Interiors: Exploring the dramas of a communal fridge

Kirstie Green 3 November 2013

Upon opening our little communal refrigerator on a morning, a stranger would be greeted by an overwhelming overabundance of milk. Whether it be standing up, lying flat, or languorously dripping from its loosened lid onto someone’s food – emitting disgruntled growls of, “I had to wash my bacon!” – milk is a regular (but not frequently replaced…) tenant.

To clumsily quote ‘The Jungle Book’, it is one of the “bare necessities of life”. However, is this amount of ‘the white stuff’ really necessary for a handful of students? One would hope that a group of Cambridge students were capable of constructing a logical rota for buying, and had the emotional capacity for sharing, milk… But no. A corridor bugbear, milk bossily annexes all of the possible space in the fridge, creates culinary carnage in an endless stream of suspicious spillages, and is at the epicenter of many heated arguments as to whom stole from whom, causing many a Lord of the Flies-esque debacle, and not just in a literary fashion.

If we look beyond these pesky plastic-topped bottles of blue, red and green, we see that they are a distraction, cunningly employed to fool the eye into believing that the fridge is amply full. Other than that one shelf – you know, that one – which is teeming with enviable and, not to mention, healthy foodstuff, the rest of us pitiful students are left with mouldy bread (igniting the vociferous debate as to whether or not bread should even be in the fridge in the first place!), empty packets of plastic ham, lonely cartons of orange juice, now hollow from our Freshers’ week attempts to avoid scurvy, and jars of homemade jams, marmalades and preserves, helpfully delivering bittersweet pangs of homesickness every time we open the door.

But, the most offensive of our crimes is the ‘Stinky Cheese Incident’, meaning that all of our remaining, albeit regrettable, food reeks on a scale fit to insult even the most hardy of stomachs, doubling up as the perfect gastronomic weapon to spark kitchen warfare: a long-ignored refrigerated camembert.