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Old 01-01-2013, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Eastern Kentucky
1,237 posts, read 2,640,207 times
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I don't, as I like my freezer, but I have seen it done.
Spring house, Well house, storing perishables in well or pond, and drying or canning the produce which must be stored for more than a week at a time. It can be done, but it does take some planning and work.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Sorry, but like the others I'll comment even though I'm not fridgeless.

First of all, I've lived in MX twice - Ags. and Mexico City. I know there's a lot of poverty there, but I have to disagree with you about the Mexicans not having fridges. Only the poorest of the poor probably don't (which would be a lot yes, but not as many as you may think). I lived in Guatemala for 2.5 months and although I was never invited into a home, I did hear a few times that the Guats don't have them because they're too poor (indigenous status, of course). This would be tied into the expense of maintaining one (electric bill) and purchasing one. The Guats are a lot poorer than the Mexs.

Also tied into all this, as you saw in the UK, is that in most other countries (dare I say all except Canada?), the local outdoor veggie/fruit market exists every day and in every neighborhood. Therefore, many other cultures go "shopping" nearly every day for their meals. In Vietnam, only the well to do would have large fridges like us. Their monthly income is $150, so many of the poorer I think don't have them.

And tied into that is the fact that in other countries, people actually cook. And not just a few people, but the vast majority of the people. Packaged products have been exported to cooking countries - not the other way around.

As for why the U.S. population uses the largest ass fridges on the planet? Just like everything else, Americans believe they need the biggest, the best and the most expensive. Personally, as a person who now cooks, even at times I think it's overkill. When I lived in Guatemala and heard how the locals didn't own one, and then I opened my fridge and saw very few items in there (I was rooming with 2 other foreigners), I started thinking the same thing as you. But, like in MX, one can't bake in many countries, so why have butter, for example. Also, milk isn't consumed nearly as much in other countries as here.
Hey there! Nice to hear from you. I know you've travelled off the beaten path like me, so I appreciate your input. I've never been to Guatemala, but I lived in Mexico City for nearly two years (as well as a rural area outside of the city) and the folks I knew and/or lived with either didn't have one, or they had MUCH smaller models than Americans. Mind you, my second family in Mexico are poor, working-class people---and it's only the younger, more upwardly mobile members of the family that are starting to get fridges. As you know, there are way more poor people in Mexico than well-off people---so it's really not uncommon to be fridge-less there. Heck, some of my neighbors in the village are still washing clothes in the river, washing dishes in a basin outside (and have outhouses). But yes---you're right, people in Mex do have fridges, but it's not a given. Personally, I've seen more families without one (or a very small one) versus those that do---but that has to do with where I've spent most of my time whilst there. I was WAAAY less interested in seeing how the monied people live there than I was with how the poor manage to get by.

And yes, much less dairy consumption in other places. The grocery stores in Mexico carry vacuum packed milk cartons that do not require refrigeration. Even the grocery stores have fewer fridges! LOL!
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Wooster, Ohio
875 posts, read 651,855 times
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Very small refrigerators in the U.S. just do not make economic sense. I replaced a 20 year old 18 cubic foot refrigerator with 14.8 cubic foot refrigerator. It is adequate in size for a single person, but no more. I am limited to a 67" tall refrigerator, but the new one is only 61". A taller refrigerator is more convenient.

Looking at Lowe's website, they have a 4.5 cubic foot refrigerator reduced from $349 (guessing 10%, so $314). It is rated at $28 a year.

Lowe's also has an 18.1 cubic foot refrigerator on sale for $521, and rated at $41 a year. Both of these refrigerators are Energy Star rated, as is the 14.8 cubic foot model I bought ($38).

These are basic refrigerators; you can spend a lot more. Capacity alone is cheap. Remember that volume increases at a much faster rate than surface area. This limits the savings in buying small appliances (or anything else based on size).
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:19 PM
 
10,630 posts, read 22,744,640 times
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We've typically had what is sometimes called an "apartment refrigerator", which I think just means that it fits into a smaller kitchen. We've also had a few more typical/medium-sized refrigerators. I think the huge refrigerators are overkill for most people, but I also don't see any point for people in this country to have only mini-fridges, unless they live in an extremely tiny space. A single person who doesn't do a lot of cooking could probably do just fine with one, however.

I like to shop frequently for my meals (well, more so in the summer when there is more fresh seasonal produce -- the winter stuff in my climate lasts longer, so there's not as much incentive to shop as often), but we have small family. It takes more time and is less effective to cook in small batches. From a frugal (and convenience!) standpoint it makes more sense for me to cook up basics in larger portions -- big pots full of stock, for example, or a larger batch of beans -- and then refrigerate (or freeze) the extra for additional meals later in the week. We certainly don't need a huge refrigerator for that, but we do need more space than a mini-fridge can realistically provide. Well, maybe if it was a big enough mini-fridge.

