I’ve listened to countless confessions from people feeling totally overwhelmed in the kitchen. For others the kitchen is their comfort zone, their weekend refuge. Wherever you fall on that spectrum all of us need to eat, and to eat, we need to do at least some food preparation. One of my greatest joys is inspiring people to cook, and to cook it certainly helps to be comfortable in your kitchen. Think of it this way. We all need to sleep, and in order to get our best sleep we make efforts to create the right environment – a comfortable bed, room temperature, level of light or darkness. Your best sleep environment is different than mine; so it is with our kitchens.
Let’s create your most comfortable kitchen in four easy steps.
Step one, familiarize yourself. Peruse your cabinets, refrigerator, freezer. Look at your oven, stove, microwave, grill, toaster, slow cooker, blender, food processor, pots, pans, and any other equipment you use to prepare food. What do you love? What do you rely on most? What’s never been used? What would you like to learn? What are you lacking? What needs replaced? What needs to be cleaned? What needs pitched?
Step two, take mental note of the items you’re most comfortable with. Make sure they’re clean and easily accessible. (Do jot down the equipment and food items you’d like to learn how to use. We’ll touch on this in a later blog.)
Step three, consider how you can make the rest of your kitchen more user-friendly and do it. What needs rearranged? Can you store your knives and cutting board closer together? Make space by keeping the toaster on a shelf instead of the counter? Organize your utensils? Perhaps most importantly clean out your pantry, fridge and freezer. Toss anything out of date, or that even with the best intentions you know you’ll never use. Play around with this step. Rearrange your kitchen and test it out for a day, then rearrange again if you need to. Your spice rack doesn’t need to be arranged in alphabetical order…unless that’s what works best for you. If you share your kitchen with others, seek their input.
Step four I will pose as a question: what food prep task do you dread, and how can you make it easier? Drying rinsed greens with a paper towel? Get a salad spinner! Do you curse that dull veggie peeler or can opener every time you use it? Replace it! Hands down, the single most coveted piece of equipment for me is my knife, and nothing is more important than keeping it sharp. The easiest way to do that is to regularly hone it with a steel, which you can pick up at your local home goods store. Or treat yourself to a sharpening from a local professional, which generally costs around $1 per inch.
A cautionary reminder, this is not a kitchen remodel. Set yourself a reasonable budget and a timeline for replacing what you need. Don’t pitch everything! Donate used equipment and utensils that still have some life to The Salvation Army or your local second-hand store. While there, check out the selection of cookware. Some brands like Pyrex last for years.
Creating your most functional kitchen environment sets the stage for finding your comfort. I want to know how you did! Give me a shout and share what makes your kitchen the best.
In Love and Good Health,