Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Occupy the Kitchen

Note:  Owing to a large number of things screaming for my time and attention just now, I plan to cut back to four posts per week.  I don't love this blog any less, it just needs to take a slightly lower ranking on the priority list for a while.

The first year I was retired I developed a sort of routine to organise my time.  Friday was devoted to the kitchen.  Over time I fell away from this system, trying to cram in 1,000 other interesting things and eventually my routine sort of crumbled. 

However, on one of my more productive days pottering around the house of late, I realised that I spend next to no time in the kitchen.  Over the holidays Bill took over more and more of the cooking - he really likes doing it - and of course I 'let' him.   Now it seems to me that who ever has the lead role of cooking seems to 'own' the kitchen space and we've discovered that this is not a job we share well.  When he tries to help me, it goes awry;  I need to think about what I'm doing and if I have to talk to him I'm bound to screw something up.  If I try to help him I invariably stand in the very place he needs to be.  So, we just take turns doing solitary KP.

Kitchen English, Part I

I've since taken the cooking back, as he has started working on re-decorating the front hall.  I decided I would 'Occupy the Kitchen' (no disrespect to the 99%, I'm largely in agreement.)

Things I do in the kitchen besides cook meals and wash dishes: 
Kitchen English, Part II
  • unclutter and organise cupboards, pulling out 'unusual' foods (who buys these things?  me!) to figure out how to use up
  • put dried beans, lentils etc into clear glass jars on eye-level shelves
  • make a batch of cornbread (we buy 5 kg/10 lb bags of polenta)
  • make a loaf of bread (in the machine)
  • clean the counters using the Braille method (a downside of dark brown mottled surface)
  • soak beans, then cook in the crockpot
  • water plants
  • clean out fridge (finding not so much spoiled food, as odd items I forgot we had - butter, capers, jalopenos)
  • clean out microwave and oven (well, the front anyhow)
  • un-clutter the 'hardware' drawer
  • un-clutter the cleaning supplies under the sink - we have a dozen bottles with 3 mm of liquid in them, but I don't dare combine them!
  • pull things out of the pantry - the catch all cupboard; we have a lifetime supply of cling film and parchment paper owing to some sale or other
  • clean out the trash bin
  • wipe down the outside of the kettle and toaster
  • clean and re-fill the filtered water jug
  • wash the walls just above the counters and behind the stove, where things tend to splatter
  • empty the compost box and wash
  • re-pot the rootbound herb plants I bought (dill, basil & chives) for 79p each at the grocery store
  • wipe down front of cupboards
  • sweep and mop floor
  • hang wet laundry on the airing rack (the thing on the ceiling in the photograph above)
  • fold dry laundry and take upstairs
  • give the cutting boards a good scrub

I'm sure there is loads more that hasn't come to mind  just now.  I know Bill does most of these at one time or another - in fact he's more likely to do some of them.  I enjoyed myself once I got started.  Although the breakfasting end is currently filled with furniture, carpet and curtains from the hall and stairs, the cooking end was set to rights and I was feeling my halo of accomplishment.

Kitchen English, Part III

Do you tend to get out of the kitchen ASAP, or do you like to occupy that space?


Anonymous said...

Oh I was just trying the mascara out, I never buy anything like that until I'm sure, it's too wasteful otherwise.

That is a lot of kitchen choring, I suppose it's my room, hubs never cooks or cleans, he says he's allergic to manual labour.

Carolyn said...

It sounds like the division of labour is very well organised in your house!
Regarding the Pattern Magic3 book; not all the patterns are sleeveless, just that I am attracted to the more summery things in the book right now. However it is a simple matter to add sleeves to something without them! That is the beauty of making your own...

Shelley said...

Tabitha, I had no idea one could try out mascara without buying. Must be because I don't tend to shop at the department store beauty counters? Well, I'm sure you're husband has many other good qualities. I just happen to particularly admire this one in Bill.

Carolyn, I keep reading that sleeve adjustments and armholes are pretty tricky, but then you've years of practice. Am working on a skirt just now. Will blog about it soon, I hope!

Suburban Princess said...

I quite enjoy giving the kitchen a good clean..when I have the time! My husband would never think to wipe anything so it's left to me. I have forced him into taking care of the dishes most of the's always a relief to not have to face them.

Shelley said...

SP, it is a matter of squeezing everything in sometimes, isn't it? That's my I decided to make it a priority on one day because it makes the rest of the week go more smoothly. I don't have to force Bill to do anything, strangely enough. He's completely amazing. These days I try to get as much of the clean up done as I can while I'm cooking and what is left Bill takes care of the next morning.

BigLittleWolf said...

Having just spent 30 (unpleasant) minutes cleaning in my kitchen, I can't say that I enjoy it. I enjoy it after, but I also have a tiny kitchen which makes everything about it less than fun. It's functional, and cute, but that's about it.

In my old house with its kitchen about four times the size, it was the room where everyone congregated. Nothing better!

LR @ Magnificent or Egregious said...

I do most of the kitchen organizing, cooking and cleaning. Hubs helps with some cooking also and loading the dishwasher. My pantry is still calling for me to sort through it...!

Rick Stone said...

We always found it easier if only one person worked in the kitchen at a time. Even though we have a large "country" kitchen Joanne was never very good at sharing it. On the few times I tried to assist I always found myself in her way. Since I did not cook we started out early on dividing up the tasks. She did all the cooking and I did the clean up after the meals. But even though I was responsible for the cleanup make no mistake about the fact it was Joanne's kitchen. There are even a couple of signs in there that say "Joanne's Kitchen". Among the many things I miss about her is the great meals she used to prepare.

Anonymous said...

The time I spend in the kitchen is usually on cleaning tasks rather than cooking. It's not my favorite thing to do, yet I can't rest properly if it's dirty or cluttered.

I love the orange walls in your kitchen! Very fresh.

Shelley said...

BigLittleWolf, I've mostly had tiny kitchens in my houses and never thought much of it. If they have adequate storage I think they are fine. The Frugal Gourmet recommends 'galley style' which I think means all lined up, but I'm not sure. The Unclutterer website has loads of ideas that would be useful in small kitchens. Sounds like you still miss your old life.

LR, I always find some surprises in that pantry!

Rick, She was a great cook, wasn't she? I think women like to have 'their' space sometimes. Mine is mainly the East wing, but it is also the guest room at times, so I lose out.

Ilegirl, I'd say I spend about equal amounts cooking & cleaning. If I cleaned more than cooked I think I'd get annoyed about that. I call my list pottering not cleaning! And it's supposed to be red, but you get the idea - a warm colour to make the room seem warmer!

Anonymous said...

I really like the kitchen and cooking when I have the TIME to devote to it. I generally do it in bursts between semesters, but it is looking more and more likely that within the next 18 months, I too will join the ranks of the retired and will need to develop my own routine.