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Elimination: Crossing the Threshold

 

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?

Published in Group Writing
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There are 16 comments.

  1. Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Post author

    I didn’t comment on @fredcole‘s post the other day on plasticware, but I do want to say that his advice is sound, although I don’t follow it myself. 

    I have two rectangular baskets, one with bins, the other with lids, instead. It works for us and I rarely have any troubles with matching.

    But the idea of eliminating the crud and only keeping the matching set is a very good one.

    • #1
    • November 4, 2018 at 2:51 am
    • 2 likes
  2. Moderator
    She

    I “did” my kitchen several years ago, from the ground up, and one of the things I’m proudest of, speaking of containers and lids, is the place I made for my pots and pans. I’ve never, ever, had a place to put the lids, and nothing has worked, from the “hanging overhead from a pot rack” effect, to the “in a cabinet” strategy. I threw away almost all my former stock, paid a cost-effective visit to the annual All-Clad factory sale at the Washington County Fairgrounds (All Clad’s headquarters is in Canonsburg, also the home town of Perry Como and Bobby Vinton, just down the road), bought what several websites told me was the basic and necessary set of pots and pans, and built this to store them (there are two “tracks” for the lids, so they can store behind each other). I love it:

    • #2
    • November 4, 2018 at 3:13 am
    • 12 likes
  3. Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Post author

    Hooray for She! She is an inspiration. Even my fifteen year old thinks that is cool.

    • #3
    • November 4, 2018 at 3:15 am
    • 4 likes
  4. Moderator
    She

    As far as what I’d like to eliminate–junk mail. Some days, most days, it’s all junk mail (I’m on all the “do not send me junk mail” lists). I wish there were a way to get rid of it that didn’t involve some conscious agency or action on my part. Currently thinking of a garbage can outside, at the door I use the most (using one more consistently, now the other is jammed shut due to subsidence), and I would just shove the JM in there on my way into the house. Then, on garbage day, I just gather up the plastic bag inside the trash can, and throw it out with the rest of my trash. Any other ideas?

    • #4
    • November 4, 2018 at 3:20 am
    • 4 likes
  5. Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Post author

    I have a box, that I have had for more than 20 years, into which I place my junk mail, along with all the other paper recycling. It all goes in there until it all goes in the recycling bin and all goes away once a week. That way it does not clog the garbage can.

    My son The Boy likes to open up the religious junk mail and extract the coins or cheap medals or return address labels or whatever. He has been moved to send money to some of these organizations, and so now we get junk mail for him too.

    I once worked in bulk mail — selling our list was a significant source of revenue for the not-for-profit pro-life group I worked for, so I have both sympathy and cynicism for these desperate pleas.

    • #5
    • November 4, 2018 at 3:27 am
    • 6 likes
  6. Thatcher

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad: What do you need to eliminate from your kitchen

    I’d like to move out everything not directly related to cooking. This means the good china and tablecloths, candlestick holders, flower vases, spare light bulbs, etc.

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad: What do you wish you could include?

    A large-as-can-fit flat screen TV so I can watch football while I cook!

    • #6
    • November 4, 2018 at 5:37 am
    • 5 likes
  7. Member

    We are about to move into a new house, so we (well, more accurately, Mrs. Tabby) has many decisions about where to put things in the new kitchen. The move also prompted a further elimination of kitchen stuff she doesn’t use, though she has always kept the accumulation to a minimum.

    Her biggest kitchen desire is counter space. The new house has enormous counter space. While waiting for our new house to be completed we have spent four months living in a small apartment with minimal kitchen counter space, so the contrast when we finish the move will be pleasurable. Mrs. Tabby is very strict about keeping things from accumulating on the counter (in sharp contrast with my brother’s wife who keeps many decorative things on her kitchen counter).

     

    • #7
    • November 4, 2018 at 7:03 am
    • 6 likes
  8. Contributor

    Another wonderful article, for this month’s theme “Elimination.” Getting rid of those gimmicky, special purpose kitchen tools I’ll never use—yes!

    The clever, and aesthetically pleasing pots and pans storage system @she showed us in the comments, reminds me of my parents’ pantry, in which two walls have white peg board, with hooks you can move around between peg holes, arranging all the pots and the lids.


    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under November’s theme of Elimination. There are plenty of dates still available. Perhaps someone will even offer a page from the diary of a hitman, purely fictional of course. Or maybe we will read about eliminating excess inventory. Hmm, inventory control specialist by day, hitman by night? Sounds like a TV drama? What about those ads? You know what I’m talking about—even the Charmin bears! The possibilities are endless, Ricochet cool cats! Why not tell us about it and start a conversation. Our schedule and sign-up sheet awaitsCaveat: Given the theme, please keep in mind the basic rules of R>. As you polish your little masterpiece, do ensure that it stays within the refined edge of tacky. As a heads’ up, our December theme will be Veneration. I’ll post the sign-up sheet mid-month.

