Regular readers of my blog will know that I have certain… kitchen issues. For some reason or another, although I never scrutinize the cutlery in restaurants or at other people’s houses, when it comes to my own kitchen– the kitchen I am expected to cook in and eat out of on a daily basis– I prefer to use my own dishes. The special ones. And although I could care less about the bread pans used in local bakeries or whether the cupcake shop uses metal, glass, or plastic mixing bowls to whip up their confections, I’d be hard pressed to bake anything of my own using mixing bowls or baking trays that weren’t mine. You know… the special ones. (Thankfully, this peculiarity of mine extends only to the culinary domain. I am remarkably easy to please when it comes to bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms. Is it logical of me to protest drinking out of somebody else’s crockery mug but happily sleep in their bed? Obviously not, but they don’t call it an obsessive compulsive disorder for nothing.)
It goes without saying that, when we moved into our furnished cabin a month ago, I insisted on bringing our own “kitchen things” along. Both the landlords and the previous tenant here raved about how wonderfully stocked the kitchen already was, but I wasn’t convinced. Sure, there was a blender in the cupboard, but was it a Vita-Mix blender? Probably not. And yes, there were pots, pans, baking trays, and even a crock pot at our disposal, but were they dreaded aluminum pots? Were there remnants of other people’s food still crusted onto the baking trays and on the sides of the crock pot? Probably. Hence, I packed up our kitchen “essentials” and assessed the situation for myself upon moving in.
Obviously, this wonderfully stocked kitchen did not live up to my impossibly stringent standards. (Greasy plates and suspiciously-spotted cups, as a rule, do not make the grade, even in a summer cottage.) I ended up photographing all of the cupboards and drawers as though I were fully documenting a crime scene, carefully removing all of the items from the shelves, lovingly (and thoroughly) cleaning the insides of everything with my special all-natural cleanser… and then putting my own dishes back in. All of the pre-supplied items– piles of plates, bowls, and saucers; extra lightbulbs; enough forks and spoons to last a whole year before washing; a popcorn machine; pyrex measuring cups; ice cube trays; plastic wine goblets; plastic-feeling dish towels; a lifetime’s supply of aluminum foil; aluminum-laden pots; scarily-encrusted baking tins; a sad little blender; barbecue tongs; and way more cheaply made fly swatters than I deemed necessary for the winter, fly-free months– were packed into boxes and tucked away in the deep recesses of the loft. (By the way? LOVE THE LOFT. We have turned one side of it into a gigantic storage area where things go to be forgotten until April. The other, secluded side of the loft has been transformed into a tranquil meditation corner.) When the time comes to move out again, I’ll use my photos as reference and arrange everything in the kitchen as though nothing had ever been moved, used, or even touched. I’m diligent like that.
It took me a whole day of scrubbing, packing, cursing, arranging, and generally toiling to get the kitchen into its new order. (To put things in perspective, Marty managed to clean the entire rest of the cabin in the time it took me to get the kitchen up to (my) (ridiculous) par.) Everything was worth it, though. Sure, I don’t enjoy cleaning other people’s stoves and ovens, but it sure feels great cooking on a mostly spotless stove top or pulling a delicious Berry Oat Cake from the now-impeccable oven. Both Marty and I have remarked on a number of occasions how nice it is to be eating off our own plates and spooning soup out of our own bowls. (Perhaps these kitchen issues are contagious? If so, I fear for Marty’s sanity.) Making almond milk every week in our own Vita-Mix blender feels like a blessing. Everything feels right.
The figurative “icing on top” came on the day when I simultaneously discovered a small farm down the street selling free-range eggs (yes!) and a local kitchen scraps composting service (double geeky YES!). Once I get going in the kitchen– which is now– most of the “garbage” we produce is organic waste, so it feels awesome to have the kitchen scraps composted for a ridiculously modest fee ($6 for 48 Litres of kitchen scraps. Cheap!)
It feels like home.