Christmas in July?

Every Christmas, Otto makes his family’s traditional Christmas cake, which is actually a recipe that yields TWO bundt cakes. If we have company or are up north visiting, both cakes are consumed. If we’re down here with just us four, one cake gets eaten and the other one gets wrapped and put into the freezer in the garage.

I liked the Christmas cake well enough when I was still eating wheat, but I did not… how shall we say… hold it in the same reverent esteem as Otto and his siblings do. And this is sacrilege, you understand, not to feel a deep devotion to the sacred Christmas cake. (It’s hard to explain to someone how nostalgia might augment a taste in a way that cannot be recreated for those who lack similar experience.) No matter—Monkey was only too willing to jump on the Christmas Cake Is the BEST! EVER! bandwagon with Otto, plus Chickadee isn’t exactly going to turn down an offer of cake, especially for breakfast.

This is all preface to saying that last week, I went to get something out of the garage freezer, and I saw the second Christmas cake in there, and decided it was time for second Christmas. I pulled the cake and set it on the kitchen counter.

“Is that… CHRISTMAS CAKE??” asked Monkey, licking his lips.

“Yep,” I said. “Merry Christmas!” My family proceeded to eat cake every morning until it was gone, and I felt like a hero without expending any effort, so I’m calling it a win all around. Plus I was patting myself on the back about how great it is to have that extra freezer.

That hubris, you understand, is where it all went wrong.

For those of you following along at home (that’s, uh, everyone? unless you’re reading this from inside my house OHMYGOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE??), it was about eighteen months ago when we decided it was probably time to replace the freezer. I know this is going to come as a huge shock, but: we haven’t replaced it yet. Said freezer is coming up on 16 years old and there have been multiple indications that its lifespan is coming to an end, AND YET, yeah, I have done nothing. Because… reasons. Or indecision. Something. Back when I wrote about it before, I was set on getting a chest freezer. But several of you said OH NOES NOT A CHEST FREEZER and I began to rethink it. And then I thought about something else. And then I stopped thinking about it altogether. Lalalalalaaaaaaa.

The freezer continues to limp along, and I continue doing what I do best, which is shoving things in there with no rhyme or reason and then being flummoxed when 1) I can’t find anything and/or 2) I discover ancient food frozen into the shelves. And then, of course, there’s also the occasional disaster.

Two days after I pulled out the Christmas cake, I went out to the garage to grab something from the freezer. I turned back to reenter the house, hit the door with my heel, and went on my way. Later I left to go somewhere for a while, and yes, I went out through the garage (seeing nothing amiss), and it wasn’t until I returned hours later and there was water all over the floor that I realized I somehow hadn’t closed the door all the way.


Everything in the front of the freezer was soft and frosty and everything further back was now buried in ice drifts and I was SO MAD at myself for not checking the door. AGAIN. I kicked the door shut and tried to forget about it.

The good news is that we’d been discussing a trip to Costco because supplies had been a bit low, anyway, so it’s not like I had a full freezer when this happened. The bad news is that, obviously, we needed to do the whole routine of cleaning out the freezer in the kitchen and then filling coolers with ice and going through the ENTIRE outside freezer to do the whole “chuck or salvage?” routine, and I hate doing that. We put it off until late last night when Otto pointed out that today is garbage day and we really should get it taken care of. Throwing away food makes me ragey. Going through the freezer is Not Fun. Plus EVERY TIME we do this we have the “We should really buy a new freezer” conversation which is just a great way for me to feel like my ability to be an adult in the world is decreasing with every passing year.

Probably we should buy a new freezer. I mean, we definitely should. We totally will. Soon. Maybe at Costco! I mean, there’s nothing like chiseling freezer-burned Brussels sprouts and last year’s turkey carcass out of your dying freezer to make you feel like shopping, amirite??

My decimated garden means that the first order of business was to rescue the tomato sauce as if each Ziploc was one of my children, and fortunately those were far enough back that I think it’s all okay (phew). But the other day I noted that the only thing I still have a ton of outside is basil, and maybe I should make some more pesto. And then as we emptied the freezer we found container after container of pesto. From 2012. So. Apparently I like MAKING pesto, but possibly we don’t like EATING pesto as much as I thought…? Hard to know.

