When I first had my own apartment, once of the odd little things I enjoyed doing on visits to my mum and dad’s place was to look in the fridge (and / or the pantry) and marvel at all the interesting things and the sheer volume of Stuff. And my mum has always had one of those pantries where there are multiples of things, and everything is neatly arranged and labelled (in a way that makes all the contents look tasty, appealing and full of possibilities to cook with, rather than in a scary over-organised way. Mostly).
Living alone meant that I only needed the variety of something that I wanted to eat – one type of breakfast cereal, for instance; if I wanted a change, I got something different the next time I went to the supermarket. And, having not had my own place that long meant less time to accumulate strange ingredients bought for particular recipes*. And the appealing-ness of a pantry requires a kitchen large enough to have a pantry, rather than just several cupboards of awkwardly arranged things.
I was reflecting on this the last time I visited my folks (even though there are two of them in their house, and two of us in mine, I am still amazed at the contents of their pantry**). And was very surprised when my mum said that she had the same thoughts when she looked in my fridge***. After I got over my surprise that that was even possible in a fridge as small as my one****, I realised that a lot of it is attributable to the quiet novelty of the way other people do things. And perhaps the knowledge she’d raised somebody who’d grown up to have a fridge of interesting bits and pieces of their own.
* This was especially so given that my work habits at the time resulted in dinner largely consisting of said breakfast cereal. Or cheese on toast. While I still love cheese on toast (and occasionally, cereal for dinner), it’s good to be reminded that not everything in life was better when I was younger, after some of my recent nostalgia. Work, especially.
** I have finally learned that, to some extent, this is due to stocking up on promising food before half-starved time-poor daughter arrives (such is the perception, if rarely the reality... at least on the first part). Also partly to retirement prompting a desire to eat whatever the hell you want, within reasonable bounds. Although I blame the trifle-eating cat, who I suspect could be the justification for quite a lot of things...
*** Yes, we are a family of pootlers-in-cupboards...
**** I will never, ever understand how my mum managed with what I think of as a bar-fridge for many years.