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Freezer Tetris

I hold the freezer door closed while I hold my breath. It stays closed



I don’t usually make Yom Tov so I don’t need a second freezer. It’s no problem that my freezer only holds a half-finished tub of ice cream, two containers of sorbet that no one likes, frozen pizza, Bodek fruit, frozen pizza bagels, a few “lechem mishnah” rolls, frozen pizza dough (sensing a pattern here?), and other assorted sundries. Oh, and a large box of freeze pops that seemed so important at the beginning of the summer but are still sitting here.

Because, anyway, I’m not making Yom Tov.

When my mother asks me to bake challah for her, it’s no big deal. I even remember to make them round for Rosh Hashanah. I also make a couple of regular challos for the weeks before. That’s fine, long ones can slide into spaces next to pizza and knish boxes, round ones do need a little more real estate... oh, well, the freeze pops don’t need a box.

When I see the request for Yom Tov meals for families with an ill parent, I sign up. I love to cook, especially without the pressure of making Yom Tov.

I make soups and kugels, a pan of chicken and some more challah; time to rearrange. We can have knishes for supper, who wants a freeze pop, the frozen fruits can go on the door. If you turn the long challos the other way they can fit behind pans horizontally.

But again, round takes up more space... hmm, oh, but they have no corners, leaving two perfect spots to perch the sorbet containers. (No one eats sorbet in this house but who can throw out food?)

Good thing I’m not making Yom Tov; the freezer door just needs to get a tough squeeze to ensure it stays closed.


Then I remember I promised to make a dessert for my mother, which is a perfect chance to try a new recipe, because I’m not making Yom Tov or anything. I’ll make an apple braid — my friend has a delicious recipe, and it’s seasonal and simanim-y, and most important, it’s flat and rectangular, perfect shape to tuck on top of something.

Out comes the pizza dough; we’ll have that tonight. But now the balance is off. Slide the ice cream over and throw out one sorbet, now it fits.

Then my grandmother makes her famous stuffed cabbage and I’m lucky enough to receive a portion even though I’m not making Yom Tov, plus a portion for my sister, who is making Yom Tov, so I store it for her.

I rearrange the challos and the freeze-pops rain down. I stick them into the bottom drawer, they fit better among the assorted shapes of rolls and baguettes. I maneuver the loaf of bread I remembered to buy now that school started and the kids need lunches every day (didn’t think of the freezer when I was buying that loaf, they could have survived on rice cakes), remove some pizza for school lunch (because that’s what they actually eat, and also, frozen pizza boxes take up more room), and transfer fish sticks into a large ziplock (writing the baking instructions with a Sharpie even though it’s hard to get it wrong).

My kids eat ice cream and pizza bagels for dinner, and I fit the pan in. I hold the freezer door closed while I hold my breath. It stays closed.

Why wouldn’t it, it’s not like I’m making Yom Tov.

For the next week until Yom Tov I tell my children that they and all their friends can have as many freeze pops as they want. Or sorbet, especially sorbet. They should just make sure I’m the one who opens the freezer because Tetris is best left for the masters. No, children, I’m joking, it’s because I don’t want the Yom Tov food to fall out.

Good thing I’m not making Yom Tov.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 708)

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