There were a couple of vodka bottles that were nearly empty. Part of cleaning out the freezer is using stuff up and making more room, right? Right! Besides, that made the whole ordeal a little more palatable. You should’ve seen me when I discovered we still had a (not ruined!) package of ribs way down in the bottom bin. It really was just like Christmas.

Today the garage freezer is empty, clean, dried, and currently pushed back into place and coming down to temperature. The kitchen freezer is full, and two coolers next to it are loaded with (mostly) ice and (some) additional food. I am definitely going to start shopping for a new freezer today.



  1. Otto

    I have an idea … why don’t we combine the freezer and the drive to Costco into one efficient device. Like, say … this 1966 Ford Ice Cream truck.

    I’m a helper.


  2. Kendra lamont

    Otto does have a great idea that freezer only has 99 000 miles on it. Should last at leat another 100 000 miles!

  3. StephLove

    I am always finding surprises in my chest freezer, like the blackberries from last summer I just used to make a cobbler.

  4. Brigitte

    I’m too lazy to label anything, so often have to throw away ancient, freezer-burned, unidentifiable items. Though, being deep enough in the woods, I sometimes chuck it outside for the critters, figuring they won’t be too fussy about it. Then it’s not a COMPLETE waste.

  5. Sheila

    Sadly our spare refrigerator/freezer died while we were on vacation (after ignoring a few signs of it’s impending demise of course). So that meant we weren’t able to rescue most of the contents. Boo! The good news is that my mom was house-sitting at the time so at least we didn’t have to face the stench of rotten food when we got back. Silver linings, I tell ya! We are also in the market for a replacement. We discussed getting a chest freezer but I really do use the extra frig space as well as the freezer room so decided to stick with the frig/freezer option. Of course we haven’t bought it yet so I spend a lot of time lamenting the lack of space in my kitchen freezer and wondering where to find pretty much everything I’m looking for in there. Do I still have that? Was it in the old freezer or was it in here? Who knows… give up… buy fresh stuff at the store. And so on…

    All that to say – I feel your pain! And good luck shopping for a replacement.

  6. Cheryl

    Oh noes!!! Our chest freezer, out in our garage, just hit 30 years old!! It has lived in 5 garages and one basement. Other than the little orange light on the lid not working the last 15 years or so, that freezer is still freezing our Costco bulk buys just fine!

    But now I feel the need to check out freezer prices and how fast they can be delivered. Just feel like that would be good info to have handy…..

  7. Annie

    If you eat salmon, put pesto on it while it’s still hot. Delicious.

  8. Karen

    I’m totally all for the truck. Just think of all the time you save when you load it up at Costco and just park it on the side of the house! And if you’re looking for a little extra money now and again? (and who isn’t)… you can take a spin around the block and sell ice cream! Or maybe Pesto.. in your case. *ahem.

  9. Jean

    Ah, Mir! You are describing my post Memorial Day freezer episode almost to a T! Except when our freezer remained open, the fan froze and seized rendering the freezer quasi-functional. I ran around like a madwoman finding freezer space amongst neighbors. Worst part was that the top of the freezer was warmest and that was where an errant popsicle or two had thawed and dripped down onto everything below. Nightmare doesn’t begin to describe the clean up required!

    We managed to salvage most of the expensive stuff and I now have a highly organized freezer, as well as a hole in my bank account the size of half of what a new freezer would have cost. Sigh. Prior to this recent episode, the inside of my freezer was exactly as you described in your post. Fear not, there are others in the world who function as you do.

    Also, before you reload your freezer, be sure your fan is running and the fan motor wasn’t burned out, just sayin’.

  10. Katherine

    I know that chest freezers are the most efficient, but the convenience of an upright is so much nicer for me. I compromised and got an upright that isn’t frost free. So, yes, I have to defrost (about once a year), but it means that I see everything in their once a year. I got mine from a Sears scratch and dent (dent is in rear or back and besides it lives in my garage, why do I care?).

  11. Lucinda

    We have 4 chest freezers in our garage (business and personal) and I love them. Yes, you have to bend over and dig around sometimes but we have lots of bins so it is easy to separate sufff (better than an upright imo) and they cost so much less and are much more efficient!!!! Don’t let the naysayers get you down. ;)

  12. liz

    Pesto does not last in my house. At. All.

    My son eats it on EVERYTHING. Except, possibly, ice cream and brownies.

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