Open any French refrigerator (you know those small, weird, narrow ones) and you are assaulted by the many smells of the many foods residing there, mingling together in a nausea-producing aroma.
I was always disconcerted by the way my mother-in-law would just leave things out, on the stove or counter, for days between warming them up and re-serving. How many millions of little bacteria can grow there, I asked myself, remembering never to eat those leftovers.
And, in the fridge, Tupperware or its many ripped-off counterparts, has barely made inroads. Eat some chicken for dinner and can’t finish it all? Just throw it in the fridge, no Saran Wrap necessary, and have it for lunch tomorrow. But a bunch of stinky goat and cow cheeses? Of course you can’t eat them all in one sitting, so nestle them all on a plate and toss them in the refrigerator. No worry if your eggs taste like chèvre a few days later.
One of my American girlfriends, also married to one of "them", and living in the south of France, copped recently that she, too, has picked up this French habit of sticking “n’importe quoi,” or “whatever” in the fridge without wrapping or plastic protection. She knew it was wrong, the French have just gotten to her...