Sunday, February 3rd 2008
Messing Up. On Purpose.

Recently I’ve decided to take a whole new approach to food. Generally, I could not care less about it. Shopping for it, cooking it, serving it, eating it. Meh. Whatever. I’d love it if God would create a feature where we could just ingest whatever needed by opening our mouths every once in awhile. Like how a lot of fish subsist on plankton. That would be lovely. Just a thought, God.

So I’ve decided this idea, however brilliant, is not really high on God’s To Do list for me, and so i’ve thought more about my aversion to food tasks. And a LOT of it revolves around my kitchen. Which is ridiculous, because my kitchen is huge and beautiful, and there is no reason in the world I should not want to be in there cooking.


My kitchen is huge and beautiful.

When it is clean, i am HAPPY.

I love it when the granite countertops do not have water spots. I adore it when the ceramic tile floor has just been mopped. The sound of a running dishwasher, and the sight of sparkling kitchen SOOTHES me.

Some people have positive associations with a kitchen emanating lovely cooking smells. To me, they represent a Big Ol’ Mess in the Making. And I hate that.

I’m not a neat freak. I just love a pristine, worthless, unused kitchen. Nice, huh? Won’t that be a lovely memory for my children when they’re older? Aw, Mom. When I think of her, I think of the pretty kitchen and how special it was that she never use it….

This carries over into HOW i cook, whenever i rarely do attempt it. I try to cook using the least amount of materials (that will later have to be washed), the least amount of counter space (that will later have to be cleaned), and the least number of ingredients. This is a recipe for unhappy, nasty cooking. Really. It is. It’s like saying you want to play golf without the space, the ball, the shoes, or half the clubs. Now that’s a bad golfer. And I’m a bad cook.

There’s no reason for me to BE a bad cook. I had a southern cooking grandmother. My sister bakes like you wouldn’t believe. My mom makes the Recipes of My Childhood when she visits, and they are soooo good. My dad is a pretty good cook, too. Also, I have a deep, unexplained love for chopping. Specifically, I like to slowly and perfectly chop and slice veggies into uniform little pieces. It can take me forever, and it’s blissful.

Fortunately, the Use Nothing Philosophy does not apply in most areas of my life. Back in my scrapbooking days, I ADORED all the tools and products. I bought them all. I USED them all. I made beautiful glorious paper-y messes all over my bedroom. It didn’t bother me at all. It bothered MIke, just a little, but never me. It made me HAPPY. Those messes were pure delight.

So tonight I stepped into the clean kitchen. Took a mental snapshot. And then I messed it up.

I tried to use all the counterspace (i didn’t go through with it, but i used more than usual), and i used lots more pots/pans/stirring things than ever before. I made a huge amount of chicken that can later be used in other dishes (I have no idea what, yet), and roasted veggies and… a broth currently simmers on the island cooktop. A broth? Yes. It smells divine.

The rest of the kitchen is clean again. Mostly.

I had a conversation recently with LaLa, and she was telling me that it sicked her out completely to see rats cooking in Ratatouille. Their little rat paws (even after being sanitized in the dishwasher) just grossed her out. And that really didn’t bother me. But the messy kitchen…. that made me far more sick feeling than Rodent Chefs.

I realize my timing on this is a bit off. Currently, 225 of you are interested in winning homemade mint truffles. As in, from this kitchen. And it’s possible that out of 225 of you, some of you believe in that whole school of thought of positive emotions being a key ingredient to cooking. So let me assure you that when these mint truffles were made, the kitchen was a bustling place of pure joy. Really. A dear friend was over, she was about to have her very first baby, and we were in a rare excited so thrilled about life and love and babies and we were also online shopping for a Pack N Play. There could not have been a better intangible ingredient for those mint truffles than me on a shared Baby High, Mixed With Online Shopping.

If you believe in that sort of ingredient. Which I don’t, but I could really get into since it doesn’t sound messy at all.


7 Comments on “Messing Up. On Purpose.”

February 3rd, 2008
5:20 am

Ah I totally understand, oh how the clean kitchen can ruin a good meal (or how a good meal can ruin a clean kitchen).

February 3rd, 2008
7:27 pm

At the end of every day, no matter how messy the rest of the house might be, the kitchen must be clean. The shiny things should be shiny, and the crumbs nowhere to be found. When I turn off the light to the kitchen before going to bed, I love seeing glow of the nightlight reflecting off of the countertop. Obsessive, probably, but there is nothing worse than waking up to a messy kitchen and feeling like I am already behind with my day. So thank you for helping me to understand that I’m not crazy when I hear the relaxing sound of the dishwasher as I head upstairs to bed.

February 3rd, 2008
8:10 pm

Personally, I subscribe to the “bigger the mess, better the food” rule. A messy kitchen doesn’t bother me (unless it stays that way) as long as it’s not dirty, which to me is a completely different thing.

February 3rd, 2008
10:12 pm

What a coincidence. You just cooked chicken, and I just posted 12 ideas for using cooked chicken. ;) Don’t you just love serendipity?

February 4th, 2008
5:05 pm

This is VERY useful information. I didn’t realize your affection for a clean kitchen was getting in the way of you enjoying actually using your kitchen. Maybe you should think of it the way Seth views the magna-doodle: you draw a football, you look at it, you make it blank and clean again, you draw a football, you look at, you make it blank and clean again. (Maybe not 50 times in an hour.) But you get the idea. Your kitchen is a magna-doodle.

(Those rat-chefs really, REALLY grossed me out.)

Holy Mama! » A Super Tuesday, Indeed.
February 6th, 2008
3:18 am

[...] attitude I forced myself into the kitchen tonight. It was hard, because after Mike read this, he went in and cleaned it really well. Oops. So I made a mess and also chicken and rice. I know. [...]

February 15th, 2008
8:43 pm

Darn. just read some more. Now have to comment….( I may not get any cleaning done today.) To get out of doing birthday parties this year I told the kids we would go to Disneyland they had a deal for southern Calif residents. 2 days $66.00 course hotels and food added up to $500. but next year think I’ll use my option of saying no. I Have a 40 year old tiny kitchen that is in desperate need of a complete overhaul but whenever I get close to having enough … braces, hearing aid. med. test get it first. oh well. I don’t like to cook much so I select only 5 star quick recipes from online .Rachel Ray has a taco stew that everyone loves . thats hugh if all 4 of us love it. now to be careful as to not burn them out on it when I find a winner.Cindy

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