I’m taking the position that it’s never too late to make resolutions. Here are some of my kitchen resolutions for 2013 – habits and patterns I’d like to become firmly entrenched.
- CLEAR STUFF OUT. After the hurricane and the power outages, we were among the many people tossing everything out of our fridge. When the power came back on and I started restocking it, I noticed what a pleasure it was to be able to actually find things! Taking my cue from that, I’m moving on to the pantry and clearing out the old and dusty. Now the challenge will be to avoid unnecessary stockpiling and keep the food storage clutter free.
- LIKE GOES WITH LIKE, AND IN THE RIGHT PLACE. I’m shocked by how much time I spend just looking for stuff that I know I have somewhere. This year, I will organize by function, and keep things near where I use them. Baking ingredients will go with baking ingredients. Coffee will be kept with coffee makers. Flours will live together. I’m also planning on ignoring the pantry space v. storage space distinction – there’s no reason (in my kitchen) why I can’t keep the baking ingredients in or near the baking pans instead of in the pantry next to my pastas and cans of beans.
- SEGREGATE THE SINGLE-TASKERS. My kids love ebelskivers (those little puffed pancake balls) so, in a moment of weakness, I got an ebelskiver pan. I only use it a couple of times a year, yet it continues to suck up prime drawer space in the drawer where I keep the pans I use every day. It, along with the roasting pans that I only use when cooking for a crowd and other seldom used cookware, is going to be cleaned, wrapped up, labeled, and stored out of the way. I’ll know where it is when I need it, but in the meantime I won’t have to grapple with my kitchen drawers just to close or open them.
- DEVELOP MORE QUICK STAND-BYS. I admit it, between time constraints and trying to cater to everyone’s food preferences, I’m in a rut. One of my resolutions is to push everyone’s envelope a bit and branch out to find some quick weeknight meals that I enjoy making and everyone else can enjoy eating. The last one I tried (fresh bread, hummus, a big salad, and some hard boiled eggs) wound up being a hit. I just have to remember to schedule in trying some new things so I don’t fall back into that rut.
- USE THE FREEZER FOR MEALS. My freezer is crammed with all sorts of interesting stuff. Right now, a brief inventory includes flax seed meal, toasted nuts and whole wheat flours (freezing them helps keep them from going rancid), loaves of bread and biscotti in hibernation, homemade stocks and lots of spices. What’s missing are the items that actually would help me get dinner on the table in half an hour on a week night. I want to continue eating good food, but have some quick options. I need some meals cooked almost to completion, and then frozen so I can tweak them a bit and get dinner on the table when time is tight. I’m thinking a few containers of tomato sauce, a ziploc bag or two of meatballs and maybe some beef stew or vegetable soup might be just the ticket.