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So the anthropologists can help themselves

August 30th, 2004 · 1 Comment


Via email dialogue, Pops sent me a link to this post How to blog like an anthropologist by anthropologist and economist Grant McCracken.

Here today and truly gone tomorrow. It is the fine details of lived experience that are most precious to our understanding of a cultural moment, and it is these details that are now systematically lost as we move briskly away from the present.

In a subsequent post, McCracken discussed how to document the contents of one’s refrigerator:

For want of better blogging, many of the most telling details of contemporary life disappear without a trace and historians will someday be obliged to reconstruct the details by watching The King of Queens.


We could begin anywhere, but let’s begin working by the light of a 5 watt bulb. I mean, of course, the fridge. We want a thorough documentation, both photographic and written. We begin with our fridge as it exists right now (no tidying up, or cleaning out, for posterity). We photograph both the outside (all those fridge magnets, notes to self, a post card from friends in Mozambique). Now the inside: wide shots and close ups.

Scheherazade often lists slices of her life, including this post Things I Keep In My Car Just In Case. Now I’m wondering what kind of car she has…and feeling pretty unprepared in comparison, although we do have blankets, a first aid kit, a plastic box of emergency food, hand sanitizers, maps and a portable children’s potty…

The other day Joey deVilla dissected a picture of his desk, labelling the lobster finger puppet and Diet Coke.

So after reading all this inspiration, I figured that perhaps I too should document my refrigerator…for the benefit of the anthropologists and anyone else who might want to know the contents of my Kenmore…I will spare the pictures of each item though…

At one moment in time during the past week, our refrigerator contained the following:

3 limes
1 nectarine
3 peaches
2 plums
2 pluots (my favorites!)
1 mango

2 Cokes from the OSAF picnic in Palo Alto (caffeine for the road, but never consumed!)
Country Crock tub (no lactose allowed)
2 pounds margarine (ditto!)
parmesan cheese

remains of one head of lettuce
bag of carrots (baby, washed and peeled)
2 onions
1 red pepper (99 cents!)

8 cheese sticks (for lunch-on-the-go with the kids)
grated cheese (2 kinds)
tortillas (2 kinds)
sliced turkey lunchmeat

lemonade (2 kinds)
apple juice
1 half-gallon non-fat milk
1 half-gallon whole milk (the milkman cometh!)
yellowtail merlot (Ted’s stash!)
rice milk (for something we cooked for Ted, I can’t remember..)
tomato juice (from spunky chili)
lemon juice (great for cookies!)
ketchup (a food group in itself…)

Ponzu (marinade)
pepperocini (for Shimon’s Chicken Salad recipe)
pink pickled ginger
pickles, sliced
pickle relish (hot dogs!)
two kinds of mustard

jam (cherry, marmalade, strawberry, apricot)
peanut butter
5 apple juice boxes
2 Caprisuns (leftovers from long ago!)
2 cans Hansen’s root beer
1 Red Bull (again, for the road!)

rice flour
pitted prunes
wheat bread

8 eggs
baking soda odor box

2 mayonnaise jars
sweet chili sauce
pasta sauce
thousand island
sesame miso dressing
bbq sauce
black bean sauce (2 kinds)
soy sauce
dark soy sauce
fish sauce
Thai marinade
southwestern chipotle sauce
lemon rosemary marinade (low-carb!)
balsamic vinaigrette
Caesar vinaigrette
mustard (3 kinds)

chili preserved bean curd
chili garlic sauce (2 kinds)
chile relish (Patak’s!)
chili bean sauce (2 kinds)
hoisin sauce

Note: I went to the grocery store the next day so this is our refrigerator at a relatively low-content state…

Also note that unlike the Greco-Roman wrestler, an American who brought home bronze (I’ve forgotten his name!), we do not have a toe in a jar of formaldehyde preserved in our refrigerator….

Tags: food

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Grant // Aug 30, 2004 at 6:32 pm

    Julie, splendid blogging and anthropology, now we need to what you cook, for whom, why, on what occasions, how the choice set in the fridge has changed, what prompted the set to change. The fridge close up and then ever farther away. Thanks, I am putting your blog on my “must read” list. Thanks, Grant