New year, new kitchen

Generally, when the new year rolls around I like to clean the whole apartment.  But with a still-painful back and a lot of work-related things to do, I doubt that will happen this year.  What I can manage, however, is the kitchen.  With a lot of health-related goals for the new year, plus a few more focused on doing things I enjoy like cooking and baking, the kitchen seems to be a central point that could use an overhaul to help facilitate these plans.

There’s a long list of food-related tasks that I’d like to work on this coming year.  I’m planning to increase the from-scratch cooking that I already do, experiment with some new recipes, and teach J. how to cook some of our favourite things.  I’d like to bake more of our bread on a regular basis, and possibly get some good desserts under my belt as well.  I’d like to have grains sprouting regularly, and keep working on fermenting kombucha, kefir, pickles, and other veggies.  I didn’t get much canning done last year, so I’d like to work on doing more this year, especially when I have some time off in the summer.  And if there’s time, I wouldn’t mind trying out some yogurt and cheese making.

Given that time will likely be at least somewhat tight this coming semester, the cleaner, simpler, and more organized the kitchen is, the easier it will be to keep up with these tasks and to clean up afterwards.  Ideally, if I spend a bit of time on this now, I’ll have a space that will better meet our needs in the long-term.  Yesterday, I cleaned out the fridge, washed the walls, and sorted through or got rid of some food and some projects that were never completed (the failed sauerkraut was especially disappointing). Today, I did some dishes, cleared the counter, and started getting together donations, which I suspect will be the single most important thing I do in the quite over-crowded space.  Tomorrow I’m hoping to take stock of what we have both food- and tool-wise, figure out how we can better arrange and use what we have, and decide if there’s anything we need to do to make things work better.  I have a few projects in mind already – a proper spice rack and magnetic knife strip, for starters – that I’m hoping will help to streamline things a bit more.

I doubt this will all be done before the new year actually rolls over, but having a good head start and a plan will certainly help.  We don’t have the greatest kitchen in the world – small, no windows, poor layout, and very little counter or storage space – but I’m hoping that some tweaks will improve it.  Given that I need to focus on eating healthier and spending time doing things that I enjoy (like cooking), this is a really important thing to get in order.

I realised the other day that there are a lot of things I’d like to do in the kitchen that I’ve never gotten around to.  Install a real spice rack.  Hang some pictures.  Set up spots for fermenting and sprouting.  I’ve always assumed that it wouldn’t be worth it to put in the time and effort (and, in some cases, a small amount of money), especially since we were hoping to move.  But the truth is that even though I hope we will be getting out of here at some point, there’s no reason not to have a clean, organized, well-functioning space in the meantime, even if it requires a bit of thought and effort at the outset.

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