7 Strange Things I do in the Kitchen

Not that kind of strange.

We spend a lot of time in our kitchen.

There are many reasons to hate our kitchen.

The floor is plastic, that horrible faux wood stuff that is supposed to be so easy to clean but is probably still off-gassing and disrupting my children’s endocrine systems.

The countertops are plastic.

Inside the cupboards the paint is peeling. Every time I look at it I think, “lead.”

But I spend more time in the kitchen than any other room in our house, except my office. I love to cook, I love to feed people, and I love to eat.

Here are some things I do in the kitchen that you probably don’t:

#1: I use the pizza cutter to cut burritos: If there is one gadget no family should be without it is a pizza cutter. You can nurse a baby and cut your older child’s food with one hand with a pizza cutter. You can cut pizza with a pizza cutter. We use our pizza cutter most often to cut burritos into kid-size pieces.

#2: I dump the silverware into the silverware drawer instead of sorting it: Try it. It’s a liberating experience. It’s expletive deleted awesome. It saves you time. It makes emptying the dishwasher easier. Plus my kids HATE when I do that so they inevitably sort the silverware. Just to be rebellious.

#3: I cook food in the preheating oven: It’s a well-kept secret that you don’t actually have to preheat the oven. Just set the temperature and pop the food in. I did that today with a frozen pizza and by the time the oven was preheated the cheese was nicely browned and bubbly and the pizza ready to eat.

#4: I make turmeric-spiced granola almost every time I use the oven: James, especially, eats a lot of granola. I used to make it in college and then forgot how for about twenty years. Then a woman I was interviewing for a story on energy saving ideas mentioned that an oven is more heat efficient if it has a lot of things in it and it’s easy to throw in a pan of granola. That reminded me that I knew how to make granola and I’ve been making it from scratch ever since. It’s so much cheaper and tastier than store bought granola. I usually spice mine with brain-healthy turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Our oven is lined with fire bricks to make it more heat efficient. We open it after we’re done baking and the radiant heat helps keep the house warm in the winter.

#5: I have my 9-year-old make the coffee: Athena is an amazing coffee maker. She grinds the beans in our hand grinder, heats the water in the electric kettle, and puts it all together in the French press like a pro. James is a coffee fanatic and we have a bazillion and a half coffee-making devices and then some. I drink decaf, irregularly, but am loathe to take the time to make it. (Did I mention we home roast the green coffee beans?) Athena, on the other hand, is always happy to make me a cup of coffee.

#6: I write in the family journal: We have a family journal that everyone in the family contributes to (Baby Leone has her newborn footprints in it) and that we ask house guests and friends to write in when they come visit. It’s part scrapbook, part photo album, part guest book, part drawing pad, and more. We actually keep it in the bathroom (the idea being that if you need to spend quality time in there, you also add an entry in the journal but no one but me follows that rule very closely). When the refrigerator gets too cluttered with cards and photos, I tape them into the family journal.

#7: I supply the baby with teething toys: A rubber spatula makes a great teether. As does a wooden spoon. Leone’s gums are soothed by all sorts of kitchen utensils.

What strange things do you do in your kitchen? What do you do in your kitchen that other people probably don’t?


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on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 8:43 pm and is filed under kids and food.
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