Back in the days of land-livin', we were quite the dairy consumers. Milk at lunch and dinner, and cheese whenever, the sharper the better. Erik and I spent many an anniversary sharing Roquefort on Melba toast, accompanied by a cold Sauterne. I slowly increased our household Cheddar sharpness until Stylish was quite happy to consume old cheddar that smelled like gym socks. And I was a sucker for anything on sale on the store that was green-veined and looked like it might bite back.
Alas, our cheese days are behind us now. In the first place, it is unavailable here. Mexico offered only the blandest cheese-approximate substances, which were good for making quesadillas and not much else. Guatemala hasn't even got that. And so I make my sad face, and strike grilled-cheese off my list of lunches.
In the second place, even if I could find stinky cheese, I couldn't necessarily keep it cold.
Now. I am sure that you at home have never had cause to question the energy requirements of your fridge. At most, maybe you bought a new appliance, looked at the yellow energystar tag that came with it, congratulated yourself on being a responsible consumer, and instantly forgot the experience.
My friends, I was once like you! No longer. As we have moved into hotter and hotter weather, our fridge has struggled to keep up. Which means it runs more often. Which means the 12 V batteries run down. Which means we have to run the generator more often. Which means we are burning diesel just to keep our mayonnaise cold. Not good, not good.
We lucked into finding a boat refrigeration expert here in the Rio Dulce. He looked over the system, and gave us the sad verdict that our system is fine; we are simply under-insulated. This is bad news because it means we don't have an easy fix for our power-guzzling fridge. We have to rip the whole thing out and start again.
Once again; at home, no problem. Unplug old fridge. Wheel out old fridge. Recycle responsibly. Wheel in new fridge. Plug in. Smile happy smile. For us, our top-loading fridge and freezer are built right into the kitchen counter. We'll have to gently remove the teak counters that cover the lid, somehow pull the massive stainless-steel liner that form the body, rip out the likely-saturated insulation beneath, put in new insulation 3-4 inches thick, build a new liner to fit the new space, possibly in situ, and put it all back together again.
Does that sound fun and mess-free? No, I didn't think so. We've decided to put the job off until we reach Cartagena, but we can't push it much beyond that. I am not looking forward to Erik ripping up the kitchen, blocking the stove and the microwave, so that not only won't we have any means of keeping things cold, aside from a cooler and a block of ice, but I also won't be able to cook anything we do have. It sounds like ten days of peanut butter sandwiches to me.
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