"Matt, have you smelled the garage this morning?" I called down the stairs. "Yeah," he yelled back, "it smells like something died. I think it's in the fridge."
Since we live with our in-laws, our refrigerator and pantry are in the garage, just off the kitchen. Matt and I had just unloaded a van-full of groceries into the garage last night and hadn't smelled anything then. "How can something die in our fridge?" I asked, "and how can it smell like that after only eight hours?" Matt only shrugged his shoulders, so I was left to brave the unknown fast-decaying dead entity alone.
Toby attempted to follow me into the garage and screamed in protest as I slammed the door on him. I sniffed the air. There was a faint dead-thing smell. I opened the fridge and sniffed--strong dead-thing smell. I furrowed my brow and scanned the fridge contents--jars and bottles of stuff, cheese, yogurt, meats, eggs...produce. I hadn't really cleaned out the produce cubby lately. Our fridge is missing one of the bottom crisper drawers and I've taken to shoving all my produce in the resulting cubby hole down there. In fact, last night, in my rush to shelve all the groceries and get to bed, I had shoved another bag of lettuce and a stalk of celery in with hardly a glance to the previous contents.
I leaned down and cautiously sniffed--WHOA! Dead thing in there! It was hard to work up the courage to remove the lettuce and celery, but when I did I quickly realized the source of the odor. You see, in my attempt to become a gluten-free gourmet chef, I had scanned some recipes about three weeks back and gone out and bought all the odd ingredients I would need to prepare these masterful dinners. Then I had prepared them, much to my family's delight, all but one...the one that had called for the fresh mushrooms.
I stared at the menacing black foamboard that had been the bottom of the mushroom package, tipped on it's side, no doubt, from the shove of a celery stalk last night. Foul brown goop ran out of a corner of the cellophane wrapping, over some carrots, a red pepper, and a cucumber, all of which lay slain in a pool of dead-mushroom blood.
Half a roll of paper-towels, half-a-dozen Lysol wipes, one box of baking soda, one cucumber, one red-pepper, and several innocent baby carrots all lost their lives in that bacteria-laden cesspool of mushroom slop. And you know, I have a can of mushrooms in my pantry. It's been there at least a year and hasn't harmed anybody. No more fresh portabellas. They sound fancy, but they don't smell all that good when they're alive, and believe me, you don't want to smell them after they've passed on. Their memory will continue to haunt me--every time I open the fridge I am greeted by the stench of the Ghost of Mushrooms Past. Canned only, please, I have enough bacteria-laden brown messes to clean up in this house already.