Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kitchen update

I'm a few days late from Saturday, for my kitchen blitz update. But the world has been a busy one. School starts next week. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Like a busy bee, collecting pollen. Only it looks more like uniforms, books and other assorted fluff, attached to my legs! No wonder it's been hard getting around lately.


 Fridge


But I have made progress on my kitchen blitz nonetheless. I'll start with the last job completed, which brought the greatest amount of satisfaction. We have a short fridge, because it doesn't have a freezer on top. So as clear spaces tend to go, they often collect stuff.

Stuff like, well meant, Christmas presents. They were lovely gestures and I kept them for a while, but then they became a magnet for a raft of other things I'm not quite sure to do with either. I bit the bullet and decided to remove these items to find another home.


New arrangement


This space became a far more practical use, for holding large containers, which are often difficult to store. My home-made vinegar jars are on the fridge, fermenting away, and more importantly - out of the way. The tall spaghetti jar in the middle, hardly gets used; except for winter, when I make a lot of chicken noodle soup.

By far, the best improvement of this tiny space however, is bringing my large cake tin down from the top cupboard. It's used a lot, so getting it off the high shelf meant getting the step out to reach it. Now it's just within reach, and I can also store my baked goodies here. Instead of taking up counter space, when I put food in it.

I also found a safe haven for the cookie jar. As we have a little cookie monster who helps himself if they are in reach, presently.


 Baking paraphernalia ~ before


The next cupboard to tackle, was my baking cupboard. It's used quite a lot, so it needed to be organised. It had a cull, a few years prior too, but it was time for another purge - just to be sure.

Not surprisingly, I didn't remove a lot from this cupboard. But hey, you've got to check, right?


Two pins


Just because you're only getting rid of a few things, doesn't mean it's easy to cull either. I have two rolling pins. The small one, was one my mother gave me. The larger one came with my husband. He's a chef and that was part of his professional kit.

So naturally, which one do I use the most? The one designed for professionals of course! It's larger, heavier and requires less "oomph" when it comes to rolling pastry or cookie dough. The smaller one, had some sentimental value because it was my mums'. But she was the one who taught me, not to hold onto things which only collect dust.

I chose to hold onto the sentimental value of the lessons my mother taught me, and practice them, rather than hold onto the object.


Gone


In the end, the only things to be culled from my baking cupboard, was the rolling pin and two small, cake tins. I have other cake tins I prefer to use, and I decided for the blue moon occasions, I might use these, it wasn't worth keeping them permanently.

But sorting this cupboard, did have it's other benefits too!


The ugly


Namely, getting off all that crud which ends up on the floor of the cabinet. I'm sure it's not unhygienic - I've worked in bakeries with much more crud around, but it's still not a bad practice, to wipe it out, once in a while either.

First I swept it out with a dustpan and brush, then used miracle spray for clean-up. If you haven't heard of miracle spray, you make at home, you should try it. Easily removes those hard marks, like baking crud, or squished food on the floor. Peter has a thing for sultanas, and we always find one mooshed, somewhere.


The pretty


Afterwards though, my cupboard came out looking, brand new! Plus it smelled clean and fresh too. If nothing else, it was worth emptying the cupboard, just to do this job.

So maybe, not all room blitz, have to have a lot of things removed permanently. Sometimes, you just have to make the effort to clean the space, and reacquaint yourself with what's in your cupboards.


Baking paraphernalia ~ after


There's not a huge amount of difference between the before and after shots, of this baking cupboard. I made a few small changes. Like moving the grater up the top shelf. But it can easily be moved back down again, as the changing seasons, often dictate, what baking tins and trays I use the most.

If you have the luxury to be flexible (ie: space) then don't be afraid to change things as you need them. I'm sure my baking cupboard will continue to evolve, as my baking needs change too.

Ironically, the rolling pin, my mother gave me, was when she gave up making pastry and biscuits, once all her kids moved out of home.


The prettiest


To my delight, one of my kitchen drawers, came up sparkling clean, with a reshuffle and wipe out. I'm not normally one to get excited over shiny things, but this drawer full of sparkling utensils, surprised me. I would open the drawer, just to look at them!

It might seem silly, but I earned that little pleasure.


Kitchen today


So this is what my kitchen looks like now. A little more organised. Which makes me happy to look at, and to use.

But in the interests of full disclosure, I don't want people to think this all about making a kitchen look prettier. I mean, it's certainly nice when they are, but the whole point to a kitchen, is this...


Business end


Your kitchen is for making mess! Food mess! On this particular day, the dishwasher was holding my second load of washing, and I'd just finished, hand-washing the dishes from making jam too. If there's not dirty dishes to attend, then there's clean ones to put away! Always making more to put through the cycle. Again and again.

