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Thinking about my essay for today, I looked up the etymology of the word “eliminate.” It comes from the Latin for going out from the threshold, exiting the limits. An antonym for the word is “include,” which comes from the Latin for closing in. These things made me think about my kitchen and pantry, where I spend so much of my time, and how I include or eliminate items.
When I work in my kitchen, I want to be able to move quickly. I love to cook, and I have a large family so I cook a lot, and I want to know exactly where everything is. Nothing is more annoying to me when I am cooking than not being able to put out my hand and locate the tool or ingredient I need.
I don’t have a lot of fancy tools. I have good knives in a knife block and lots of cutting boards, but just as importantly I have the right pots and pans for the kind of food I make located just to hand. Nineteen things don’t fall out when I grab my baking dish. I don’t have space in my mind or in my life to have things in the kitchen that I don’t need. My rolling pin, pastry cutter, potato peeler, bottle opener, whisk, spatula, coffee scoop, measuring spoons, rice scooper, all have designated places. I could locate them blindfolded. And my children, who wash up and put away the dishes, also know where everything is and where it goes.
Sure, I have a roasting pan for a turkey, but how often do I need that? It lives in my basement because I want to keep it. However, the muffin tins that always burnt the popovers? Eliminated. The Christmas present “magic” tool for garlic with seventeen intricate parts that all need to be washed each time it is used and doesn’t work better than a good paring knife? Eliminated.
Some months back I had a blessing of time and was able to spend a weekend going through seventeen years of accumulation in my kitchen. Even though I was pretty good going along at getting rid of what was not needed, my basic organization needed tweaking and deep storage needed to be rousted out for cleaning and reassessment. I still feel the joy in my spirit knowing that I solved the problem of where to keep the Cuisinart, and that the hand mixer now is right where I want it to be.
What do you need to eliminate from your kitchen or home? What do you wish you could include?