    • #8
    • November 4, 2018 at 1:28 pm
    • 3 likes
  9. Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    My son The Boy likes to open up the religious junk mail and extract the coins or cheap medals or return address labels or whatever. He has been moved to send money to some of these organizations, and so now we get junk mail for him too.

    I once worked in bulk mail — selling our list was a significant source of revenue for the not-for-profit pro-life group I worked for, so I have both sympathy and cynicism for these desperate pleas.

    I have sympathy for fundraising mail, but I draw the line at the manipulative and wasteful practice of mailing coins with a plea to “please send these back.” No. I have an ironclad rule: if you mail me coins, you will not get a donation from me, period.

    • #9
    • November 4, 2018 at 2:00 pm
    • 6 likes
  10. Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Post author

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):
    I have an ironclad rule: if you mail me coins, you will not get a donation from me, period.

    I agree. The cynical wins out over the sympathetic here every time. What a pathetic ploy. 

    • #10
    • November 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm
    • 5 likes
  11. Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Post author

    Joseph, since my son likes to open the junk mail, I usually toss the cheap medals into a box which I plan to bury someday of broken sacramentals and odd holy cards left in the back of the church. They are probably not blessed, but still.

    • #11
    • November 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm
    • 6 likes
  12. Contributor

    Everyone can be thankful that @cbtoderakamamatoad spared us my threatened post of 1980s big hair pop. You know I would have worked it into an elimination round competition of some sort. 

    • #12
    • November 4, 2018 at 2:14 pm
    • 4 likes
  13. Contributor

    She (View Comment):

    As far as what I’d like to eliminate–junk mail. Some days, most days, it’s all junk mail (I’m on all the “do not send me junk mail” lists). I wish there were a way to get rid of it that didn’t involve some conscious agency or action on my part. Currently thinking of a garbage can outside, at the door I use the most (using one more consistently, now the other is jammed shut due to subsidence), and I would just shove the JM in there on my way into the house. Then, on garbage day, I just gather up the plastic bag inside the trash can, and throw it out with the rest of my trash. Any other ideas?

    Wait, wait, is this the start of your post for the 5th? The problem just accelerates every election season.

    • #13
    • November 4, 2018 at 2:48 pm
    • 3 likes
  14. Member

    She (View Comment):

    I “did” my kitchen several years ago, from the ground up, and one of the things I’m proudest of, speaking of containers and lids, is the place I made for my pots and pans. I’ve never, ever, had a place to put the lids, and nothing has worked, from the “hanging overhead from a pot rack” effect, to the “in a cabinet” strategy. I threw away almost all my former stock, paid a cost-effective visit to the annual All-Clad factory sale at the Washington County Fairgrounds (All Clad’s headquarters is in Canonsburg, also the home town of Perry Como and Bobby Vinton, just down the road), bought what several websites told me was the basic and necessary set of pots and pans, and built this to store them (there are two “tracks” for the lids, so they can store behind each other). I love it:

    /swoon/

    I am an organizational mess. My mom was teasing me recently that I was organized, but nothing was put away.

    I was complaining that the cupboards and drawers were inadequate to putting stuff away and keeping it organized. What if I can’t find it?

    Some spaces are better than they were and I have systems that are working in some places, but my kitchen is a mystery. I have high shelves that should (conceivably) store rarely used items. They are also too shallow for the holiday decorative bowls I want to store there!

    Ugh… I’ll figure it out eventually.

    • #14
    • November 6, 2018 at 10:33 am
    • 3 likes
  15. Member

    I have a PO Box, junk mail gets sorted into their recycle bin before it even gets in the car.

    I keep the religious stuff for my daughter who teaches at a Catholic school. She uses some for her prize box, and some goes on to the ‘free’ table for other teachers. Same with the extra envelopes from cards I don’t want, pens, notepads, and stickers. I donate to one Indian school that regularly sends dream catchers – they are definitely in demand.

    As to my kitchen – fhuggetaboudit.

    • #15
    • November 6, 2018 at 12:36 pm
    • 4 likes
  16. Thatcher

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    My son The Boy likes to open up the religious junk mail and extract the coins or cheap medals or return address labels or whatever. He has been moved to send money to some of these organizations, and so now we get junk mail for him too.

    I once worked in bulk mail — selling our list was a significant source of revenue for the not-for-profit pro-life group I worked for, so I have both sympathy and cynicism for these desperate pleas.

    I have sympathy for fundraising mail, but I draw the line at the manipulative and wasteful practice of mailing coins with a plea to “please send these back.” No. I have an ironclad rule: if you mail me coins, you will not get a donation from me, period.

    Especially when they plead, “We need every penny.”

    Well then don’t send me a penny!

    • #16
    • November 7, 2018 at 4:41 am
    • 1 like