It took me two hours this morning, just to unload the dishes from the day before (both the dishwasher and the hand dishes on the sink) clean up from breakfast and feeding the chickens. Because I make mess, gathering the chicken scraps too! I will soon be messing it up again, by making fruit salad and quiche.

I hope this doesn't sound like a complaint. It's not. It's just explaining the reality of what a kitchen is supposed to look like. So when you see a nice photo in my kitchen, just know I made a tremendous amount of mess first. And another mess will come after that. There will always be cookie crumbs somewhere, a sticky patch on the floor, smudges on my cooking jars, and cobwebs in the corner. Hey, a spiders got to eat too!


Always in use


This recent blitz in my kitchen, wasn't about making a picture perfect kitchen. It was about making it as efficient as I could to work in. Just blink, and the mess returns. This recurring theme, often makes me wonder what kitchens of our grandparents and great-grandparents must have looked like, most of the time?

I remember visiting my grandparents in a cooler climate when young. They always had a pot of porridge, either soaking on the wood stove for the next morning, or holding one in the process of being consumed. There were always piles of dishes on the sink. There was never any clear spaces on the benches, for slabs of butter, bread bins and condiments sitting, waiting to be used.

There was meat in Eski's, sitting on the floor, waiting to be dealt with, to put in the freezer - after slaughter day. Fat sitting in pans or saucepans, waiting to be used for cooking or something else. While we should never feel ashamed for admiring a nice, clean kitchen - miraculously, if it's our own! But equally, we shouldn't feel ashamed if our kitchens looked used either. Because, certainly, that's what they're meant for.


16 comments:

  1. Love it! And it is so hard to get rid of the sentimental stuff. I am going through our stuff prior to moving. Kitchen is coming up soon! But its always in a state of activity :)

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    1. You'll be glad when that kitchen in the new house, is finally up and running. I find it's the heartbeat of the house.

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  2. Great post!! Looking at your baking cupboard has got me thinking that I'm going to have to sort mine out. All my tins and trays are in a big basket that slides out, much like a basket drawer. I am forever having to pull everything out if I want to find something! Like yours, my kitchen gets a work out every single day. Today, besides all the meals that were made up at my kitchen bench, I spent the morning making ice-cream, a double batch of choc chip cookies and granola too. I ground almonds into almond meal and left over bread crusts into breadcrumbs and froze both of those for later use. There were crumbs on the floor, flour on my bench, bowls stacked up in the sink and the dishwasher humming as background music. It's only now after dinner and dessert that the final wash-up and wipe-down is happening (thanks hubby:) so the kitchen will be ready for tomorrow. It's a busy place and it usually looks like that! Meg:)

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    1. Sounds exactly how my kitchen days go! Right down to the ice-cream and clean up. Good luck with your sorting. I'm sure you'll find the perfect arrangement.

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  3. It can be surprising how efficient even a small kitchen can be, once you have it laid out well. The work just seems to flow better.

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    1. You're right Barb, small kitchens are even MORE efficient, out of pure necessity. Everything is close to hand. The only problem I had with a small kitchen was the backlog, if I fell behind. But a good sized kitchen table, helped as extra work space, until I caught up again.

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  4. "A safe haven for the cookie jar," LOL - but only safe from short people I'll wager! You have a lovely kitchen, and you're an inspiration. I ought to be cleaning and organizing mine as well. I'm just about done with winter freezer canning, so maybe that should be the next indoor project on my list.

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    1. LOL, yes our cookie jar is often raided by giants too. ;)

      All that winter canning, would certainly help heat the house in better ways, than in summer. A good way to go about putting away the surplus.

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  5. I love efficient - you look like you have nailed it too in that reorganisation. It's a wonderful sized kitchen compared to mine which is part traffic thoroughfare :-/

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    1. Perhaps a little too big though. I love the bench space, but find the island too far away from the other work areas. So smaller kitchens certainly have their pluses! Doubling as an walkway, brings extra challenges though.

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  6. We have to de-junk all the time - you did a great job. Extreme baking paraphernalia makeover!

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    1. De-junk is a good term David. It's amazing what lurks behind closed doors, or even in full sight sometimes. :)

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  7. Thank you for showing the real life of a kitchen. I cleaned out the pantry before Christmas and I need to do it again. My kitchen is tiny and it needs a good going over. I couldn't find my measuring cups this morning when I went to feed Betsy the sourdough starter, as the junk drawer has become such a mess. Time to stop the procrastination and time to get on with it.
    Thank you for the inspiration. It's also something I can do inside out of this horrid heatwave.

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    1. Are you melting in the heat too? I keep saying to myself, it's just a few more days - and not long till autumn brings cooler nights. Good luck with your own blitz. They can be fun if you don't put too much pressure on yourself.

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  8. A most efficient kitchen, but well used too. I can relate well to this as it's the heart of our homes.

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