic crusade requiring nerves and stomach of steel.

Yes, I cleaned out the vegetable drawer in the fridge.


I don’t know why I have such a mental block against vegetables. I eat a healthy diet most of the time. Fruit never goes bad in my house. But veggies? Um… yeah. If it’s not irresistibly delicious like fresh peas and beans or durable like carrots and beets and cabbage, it’s bad news.

I lifted out a bag of lettuce that had turned into soup without ever nearing a stockpot. Half a cucumber squished softly inside its plastic wrapper, its skin dotted with fuzzy black and white spots. A green pepper had only a small ring of black around the stem but when I cut it open it leaked foul-smelling liquid, like a giant green pustule.

Who knew that neglected green peppers turn into witch zits? Dang, if I’d only known, I could’ve kept it until Halloween and used it for decoration.

And speaking of the scariest night of the year, I could’ve offered a pretty good fear factor if I hadn’t cleaned out my bin of plastic storage containers. Seriously, that thing would scare anybody. Any time I need a container, it’s a quest worthy of Indiana Jones.

When I realize I need something from The Bin Of Doom, my heart sinks and a sense of impending disaster washes over me. I don’t even want to open the cupboard door because I know that therein lurks mortal peril. One time I opened it without sufficient preparation, and I spent the next week with a bruise on the bridge of my nose because one of the larger containers hurled itself at my face in a fit of unprovoked aggression. Plastic containers may look benign, but never trust those suckers.

So I cautiously open the cupboard door, muttering arcane incantations to protect myself: “Stay put, you bastards. I’m just going to eeeease out this one little tiny container- Aagh! Ow! Shit!

That’s another thing about plastic containers: They ferociously protect their young.

Anyway, I finally faced the inevitable. Donned my body armour and face shield and hauled the whole bin out. The plastics mounted a daunting counterattack, but I escaped with only a few dents in my skull and equanimity. Then I sorted and reorganized the whole thing and put it back in the cupboard with my sense of accomplishment tempered by fatalism.

For now, it’s safe to open that door. But I know my enemy all too well (and the enemy is me). After a few iterations of “Oh, I don’t feel like dragging the whole bin out just to replace this one thing; I’ll just balance it on top”, I know the situation will recur. If it happens in time for Halloween, I’ll invite the little ghosties and ghoulies in and scare the crap out of them.

Or I could introduce them to the Tower of Terror: the precarious heap of bottles and cans that threatens to inundate anyone foolish enough to reach into the corner of the pantry. That’d do the trick.

What’s the scariest place in your house?

54 thoughts on “Fear Factor: Kitchen Edition

  1. Pingback: A Blast From The Past | Diane Henders

  2. Diane you make me laugh and laugh. Witch zits you say? Could be a big seller.
    I admit to being a bit of a clean freak, or at least a tidy freak. when I say to Dave we are going to need to get rid of tuff he looks at me and says what in the world could we have left to get rid of? However on occasion the vegetable bin has clearly taken some lessons from yours. Nothing like a forgotten cucumber after a three week holiday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My freezer was the scary place in my flat, I had 2 draws I couldn’t open as they were frozen shut. I did defrost the freezer a lil while ago. So its no longer scary. It took 2 days to fully defrost. And I hadn’t realised that the draw was full of what appeared to be ice pops and other frozen treats, but not much or a treat when you have to clean out the contents.
    I have the fridge clean, but thats got to wait until my chest heals.

    speaking of my chest, the nurse is really happy with it, the hole is healing nicely apparently, I must admit I am not a fan of looking at it while she cleans and redresses it.

    Hugs to all, gotta get ready for the next appointment chest really itchy, still im off work til Monday night now

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roadkill Pumpkin Pie! That’s hilarious! I always salvage our jack-o-lanterns and make them into pies, and I’m slightly embarrassed to confess that I’ve considered salvaging others’ post-Halloween discards, too… but I haven’t actually done it. I have enough trouble getting rid of all my crabapple jelly and my compulsive cold-weather baking – I’d never be able to get rid of dozens of pumpkin pies, too! (Unfortunately our food banks and soup kitchens won’t take homemade baked goods.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. In honor of Halloween I have one more story about my overly thrifty parents. Every November 1st morning my parents went out for a walk armed with a large trash bag apiece. They would pick up all the smashed jackolanterns off the streets near home and go home and trim off the smokey or rotted bits and get rid of the gravel and then cook up the rest to make

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ‘Who knew that neglected green peppers turn into witch zits?’ – I think this has to be the Halloween related question of the year so far, Diane… and I for one certainly didn’t; although I had some carrots that turned themselves into a soup once. Blech!
    Most scariest place? Hmmm… either the cupboard under the kitchen sink or the Room Beneath the Stairs (Mwahaha haha!). There’s all sorts beneath the sink which probably acts the same way your Bin of Doom does. And as for the Room Beneath the Stairs (Mwahaha haha!), well, that’s where everything else goes… you know… everything else…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The shower drain. I cannot say more for fear of losing my lunch.