I could live without a refrigerator, but it would be a lot of work for not much payoff. I also think it would be more expensive and would lead to a greater waste of food, as I know that even if we tried to cook in small quantities I'd still end up throwing more stuff out if I couldn't refrigerate the leftovers. Although perhaps I am just more paranoid than necessary about food safety.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:25 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,527 posts, read 29,228,109 times
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If I were living alone I could get by very well with a very small fridge or none at all. I do not drink milk and do not eat left overs. Unfortunately, my husband does both. The only thing I would miss would be ice cubes.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Olympia, WA
200 posts, read 375,577 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Interesting post. One question, though: you say people can't bake in some countries. How do you mean that? I lived in Peru for a time and baking was quite common even for the poor--not in an electric range, though. Baking in a dutch oven is quite effective and is done quite often in the absence of a "US-style range" with a big oven. Works really well. Maybe you mean baking the way we here in the US are accustomed to doing it (in a range's oven)?
Yes, I meant with the stove attached to the oven. In Mexico, for example, every house has an American stove/oven, but extremely few actually use the oven portion. Many are afraid it'll bring roaches. But in general, the cooking style is on top, not in the the machine. In Asia, they use hotpots or portable burner stoves which you hook up to gas. So baking isn't an option at all.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Olympia, WA
200 posts, read 375,577 times
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Default ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TotallyTam View Post
but I lived in Mexico City for nearly two years (as well as a rural area outside of the city) and the folks I knew and/or lived with either didn't have one, or they had MUCH smaller models than Americans. Heck, some of my neighbors in the village are still washing clothes in the river, washing dishes in a basin outside (and have outhouses). I was WAAAY less interested in seeing how the monied people live there than I was with how the poor manage to get by.

And yes, much less dairy consumption in other places. The grocery stores in Mexico carry vacuum packed milk cartons that do not require refrigeration. Even the grocery stores have fewer fridges! LOL!
Ha! I also live in DF for 2 years! I thought I was the only one who survived! Yes, the stoves in MX are on a smaller version - that's normal for the world. As I said... we must have the biggest, the best and the most expensive. In Turkey, they have these really cook stoves which are inserted into their marble countertops and not really attached to the stove tops. They also use convection ovens. I stand corrected if I'm wrong about the fridge situation in MX. I never entered a rich person's house in DF, but did have some students who were "well to do". Large fridges like here.

Your river washing reminds me of the first time I went to Europe - '98 by bike. First country was Portugal which is the poorest country in western Europe. As I rode along the back roads and through towns, I remember seeing the women washing the clothes in the river. Never expected that in Europe!

As for the boxed milk I think you're referring to, that's a European thing. You see that in every country over there. I've started to see it here in the states as well. In Vietnam, you can get the gallon of fresh milk like here, but it's actually cheaper to buy these little hand packs they have.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:39 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 14,747,741 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TotallyTam View Post
I've had this on my mind for a few years now (since living in rural Mexico). Many people (the economic underclass---which is the majority there) don't have refrigerators because 1) they buy, cook and eat fresh food each day, 2) most cannot afford the extra cost for the electricity, and 3) they simply are not accustomed to using one. Now....I realize we are all accustomed to using a refrigerator and probably cannot imagine life without one. And, I totally get the food-borne illness defense. But I have to think that most people here in the US could use much smaller refrigerators. I have also noticed in my travels that many homes in the UK have much smaller fridges than we do. I have often wondered why so many Americans have gigantic refrigerators, and yet it seems fewer people actually cook at home anymore.

Does anyone here on this forum use a mini-fridge, or none at all? If so, share your tips! Thanks.

Here's a little food for thought to get the ideas flowing...

Living without a Fridge and Beyond
Probably because...

1) Americans probably eat more processed food / convenience meals, which generally has to be refrigerated;
2) Electricity is generally much cheaper, relative to income, in the U.S. than almost anywhere else. For example, here in Minnesota we pay $0.08 / kWh. Even cheaper than Mexico in absolute terms;
3) Consumer products are far cheaper relative to income in the U.S. than anywhere else. What might be a luxury elsewhere (cruise control, ice dispenser, comfortable toilet seat) are standard in products here, which means that things with out these "luxuries" are looked down on as sub-standard and only featured in the most stripped-down version of products.
4) Americans like their cold milk for drinking, use in cereal, coffee, etc. Gallon jugs are the standard, and many families buy two or more jugs at a time. Of course, these must be refrigerated and can take up quite a bit of space.

We once had a "dorm-sized" refrigerator for 5 people. It was hard but doable. However, it's far nicer to have a "regular American" sized refrigerator.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:08 AM
 
1,266 posts, read 1,443,204 times
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I heard some time ago (cannot remember the source) that marketing of larger, electric refrigerators in the US was done in partnership with electric companies in order to....you guessed it, increase their profits. No surprise there. I remember my grandparents saying that the old ice boxes worked just fine.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:16 PM
 
18 posts, read 23,555 times
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I have a small refrigerator. I don't know how many cu ft it is, but it is 50 inches tall and 18 inches wide and has a freezer on top. I am single, and it meets my needs 99 percent of the time. I do tend to leave cooked meat out on the counter until it is eaten. Especially in winter, my house is the same temperature inside as the frig, so no big deal. My old refrigerator got hauled away and I got this newer smaller one, but there was no significant difference in the electric bill, even though this was an energy saver appliance and the other one wasn't.
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