Saturday, April 11, 2009

My clean kitchen

The rest of my house can be a complete shamble, but I will clean the kitchen. The kitchen might be the most clean room in the house, but I will want to take everything off the counters and wipe them off with vinegar-water (my eco-friendly alternative to Lysol) and put everything back, possibly rearranging things. Last night I rearranged my kitchen for the third time since I moved in. First, the microwave was on one side of the oven and the toaster oven was on another. I moved them together. The second time, I realized that the coffee pot did not need to be on the far corner, opposite the toaster oven and microwave from the sink, but could go where the microwave once was. Last night, I realized that the toaster oven and microwave could be separated and still lead happy lives, that I did not have a life (or lease-length) sentence of inconveniently reaching into a corner every time I wanted to use the toaster oven. So I moved the toaster oven to the other side of the sink, on its own. This left all kinds of space between the sink and the microwave and (after cleaning it all several times with vinegar solution) I was able to fill that space with all kinds of useful things--without cluttering or crowding it. Now, every time I walk into my kitchen I feel a wave of contentment at seeing that cheery, open space, with the countertop and microwave top pure white and not with any kind of weird residues stuck to it.

This is probably heightened by the fact that my living room is a crazy mess. Throughout the week, I've been taking everything out of my kitchen cabinets (and some other cabinets) to sort through 1) What I don't need anymore and can give away; 2) What I need to keep in the kitchen because I use it requently and 3) What I don't actually use that much and instead of keeping it in the kitchen making myself crazy!!!! I can store in the attic! This includes most of my plates and glasses. I am one person. I only need one bowl, one plate, one glass, and one coffee mug. I'm keeping a little more than that in the kitchen, but most of it is going upstairs. Why? Because when I have all the dishes at my fingertips, I'm more inclined, during a busy week, to just grab a new plate instead of washing the old one. What happens? By the end of the week, I have a mountain of dishes that I am too tired to deal with. And the cycle continues and the mountain grows. This may not be the way normal people arrange their kitchens, but for me, it's effective.

There was a point to this but I don't remember what it was. I think the point was that I spend more time in the kitchen than I do in my room--in fact, I spend very little time in my bedroom. I pretty much sleep in there, throw things around in there, and get dressed in there. I also tend houseplants in there, because it's the only room in the house with a somewhat-South-facing window.

I spend a lot of time in the living room, but that's really because my kitchen isn't an actual room but just a corner of the living room. I'm in the living room with an eye on the stove or the oven, watching TV shows on Hulu.com while I chop vegetables, looking up new recipes on commercial breaks.

I'm not sure what all of this means (if anything.)

Now that it's warm out, I bet I'll be spending some of that time normally devoted to the kitchen outside on my roof-deck. (That's what I call a porch I have that's actually a roof--a carport overhang thing that's sturdy enough for people to sit on.) That's where I make soil mixes, sort the vermicompost, plant seeds, collect rainwater (ok, I'm not that organized, I just accidentally left some buckets out there and decided it was a good system), clean things that are too yucky and cumbersome to clean in the house (like refrigerator shelves), and also sit and get some sun. I think I get a better wireless signal out there anyway.

Today I bought seeds and a few plants and tomorrow I am hoping--before Easter celebrations commence--to get out to my garden plot to plant them! A large part of this weekend was also spent in a different kitchen with the four generations of my French family--my great-grandmother, my grandmere, my mother, and myself. Mom and I are finally learning the family Easter recipe--pate berrichon. Maybe I'll post some pictures later. (Also, I have this secret goal of redoing the recipe with natural ingredients and also inventing a vegetarian (I imagine lots of mushrooms...) version...definitely! redoing the recipe for future generations without veal!)

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