Monday, July 8, 2013

Clean as you go

I have a small kitchen. Why? It is a very simple answer: when I moved in this house, almost five years ago, cooking was my last priority. I was not even able to cook anything else but an egg. And to clumsily cut some tomatoes. 
Times changed and I have created a new space in my little library for the cooking books. I go daily to check the latest fresh fruits and vegetables at the local stores and, more importantly, I cook and bake almost daily (proof my gorgeous cheesecake waiting to be tasted tomorrow early in the morning).
But my kitchen is still small (as many of the German kitchen are, at least most of the Berlin ones are like that) and when I need to prepare some of my lunches or suppers, I should use the living room table for having enough space to cut, arrange, mix and melt all the ingredients of complicated cakes or salads.
Predictably, I should cope with a lot of cleaning emergencies that will help me to prevent the kitchen mood to enter the rest of the house. Take, for instance, the Fridays, the busiest days for cooking, when I need to get ready in due time and to prepare a menu of at least 3 meals, for 5+persons aimed to last for 2 days. A lot of work and a lot of cleaning. 
As I need to be ready in time and I love order, I try as much as possible to clean on the spot. I don't let the spots till change into a crust and cannot be removed easily. Once I see the dirt, I clean it and continue the work. For a multi-tasking person as me, there it is not such a big problem to interrupt the cooking for a while and continue focusing on the ingredients. I always keep some whipped creams on my side or a wet sponge and in a couple of seconds I am able to be back at work. Cooking on a clean table is similarly for me with working on a desk where all the books and papers are in order and I know what to take from where. When I finish with one meal I clean immediately the dishes and bowls and other tools used during the preparation. It may take another extra 5 minutes, but again, it is better that I see everything in order and clean. There it is also a practical reason to do so: once I see the dirt it is better that I do the cleaning as soon as possible as one meal after I may completely forget where should I clean properly. 
With more cooking books and ideas of recipes for the next weeks, and new tools bought for the kitchen, I am more and more concerned about the lack of proper space. Wherever I will be sooner or later, I will continue to keep the good habits of cleaning as I go - where do I go? to the next stage in my cooking life. 

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