Sunday, March 18, 2007

Living Kitchen


One of the life lessons I seem to need to revisit on a constant basis has to do with organization, or cleaning..or maybe the relationship between both areas. I convince myself that if I find the right system, everything will take care of itself. As I am writing this I am looking at a clean kitchen. Dinner was over about half an hour ago and the dirty dishes are in the dishwasher and the counters are scrubbed. Actually, the kitchen usually looks decent...but then there are those horrible moments when I wake up and realize the dishwasher needs to be emptied and the sink and counter are full of dirty dishes and I wonder...how in the world did this cyclone pass through again?

I had another version of the "cyclone wake-up" this afternoon when I opened the refrigerator. The shelves were packed and I had no idea what was there. I opened the vegetable drawer and found a rotted eggplant I bought probably three weeks ago. Organic parsnips were starting to wilt with dehydration. Beets were stuffed into a tiny space on a top shelf of the refrigerator where jars of condiments are usually located. I bought them over a week ago and forgot about them until today. A big bag of curly endive is blocking the view of everything else.

I like to live with a certain level of spontaneity. I don't want to eat meals planned days in advance. I want to shop for what "looks good." I want to go to my kitchen and create what "calls" to me. I need to find a way to marry my creative urges with a need to know what supplies are on hand and just how messy and time consuming a particular cooking escapade is going to be.

It's complicated. I want easy solutions...and maybe that's how I get nailed. I expect a foolproof system to organize shopping, storing, preparing meals and clean-up. I assume I won't need to think...it will just be done.

Keeping a kitchen stocked and ready for creation is not the same as keeping a bathroom stocked and clean. Extra towels, soap, shampoo and toilet paper are easy to restock. Fruits and vegetables wilt and rot, meat or fish goes bad when I don't pay attention to storage and timing.
Food is all about living.

Maintaining a good relationship with food is like keeping a good relationship with any other living being. These relationships require awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness to stay on course, to be sustaining.

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