New Year’s Resolutions–Ten Tips for a Happier Kitchen

January 9, 2012


New Year’s is always a time for new resolutions.  Here are ten tips to help you enjoy 2012 more in your kitchen.

10.  Clean out that junk drawer.  You know the one I mean.  It’s the one that collects everything from fast food utensils to an ice pick that Uncle Arnie left at your house ten years ago.  You’ll be able to find things more easily.

9.  Make friends at a local hardware store.  Ask them if they sharpen knives or know someone who does.  You won’t find this at big box stores, but at the locally owned place.  Get your knives sharpened.  A sharp knife is a joy to use. A dull knife is more likely to cut you!

8.  You know the drawer where your storage containers reside?  Match up tops with bottoms.  Non-matchers get pitched. While you are at it, get rid of the stained and warper containers as well.

7.  Resolve to really clean your nonstick skillets.  Iknow.  It is easy to just swipe with a damp sponge. The trouble is that eventually, the non-stick loses its slipperiness due to a build up of food material in the porous surface of the pan. Use hot water, soap and a sponge and really clean those pans. They will work better.

6.  Take a look in your freezer.  A good look. Resolve that freezer burned meat and poultry get the heave-ho, along with that unidentified thing you were going to use for broth sometime two years ago.

5.  Your spice rack.  Yes, the one in the back of the pantry. Spices deteriorate (except salt, which seems to last pretty much forever).  Throw out the ones with the faded labels. They don’t taste good anyway.  Resolve to buy smaller quantities going forward, unless you are making the same dish over and over.

4.  Resolve to be creative.  After 30 years of boiling cabbage, I recently discovered a new way to cook it with very little water, a tiny amount of olive oil, and some finely crushed garlic.  It was like discovery of an entirely  new vegetable.

3.  Try some baking in 2012.  There are a number of creative ways to combine butter, flour and sugar into basic cookies that can be decorated and made into a number of recipes.  A good stand mixer makes this much easier than hand held mixers.  Saves money too!

2.  Penzeys Spices has a bumper sticker which says “Love people…cook them tasty food”.  It is true.  One of the most creative ways we can express our love for our families is with good food which is nutritious and warming. Resolve to express your love for family and friends with good food in 2012.

1. Last, but not least.  Don’t be hard on yourself.  Every good cook has memorable “failures”.  In cooking as in life, if you don’t try something adventuresome you may escape failure, but you’ll miss out on a lot.  This year, resolve you’ll try something you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to!