Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On Refrigerators

If you read that title twice, you're not losing your mind.

It clearly states: On Refrigerators

What do refrigerators have to do with writing?

I was almost late to work today because I was picking out a refrigerator for the home of one of my characters. Really. Google was working overtime.

When I needed a refrigerator, I went to my local family-owned appliance store (Shaffers, in this case in 2002, I believe, they're closed now. The former owner is working for another family-owned appliance store) and picked a nice, middle of the line Maytag. A Performa. I also got the matching washer and dryer, oversized capacity. (Smartest move I ever made. Laundry piles to the ceiling do NOT intimidate me. Floods do NOT scare me.)

But... When Étienne needs a refrigerator... Well, it needs to work well, really well. It needs to look good, no, fabulous! It's for his American house, not his European one, so it will be bigger than those and that might freak him out. (Who would think we Americans make our refrigerators as big as we make everything else...)

As a man very adept in the kitchen, would he want one of those fridges with the clear door? As a wine collector, would he want some of his vintages on hand? Would he use a water dispenser? He has a very sensitive nose, and he might have the same problem I have with water/ice dispensers-- I can taste the "staleness" of the freezer in those dispensers... I also can't stand "old" ice. Only fresh ice for me.

Side by side? Freezer on the bottom? I wish the house was newer than it is because then I'd have him get one of those fridge's with TWO freezer drawers on the bottom.

Stainless steel? Blended with the cabinets with wood front? Black?

Bosch? Sub-Zero? GE? Electrolux? Maytag?

Is this character development? Or wasting time? Depends on the scene I guess... And since this house, and this refrigerator, enters several scenes in two novels, perhaps the selection is important. Off the top of my head:
  • Adelaide gets a bottle of Perrier out of the refrigerator in chapter one of book one.
  • Adelaide retrieves dessert from the fridge in the middle of the first book, while preparing dessert for her date.
  • Étienne gets ice/frozen peas out of the freezer for his fresh black eye in the second chapter of book two.
  • No doubt Jules (the chef) will be using this sucker at some point.
  • The initial return in book two to the New York office did list the contents of the refrigerator, which would be very basic and maybe even a dorm fridge. That fridge epitomizes the unhealthy attitude toward food and weight in the fashion industry.
  • The fridge may serve as a good compare/contrast between Étienne and his wife. Basilie has a New York apartment, where she picked the fridge and I bet it's no where near as fancy as the one in this house.
  • The fridge in the Pennsylvania house that I am researching right now becomes a source of cultural irony. If Étienne buys this big, fancy, expensive, and American-style refrigerator, and continues to shop in his French style, procuring fresh ingredients almost daily, then this big monster will usually be empty.
And I am no closer to selecting a fridge...

I have spent an additional hour or so researching this refrigerator and I have decided upon a Sub Zero 632. It is a stainless steel, side by side refrigerator. Boring but efficient. I would prefer the one in the photo way up top... That's a $12,000 refrigerator that debuted it 2005, and the renovations took place in this property in 2001/2002.


  1. I am fascinated. You put as much detail into the refrigerator as a character in your novel as I do the oral sex shower scenes in mine.

  2. MDR. Sex scenes also require research.