Saturday, March 26, 2011

Housekeeping - let's have a conversation.

The word "housekeeping" reminds me of school.  High school, college, grad school... I feel like there was always a point when the instructor told us it was time for some "housekeeping" and then we'd hear either where the bathrooms were, or that there was a change to the syllabus or that the talking in the back row had to stop.  Sorry, that was me.

Thursdays are days of housekeeping for me, usually.  Sous Chef Brian isn't around and dinner is going to be super-late (not regular-late) and maybe, early in the week I cooked a lot and the dishes got out of hand and it's time to face it.   Remember that thick, sweet, black sauce from the Asian Stewsion?  It's stuck to everything I own.  So I finish up the dishes and scrub what needs scrubbed and clean out the fridge and restock and take stock.  What needs to be eaten?  What do I need to buy this weekend?  What scraps will I pull together for tonight's (eventual) meal?  I'm big on saving leftovers for lunches, but not big on defrosting them for dinner.  I'll make something. 

The housekeeping goes beyond the kitchen, of course, to the piles of envelopes and bits of mail that accrue from the doorway all the way to the back of the house, and I deal with that subscription reminder I've left on the desk all week (I'll be seeing you again soon, Cook's Illustrated) and the stray parking ticket (dude, we live in the city) and whatever else has been waiting for attention and not getting it.

Tonight, I emptied the cabinets.  What's in yours?  I have two mid-sized cabinets for pantry storage.  The crackers and turkey jerky stay out on the other side of the room, near the spices, and the fruits and root vegetables are elsewhere, but otherwise, this is the dry food.  I haven't found the perfect way to arrange it.   Baggies of stuff are usually tossed on top of jars of stuff near boxes of stuff and there's a lot of stuff.  Our mystery Sunday night dinner guest (I write like she's our only friend - sorry other friends, pick a nickname) once looked into one of the two cabinets and commented on how she liked it.  She liked the colors and shapes and haphazardness of it all.  It drives me crazy.  So I'll put it back in with some sense of order and try that for a couple of weeks until it's all a disaster and I panic again.

I did this once before - emptied my cabinets and photographed the results - for one of Apartment Therapy's Kitchen Cures.  It was a good exercise, taking everything apart and cleaning it and putting it back together fresh.

So how about some blog housekeeping too?  I already broke the fourth wall a couple posts back with a call for suggestions for the blog.   Crickets, ya'll.   Nothing. So, since I don't learn, let's try something together, eh?  I'm going to turn on the comments.

I read somewhere when I first started this that blogs shouldn't have comments capability if there's no one who is going to comment, because no one wants to feel like they're talking to an empty room.  

I'm not going to spend a lot of my time thinking of how to blog correctly.   I'm not selling anything, and I don't have any dreams of this becoming my job*.  I also don't think I'll be the next Ze Frank, starting some kind of super-involved internet community**.  But maybe we can exchange ideas.   I cook, you cook, let's discuss.

one for cooking and one for baking/coffee?

Ok, so one lesson learned was that I don't need two bottles of apple cider vinegar on hand, another was that I could consolidate the baggie of couscous with the jar of couscous (but I can totally see the line between the two different couscouses) and damn, I still have all that cake mix my mom gave me.  Anyone want crumb cake mix? 

On the top left we see small bottles of wine.  I call them the "emergency wine" - supposedly they're for cooking, but more often than not I use the box wine I'm already drinking for cooking, and the emergency wine for "wine emergencies."

The jars that are labeled are labeled with dry erase, which without fail needs to be "freshened" every fourth use because, you know, it wipes off. 

So let's try this, the discussing thing.  Don't be all lurky and crickety.   I'll start the conversation.  Seriously, what's in your cabinets?  How do you keep them organized?  How do you know what goes where?

*I like my job, anyway.  But, hey, if I call it a business, but still don't make any attempt to monetize the blog, can I renovate my kitchen and call it a business expense?

**I was a part of that cult-like community and loved every minute of it.  Seriously, we dressed our vacuum cleaners and our shadows, and we made an earth sandwich.  Ze is, right now, re-broadcasting his video blog from 5 years ago, so click here to join in on that.

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