Thursday, June 25, 2009

How Usable Is Your Kitchen?

When I first got married, I kept a variety of very nice looking and "handy" appliances accessible on my kitchen counters. A spice rack, a mug rack, and I can't even remember what else. My kitchen was fabulously convenient... or so I thought. I mistakenly assumed that having everything at my fingertips was the best way to go.

Somewhere down the road - it may have been from Sally Fallon's suggestion in her book Nourishing Traditions, or it may have been gleaned from a subscription to Martha Stewart Living - I decided to revamp my whole kitchen space. The goal was clean, free counter space. My hunch was that an uncluttered kitchen would welcome me back for each meal prep time.

And you know what? It really makes a difference. Since serving healthy food to our families will require some kitchen time, having a joyful kitchen experience is ever-so-helpful. Coming into a kitchen that is clean and clutter-free is so much more enjoyable than a kitchen that lacks clear, clean counter space.

I have my mixer and my blender out because I use them so frequently. Besides those two appliances, I have my others stored nearby on a baker's rack. They are still easily reached, but my counters are clear. After each meal I wash the dishes and wipe down the counters. This way, the next inevitable cooking experience will start off on the right foot.

I do speak from experience here... experience in the joy of a clean kitchen and in the drudgery of a messy counter space. In fact, I am blogging at my kitchen bar facing the breakfast dishes. And I know that starting in on lunch will go so much better if I go ahead and wash the dishes and blender before I move on to the next thing.

What does your kitchen counter look like? Are there things you can store away so that you have a more welcoming workspace?


Kathryn said...

My problem is i have so little counter space! I haven't room for a mixer & blender on the counters. So i'm constantly working to try to clear out so the clutter is not visible.

But i so totally agree with you that clean counter space is more condusive to work than a lot of clutter.

When i was growing up my mother had a ton of stuff on her counters. In trying to clean the kitchen, i always missed something in the clutter & was always being called back to "finish." One day i got so angry about it (after having been called back about 3 times) that i cleared EVERYTHING off & had it clean. It looked so much better! My mother thought so, too, until she realized what i'd done & then she was angry with me. (She was a bit of a control freak.)

I've known since that time that clean, clear counter space is better, but i always find it a challenge to do.

Cascia said...

I agree with you. It is very important to have a clean and organized kitchen for preparing food. My kitchen is teeny tiny so it is hard to keep it un cluttered. But I always make sure that the countertops are clean and sanitized before I begin any food preparation.

kristilea said...

I so totally agree. I love to cook a meal when I can walk in and have a clean fresh start. On the other hand, I dread time for dinner when I know I have to clean up before I can even start. Makes me want to call for pizza. So the path to a healthy family and homecooked meals is a clean uncluttered counter and stove top!

Anonymous said...

Could not agree with you more! I also have gone through all the "had to haves" from my wedding (7 years ago) and if it was covered in dust or still in the box I put it down stairs in the garage sale pile. I am planning on have a garage sale in early fall - so if those items still have not been used - they will being finding a new home! My husband and I have a mission for 2009 - if we don't need it get rid of it (donate,sell on craigs list, garage sale, friends, etc.) We have been totally amazed at how much JUNK we have been storing in our home! Thanks so much for sharing!

Noel said...

oh yes, when I have dirty dishes waiting on me, I really don't want to go in there and cook. I must thank God though for the kitchen I have. I never dreamed I'd have so much counter space :)

travelingstacey said...

I long for a clutter free counter space. Our kitchen, and house, is very small, and I've got very little storage space. I've actually put away several appliances that I don't use that often in a large plastic bin in the pantry. Most of the time I just don't know where to start. Maybe one day I'll get there...I've worked on other rooms in the house and I'm slowly learning how to just get rid of the "stuff" that's causing the clutter. No matter how much I think we'll use it!

~*Michelle*~ said...

OH I have no counter space and it drives me cah-razy!!! Our kitchen is very small.....where we bump into each other often. My husband mumbles often "next house, bigger kitchen"!

Molly Green said...

I love your post about a clean organized kitchen! It does make a world of difference when you cook. I like to make sure my dishes are washed before I cook so that I can keep up with cleaning them as I go along.

You have a beautiful blog! Thanks for stopping by Econobusters!

busymomof10 said...

I have enjoyed a marathon reading of your blog today! WOW! So much great information repackaged into an encouraging, "I can do this" format! Thanks for your wonderful blog! I have only sampled it until today.

I definitely agree about the clean, clutter free kitchen -- but that is not alwasy possible, depending on cabinet and countertop space and family size! In my last house, I had a miserable galley kitchen with so little countertop space! I mean that might be fine for a smaller family, but not when you are cooking for twelve people daily!

I have a question for you. With all the conflicting information out there, proper nutrition for health and also for weight loss is so confusing! I'm just wondering what your take is on eating for weight loss. I just discovered (on your blog) that using Splenda contributes to weight gain not loss!! Who would have thunk it? LOL! So, how do I balance it all out -- eating for health, for weight loss, and also eating frugally, and not spending my entire life in the kitchen??!!??!!

I love your cook a chicken in the crock pot idea, but do you realize that it takes three whole chickens to feed my family, with no leftovers except for the stock??? LOL! Feeding a large family, with 4 man-sized teenage boys is a real challenge in every way!! It is a huge financial and time commitment.

Thanks again for your incredible blog!