What’s In Westchester Chef Bruce Beaty’s Refrigerator?
You can learn a lot about somebody by what they keep in the fridge.
Anything in there really old or of unknown origins? There’s what might be chicken in Ziploc bag. Baffle any chemical analysis. Reminds me of an old George Carlin routine: ‘Could be meat…could be cake.’
Item that would impress a foodie (Siberian caviar for example?) Fourme d’Ambert, a French cow’s-milk blue from the Auvergne Valley purchased from Murray’s Cheese in Manhattan.
Rate your fridge from 1 (an ungodly mess) to 10 (I may have OCD). About a 5. I wouldn’t be embarrassed for people to see it open, but prefer to not have them rummage through.
Any embarrassing fake foods, i.e., Cool Whip or Cheez Whiz, etc? Lay's French Onion Dip. Could not be a more processed food. Carbon dating of it must be crazy. And yes there’s Cheez Whiz, too; we eat it with nachos with the kids (11, 13, 16). They generally eat well, though, and appreciate good food. One of my kids returned from his friend Jimmy’s house and told me, ‘Dad, the food here is better. Jimmy has no pâté.’
Fussy about any staple being organic, fair trade, etc? Our eggs—they’re farm-fresh from the Common Ground Farm at the Beacon Farmers’ Market in Beacon, New York, where I live. Also, our organic produce comes from Beacon Natural Market.
Any random/unusual items in the door shelf? Kecap manis, an Indonesian sweet soy sauce mostly used in stir fries and in marinades for steak and fish. It’s less salty than the usual soy sauce and a little sweet—I use it in a Beaty family classic called Macho Nacho Eggs. It’s a Mexican-style scramble with farm fresh
eggs, jalapenos, scallions, broken up Tostitos, and Monterey Jack cheese. The dish is plated with avocado, salsa, and sour cream on top. There’s also Tiparos Thai Fish Sauce—a little dab will do you.
How’s the dairy situation? Everyone drinks whole milk in this house. When it comes to milk, this house is a totalitarian society and not a democracy. There is nothing more worthless than 2 percent milk. For the small amount of milk I use I’m not interested in counting bits of fat grams. I’m no lipophobe.
Is every area designated for certain things or is it more of a free for all? There are no lines of demarcation in this family regarding food and the fridge.
What is the Beaty family drinking? Water and Tropicana OJ. Very rarely will we have soda. Soda is killing this country with a crisis of diabetes. My wife is a pediatric nurse practitioner and she sees obese kids every day.
Any non-food items in there? There’s some baking soda that I believe has served its tour of duty. If you have to ask yourself if the baking soda should be replaced, then you know it’s time.
Let’s talk the really cold stuff, as in 32° F and below. We’re into fresh foods and shop about three times per week, so we’re not big on buying frozen food. There’s some coffee and ice cream—Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup and Cherry Garcia. The best ice cream, though, can be had at the Beacon Creamery.
What’s your favorite item hanging on the refrigerator? Besides the photographs of kids, there’s a magnet that reads, “DANGER MEN COOKING.” It’s a similar “warning” color to that of a yellow construction sign.
Keep anything atop the fridge? It’s usually messy but now it’s neat for some reason. There’s Dehydro 8 Red Wine Vinegar—not the best name for a food product—and Bonne Maman Muscat Grape Jelly.