Are there people out there that have no fridge? I mean on purpose. I realize that there are many more people on the earth who don’t have a fridge than people who do, but that seems like a far-away, non-North American thing. Wow, I sound like such a nut.

I was thinking today about what we would do if we had no fridge, whether as a result of a disaster that rendered electricity unavailable, or if we just decided that it was one luxury that we should do without, to help minimize our energy consumption. Do you know anyone that doesn’t have a fridge?

I think I could pull it off, but where does the cost-efficiency cross the line with using electricity to keep food fresh versus using some mode of transportation to get the perishable stuff more often if you don’t have refrigeration? I would sure need to have a garden, and a few chickens wouldn’t hurt, but there are many things I would still have to buy. I would buy things like grains, nuts, dry beans, dry spices, and dried fruits and vegetables, but I guess I would have to buy huge quantities, and then make sure I had a cool, dry place in the basement for them. Then I would have to make sure I had enough fresh stuff from the garden to feed us every day of the growing season, plus whatever I could put up in jars or dehydrate.

I would also feel OK about walking to the market, which is about a mile away, or biking, when I get a bike. I guess if I had a bike, I could tow one of those kid trailers, but fill it up with groceries instead. Except I wouldn’t have to fill it up, since I would only need to buy what I would use the same day.

I would also have to plan much better than I do. I would have to make meals that are the right size, with no leftovers. When I was in the Philippines, we would make dinner in the evening, and leave the leftovers on the table, covered with a cage so the rats couldn’t get to it. Then we never had to make breakfast. At first it bothered me, especially in such a warm, humid climate, but since nobody else seemed to care, I just followed suit. I think I have reverted to the paranoid American mentality, though.

Is this something that matters to people? Or is it just assumed that there will always be refrigeration? When we were looking for a house, it really only crossed my mind briefly that we could survive without a fridge, but not long enough for me to seriously consider not having one. In fact, I think I was more inclined to think of where I could put a deep-freeze or second fridge. Do I need either of those things? We have just decided to eat meat only once a week at the most, and it seems like meat is what people keep. I don’t really get pre-made, packaged foods, and that also takes up a big chunk of the average American fridge.

So do you dare me? It would take planning, and the cooperation of the other 4 people who live with me, but I think it’s possible. How much would I have to change?