The picture above is obviously not showing the inside of a refrigerator in an actual person's home. That's simply not the way anyone stores food. The fresh produce would wilt, the fruits that are cut open and exposed would oxidize, and an avalanche would occur when anything near the water bottles got moved.
I bet the fridge of the photographer who took it looks a bit different. But if you could see inside that photographer's refrigerator, do you think you'd be able tell what she does for a living, where she lives, and hold old she is?
That's the challenge posed by a popular sub-Reddit called Fridge Detective. It's easy to play the game. Post a picture of what's in your refrigerator. Other people on Reddit then try to guess things about your life by looking at what's on the shelves. It's like Sherlock Holmes meets someone who has too much time on his hands.
Sometimes, people can deduce accurate information based on one ingredient in a refrigerator, such as the person who guessed that Reddit user tinysharkreefs is Chinese based on the quality of oyster sauce in the user's photo. Other times, the guessing evolves into a debate. Oranges in thermopostrepublic's refrigerator caused a friendly debate about whether oranges are supposed to go in the fridge. But when someone noticed the absence of meat in that same refrigerator and called it "a good thing," that sparked a less friendly debate about eating meat.
I decided to give the game a try and see what people could deduce about me from the photo above, which is the inside of my refrigerator. Understandably, the suburban mom contents didn't spark much interest, but a few people took some guesses — some accurate, some less so.
Someone guessed I was from the Northeast, which was simple to do based on the Wholesome Pantry ingredients that come from Shoprite, a chain that's only located in a few northeastern states. The same person also guessed I'm white because I have "no ingredients that would be used to make non-white people food>."
Another person guessed I was clean and organized. I am neither clean nor organized, and I think my refrigerator reflects that.
But all this guesswork did turn out to yield something useful; it reminded me that National Clean Out Your Fridge Day is coming up. This holiday is dedicated to cleaning out the ingredients in your refrigerator and cleaning the shelves and drawers. (I think the word holiday is used loosely here. Is it really a holiday if it's all about cleaning?)
The day always falls on Nov. 15, which makes a lot of sense. It's a week or more before Thanksgiving, a holiday when having a clean fridge with plenty of freed-up room is essential. If you're hosting the feast, you'll need room for all of the ingredients. If you're a guest at someone else's feast, you'll need room for all of the leftovers they'll send home with you — if you're lucky.
Playing Fridge Detective on Reddit may be a bit of a time suck, and when you're done, you may realize you've wasted time with nothing to show for it except the knowledge that your refrigerator needs a little attention. Participating in National Clean Out Your Fridge Day, however, won't be a waste of time, especially when you have the room to store all the leftovers necessary to make one of Thanksgiving's best leftover delights, the Thanksgiving Sandwich.