Why on earth would I bring this up? Well, in my kitchen, milk very rarely enters chunky stage - it's quickly put to use in cereal and baking applications. And I've never had milk enter a chunky stage due to cooling issues with the refrigerator...but now I can check that one off the list. After discovering less-than-chilled food and the aforementioned chunky milk, I investigated and realized that my supposedly "frost-free" freezer had managed to build up an impressive mass of not only frost but also solid chunks of ice that prevented any chilly breezes from flowing down into the refrigerator. Drats. And why hadn't I noticed this earlier? Honestly, I'd been pulling nothing but the Brita pitcher out of the fridge for a couple of days and just missed the slightly not cool fridge breezes sneaking out, trying to tell me what was going on. Oops.
First order of business? Ruthless mass burial. The tragic losses included:
- An extended family of cheeses, including the shredded bunch (cheddar, mozzarella, four-cheese Italian blend, and four-cheese Mexican blend), stinky-even-before-it-goes-smushy gorgonzola, smoky sharp cheddar, pamigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, and a smelly herbed cheddar thing that I bought on a whim and wasn't exactly a huge fan of anyway. But to the rest of the cheeses - I loved you dearly.
- The condiment clan - salad dressings, sauces, salsa, mayo, etc. May you find veggies and sandwiches in food heaven who need you.
- The staples - butter, eggs, juice, delicious hazelnut creamer for my coffee, all of those mission-critical things that you count on having in your fridge.
Let Operation Defrost begin. After consulting the Almighty Omniscient Google in the ways of speeding the process along (I'm not exactly what you might call patient, especially when I'm working with a pretty small cooler that's in charge of saving my precious freezer items), I settled on the boiling water method coupled with some strategic chiseling and scraping. Fortunately, there wasn't an obscene amount of buildup to deal with, and the whole process of sopping up the water and making sure everything was dry and getting all the nasty ice out really wasn't that ridiculous.
And then, after the defrosting adventures and unpacking the cooler and sticking everything back in the fridge and freezer and leaving the fridge shut for more than an hour and thinking that everything was settled and right with the world again (other than the fact that my fridge is lacking some of its regular suspects, including really important things like butter and excessive amounts of cheese), I went to do a temperature check. And the fridge wasn't feeling very chilly. And I may have shouted something not fit for publication here. And I may have grabbed my digital thermometer and tried to take my fridge's temperature before I realized that said digital thermometer's range is approximately 90 - 110 degrees Fahrenheit.* This is when I stopped myself and went to bed. And this morning I was greeted with perfectly chilled beverages (which is about the extent of my fridge's offerings now). Phew.
Could I have called maintenance and had them deal with the issue? Yes, yes, that's supposed to be one of the perks of apartment life. But I'm capable of defrosting my own refrigerator, and sometimes a girl just needs a victory (even if it is against an appliance).
So...that's what I did last night. Fought a battle with my refrigerator. Not the most exciting way to spend an evening. Fortunately, tonight promises to be much better. Dana and I are headed to Art & Soul (Oprah's former chef runs the place!) for a belated birthday dinner celebration, because honestly, one can never have too many birthday dinner celebrations. And I seriously doubt I'll need any space in the fridge for leftovers - I'm eating it all.
*It just occurred to me that I could have used my meat thermometer! I might take my fridge's temperature after all. Yes, I realize how I sound, and yes, you should probably be a little concerned.