You can tell a lot about a person by looking into their fridge.
What is – and isn’t – in your fridge can say a lot about your living situation, income, personality and relationship to food.
For Food Week, Re: News journalist Janhavi Gosavi and photographer Lewis Ferris (@lewisferris_) took a peek inside the fridges of three different Wellington households.
Bryer and Lucy
Lucy and Bryer with their fridge magnet collection.
Bryer Oden and Lucy Gaskin flat together in Mt Victoria with a third flatmate.
Bryer, 24, works as a digital marketer and runs the Instagram food blog @healthsensation and Lucy, 24, is a lawyer.
Each flatmate gets an individual shelf for their food. They all share the fourth shelf, which they call the “overflow shelf” as well as the storage inside the door.
“If it fits, it sits,” Lucy says.
Lucy spends $60-80 on a big grocery shop once a week and does small top ups throughout the week.
Bryer doesn’t know how much she spends on groceries because she doesn’t have a shopping routine.
She says her eating habits are driven by cravings, which constantly change.
“I can't go to the supermarket and buy everything I want for the next two weeks cos I don't know what I’ll want,” Bryer says.
Bryer and Lucy’s fridge and freezer.
Bryer’s shelf features lots of dairy products, pasta and the ingredients for egg salad sandwiches – her current food fixation.
Lucy’s shelf includes prepped tuna rice salad, several varieties of yoghurt and cheese, eggs and jumbo blueberries.
Lucy’s most surprising item is a pack of pre-chopped frozen onions, which she says her mum introduced her to.
She has been firmly on the frozen fruit and veggie train since realising they’re cheaper and last longer than fresh produce.
Lucy is big on food prepping and does a bulk prep every Sunday.
Bryer’s shelf has condensed milk, sicilian olives and pumpkin pie filling. Lucy’s shelf has pre-chopped onions, salted butter and jumbo blueberries.
Bryer’s favourite item in her fridge are her green sicilian olives and her weirdest item is a container full of uncooked pumpkin pie filling.
Bryer’s fridge essential is condensed milk.
“You can have it in the fridge for like a million years and it won’t go off quickly, unlike almond milk, so it's good for coffee,” Bryer says.
Bryer (left) is an active food blogger but doesn’t cook very often.
Despite being a food blogger, Bryer doesn’t “properly cook” much.
She says she misses the kitchen at her old flat, where she felt more motivated to cook because it wasn’t as centrally located as her current flat.
Moving to the CBD has made exciting food options more accessible to Bryer, who loves to eat out.
“I’m a five minute walk away from every food I’ve ever wanted,” she says.
The Velhal family
The Velhal family’s fridge has an in-built camera and smart screen.
Mrudula and Makrand Velhal both work in I.T. and live with their two kids, 14-year-old Atharva and eight-year-old Manasvi in Churton Park.
They spend $100-150 on supermarket groceries once a week, $50-65 on veggie market produce once a fortnight and $200 on Indian groceries once a month.
All the food in their fridge is for sharing, apart from Manasvi’s jam and Atharva’s spicy sauces.
Mrudula regularly cleans her fridge out so leftovers don’t pile up.
The Velhal family cooks everyday, with Mrudula, 39, being the primary cook.
Leftovers don’t pile up in their fridge because Mrudula cleans it out regularly and deep cleans it once a month.
Mrudula says the weirdest thing you’ll find in her fridge is a half cut lemon or a bowl of coffee powder, both of which help deodorise the fridge and stop bad smells from spreading.
Her pet peeve is when her family leaves food uncovered in the fridge or forgets to screw jar lids on tightly.
Manasvi, 8, and Mrudula, 39, peek inside their fridge.
Makrand’s favourite fridge item is a big tub of curd.
The 40 year old eats it either by itself as a cooling side dish for a spicy dinner, or adds sugar to it and has it for dessert.
Makrand and Mrudula are very passionate about Fresha Valley, their milk brand of choice for making chai.
Makrand says the brand tastes exactly like the full fat milk he’d drink in India and buys several bottles every time he goes to the supermarket.
Makrand with his favourite milk from Fresha Valley.
Some of the frozen Indian foods the Velhal family keeps on hand.
Paneer and parathas are some of the frozen foods the couple keep on hand for when they need a quick meal.
The Velhal family is Hindu and doesn’t eat meat on Mondays and Thursdays.
Their freezer has two compartments - one for vegetarian food and one for non-vegetarian foods.
Mrudula says she separates vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods into different freezer compartments so she doesn’t feel bad seeing meat products on Mondays and Thursdays.
Milan, Bailey and Claire
Milan, Bailey and Claire share their kitchen with a fourth flatmate.
Milan Singh, Bailey Peterson and Claire Makepeace live together with a fourth flatmate in Newtown.
Milan, 22, works in the police, Bailey, 22, works as a radiographer and Claire, 26, works in government.
Claire has a car and does an $80 grocery shop once a week, stopping by the supermarket and the veggie market.
Claire meal preps lunches and dinners for the work week on a Sunday night. She cleans her shelf out regularly because she needs the space to fit all her meals.
Milan and Bailey get a weekly delivery from Bargain Box. The New Zealand meal kit service covers five dinners for the couple and they often have leftovers for lunch.
Bargain Box costs them $120 per week and they spend another $30 on pantry essentials and snacks.
Milan’s favourite thing inside the fridge is eggs and he says he goes through a dozen eggs in four days.
“They’re small, compact, healthy for you, have protein in them, and they get their own little compartments in the fridge,” Milan says.
The couple do shift work so they don’t regularly cook together. While one of them works, the other cooks enough food for two, so that the first has a meal to come home to.
Their freezer is packed with frozen veggies, fruit and ice cream.
Because four people share the fridge, Milan says there isn't enough space for him to freeze additional things like meat.
Milan, Bailey and Claire’s freezer is full of frozen fruit, vegetables and ice cream.
Claire doesn’t keep her eggs in the fridge but does have yoghurt, oat milk and prepped salad on her shelf.
Milan and Bailey’s fridge space is mostly taken up by ingredients from Bargain Box, including mounds of frozen corn and peas.
“We love cheese in this house,” Bailey says, as she pulls out seven different cheeses left over from previous meal kits.
Ingredients from Milan and Bailey's Bargain Box meals pile up in the fridge.
In theory, every flatmate gets their own fridge shelf.
In reality, Claire sticks to her shelf while Milan and Bailey put their food wherever it fits because their fourth flatmate barely keeps any food in the fridge.
“It becomes a game of jenga,” Claire says.
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