Cooking Up a New Year
The dawn of a year is like a swift -- and often much-needed -- kick in the pants. There's nothing like a crisp new wall calendar to help set life in motion, encouraging the notion of possibility. It's also a great opportunity to shed stuff, be it pounds, bad attitudes or gone-to-the-dogs rusty cast-iron skillets. Change is good!
The opportunity for change couldn't be riper than in the kitchen. Whether a committed cook or a card-carrying member of the carry-out club, the kitchen is a major thoroughfare of the home. Some would argue it is home. After all, even burnt toast requires tools and utensils to get the job done.
With that in mind, what's the state of your kitchen these days? Have you got the baterie de cuisine all lined up? What's the state of the fridge or the pantry? And what about the floor? Is it clean enough to eat off?
As I've mentioned in the past, my kitchen is "space-challenged." I've made-do with a dollhouse-sized oven and lack of dishwasher, but baby, this kid needs some space. More countertops, please! Hopefully, within the next year, I'll be in new digs, but until then, it's all about making the most of my matchbox environs. A little sprucing up wouldn't hurt, either.
Here's what I've got on my New Year's kitchen to-do list:
* Time to get a new trashcan. That darn foot pedal hasn't worked in months, maybe a year, and inevitably the top clangs onto the floor like an out-of-tune cymbal at elementary school band practice.
* Time to hang up the fantasy that the oven will clean itself and pull out the orange deep-scrubbing gloves.
* Say sayonara to a busted colander, dry measuring cup with a missing handle and cornmeal that has gone well beyond its expiration date.
* Empy the fridge and examine its contents carefully (and honestly) and part company with condiments that have developed facial hair. (While the refrigerator door is open, clean out the crisper drawer, hose it down and wash out with soap.)
* Do the same in the freezer. Mine is a minefield and spills out onto my feet everytime I open the door. It's time to organized, young lady, and prevent a broken toe from a flying frozen steak.
* Acquire a nutmeg grater, a handheld parmigiano grater, a hand-held citrus juicer with a measuring cup underneath to catch the juice, a coffee grinder just for spices.
* Eat more barley, quinoa and other fiber-rich grains and grasses that only make it into my diet every once in a while. Drink less coffee and drink more tea. Be more mindful about wine and drink one instead of two or three glasses or three instead of five nights.
* Eat dinner at the table rather than on the sofa, at least one night per week.
* Make cous cous, the Moroccan or Tunisian way. A friend gave me her couscousiere before going home to Tunisia and the pot is now sitting in the closet, begging to be used.
* After many years of talking about it and never stepping up to the plate, do some kind of digestive cleanse with the arrival of spring. I'm exploring a less invasive, mini-version of pancha karma, a cleansing ritual in the ayurvedic tradition. The one I'm looking into involves a few mornings of ingesting ghee (clarified butter) with ginger and cardamom, to help release toxins from the body. I'll keep you posted on what and when I decide.
So, I've shared my ten to-dos. What about you? Share your kitchen intentions in the comments area below.
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