    Very funny about the plastic storage cupboard. And very familiar, unfortunately. “protect their young” – bwahahaha! it’s so true!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “a bag of lettuce that had turned into soup”
    “its skin dotted with fuzzy black and white spots”
    “it leaked foul-smelling liquid, like a giant green pustule.”
    Remind me to stop reading your posts before I eat lunch…

    Look at it this way, if you want to keep kids from trick-or-treating at your house, you could just plop the contents of your vegetable bin into their candy-catching pumpkins. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My house? Under the sink and in the pantry. Why? Because therein lurk the trash bins. Only the two of us live there, and we even dine out most of the time, so one would think that taking out the trash would be a once-a-week task, right?


    More like twice a day. Seriously. I can take out the big bags from the kitchen and the smaller bags scattered through the house–bath, utility, garage, etc.–before leaving for work. And even with my wife out of town, every wretched bin in the house is running over when I get home in the evening!

    Vacation? We leave the bins outside on the patio. It’s the only safe place for them to be while we’re away for any length of time. Otherwise, the trash from the kitchen attacks us at the door from the garage when we return. And the garage is at the other end of the house!

    Do not laugh. I am not making this up. If you think it’s funny, I’ll leave your address taped to my trash bins the next time we go on vacation. You’ll be sorry.


    And thix perthent! Phabulariouth, thithter! You tho rock!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My home has plenty of death traps lurking. Once a stack of stoneware serving bowls leaped out of the cupboard and chipped my tooth. (Gravity! was Mom’s only swear word). But you’ve never seen anything quite as scary as a kitchen owned by a couple who lived through the Great Depression that believe it to be wrong on every level to throw anything away that still has a glimmer of usefulness remaining in it, then add a large dose of Alzheimer’s disease. The entire refrigerator/freezer was so tightly packed with science projects that you couldn’t add one tortilla. The kitchen drawers burgeoned with recycled plastic bags that hadn’t quite lost every trace of grease or sugar- oh yeah, she didn’t just save zippered freezer bags, she saved every scrap of plastic wrap and bag that she encountered as if it were a rarity. She’d stock up on canned goods when they were on sale, but forget to rotate the stock, so cans in the back bulged and leaked unnoticed. She forgot the basics of home canning and made huge batches of soup, “canned” the leftovers into mayonnaise jars and kept them on the counter to brew up into something lethal. She found it impossible to just toss out the absorbent pads she found under the meat from the supermarket. Surely there was a useful second life for those! They got rinsed out and dried and stored in the drawer containing the measuring cups and spoons. Bleack! It took my brother and I at least 100 man hours to restore that kitchen to clean and sanitary. We lined up goods along the front edges of her pantry shelves so it had the appearance of being filled up. We did catch her wrath when she discovered the loss of all her canning jars. I’m sure she’s still looking down on us protesting the reasonableness of her kitchen habits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that’s both sad and scary! My dad was also a child of the Depression but instead of hoarding, his reaction was ‘making do’. He’d wear clothes until they were so thin and full of holes he looked like a hobo. If we bought him something new to replace the old item, he’d tuck it away in a drawer ‘for when he needed it’. Same with the fridge contents: nothing was too old to be considered edible. Trim the mould off the cheese and boil up the questionable soup really well… mustn’t waste food!

      Fortunately he wasn’t stingy with anyone except himself and he never developed Alzheimer’s, so his quirks remained only quirks instead of life-threatening behaviours. I loved him dearly, but I often wished he’d be kinder to himself (and that he’d throw out the damn leftovers). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! You describe my parents exactly before AD. My mom made a pair of pants out of that horrid scratchy, heavily textured polyester double knit from polyester’s debut. They were tight from day one but got only tighter as time went on. They got a run, she patched it, got thin, she’d patch it. There were layers upon layers of patches. The matching top wore thin at the apex of each boob. Patched. Good enough for every day, but she took every day literally. She did dress up for date nights and church, but I am unsure of she dressed for grocery store visits or not. Both parents preferred their clothes skin tight for some reason. It was embarrassing to see them dress that way. Like your Dad, my parents were generous with church and were willing to spend on travel, and hugely generous to others in need, particularly refugees. They sponsored a young Vietnamese woman’s college education who came here before the US became involved in the war. She was born with only half of a jaw. She became a successful entrepreneur and was able to help family get settled into decent homes and jobs as they fled the war.
        My parents went on to help two more families get established.

        But yes, I wish their generosity included better clothes.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your parents sound like wonderful people, patched clothes and all!

          I had to laugh at your description of that polyester double-knit! I remember my mom taking the ‘Stretch-And-Sew” class when double-knit first became a ‘thing’. She was a wonderful seamstress, but I swear that stuff was the reason why I refused to buy, sew, or wear anything but natural fibres for decades. Now that the synthetics are so much nicer I’ve softened my stance, but I still shudder at the thought of that double-knit!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Absolutely! I’m a natural fiber wearer myself but now prefer my jeans to have at least 3% spandex. But the mere thought of sewing or wearing nylon or polyester makes my skin crawl.

            Liked by 2 people

              • Holy Jeans! What in the world have you taken up now that requires flame-retardant clothes? Arc welding? Actually I did some of that in a sculpture class once upon an age ago. Worst looking cuts and welds known to mankind, but my particular heap of steel held together long enough for the class critique, and gave me the opportunity to become acquainted with the terrific guy who signed out equipment and made sure you knew what you were doing so you didn’t get hurt. Those molten steel bits that fly every which way burnt through leather boots, letter aprons, and gloves-everything!


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