Let’s face it, the act of cooking is tricky.
You may know all the right recipes. You may have all the right ingredients. Those are all part of a “plan.” Everyone knows the plan. You share recipes. You go shopping for specific ingredients and tell your friends where to find them. You share your own personal version or the plan, and silently choose one non-stick cooking spray over another. Knowing the plan, and having what the plan requires is the shared experience of cooking.
The execution of this plan, however, is an intensely personal experience. With the plan in hand, you are now left with your utensils, your counter space, your bowls, your small appliances, the peculiarities of your oven, the staging area of your kitchen, and don’t forget your entire family and life swirling around you.
Stay Cool, Calm and Collected
The act of cooking has been compared to juggling flaming chainsaws. Almost every utensil you can have in your hand is capable of hurting someone. Almost every pot and pan you are holding can burn someone if mishandled. That’s just the stuff you’re holding. Ever drop a knife on the kitchen floor? You instinctively bunny-hop backward as if to narrowly avoid a snapping, bear-trap. I walked into an open refrigerator door holding a roasting pan this past Thanksgiving.
The execution of the plan is a twisting, turning “Kitchen Dance” of many steps, excellent technique, impeccable timing, sufficient agility, and the presence of mind to think on your feet and change course when the plan goes sideways. Add to this the fact that you may be dodging pets, keeping one eye and one ear on children – you may as well be hopping on one foot.
There is also something to be said for “countdown cooking.” Knowing that the oven will turn off when the timer runs out provides some level of comfort. Nothing is foolproof. We’ve all burned popcorn in a microwave. But the countdown timer can limit the amount of damage you could do – as opposed to transforming food into coal in your big oven.
Invest in Dependable Appliances
Consider appliances as individuals. It may be more convenient to simply order an entire kitchen from one brand, but is it the best decision for you? A lackluster over-the-range microwave oven in a kitchen suite is a good example. Perhaps a more attractive chimney-style hood and a Sharp Microwave Drawer would serve you better? Consider the cooktop. Smooth electric and induction cooktops are basically “sheets of black glass” regardless of the brand. Choose your cooking technology, and then make the most economical choice – they all match.
When I open the door on my big oven, not only am I bent over, I also completely block the walk-way though the kitchen… usually at the exact moment when everyone needs to get through. When you are doing the delicately choreographed “Kitchen Dance,” with or without a partner, simplicity is key.
The Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven keeps everything at the perfect height. This low-profile oven heats up instantly and has become an everyday oven for me. If you are looking for more than just a toaster oven, this is the answer.
Store More with Less
There is a misconception that to organize your kitchen, you need to completely remodel it. While a kitchen renovation is always an option, there are many cost-effective solutions to organize your kitchen; some of the most common being drawer dividers, labeled glass jars, and a spice rack.
The best way to decluttering and organizing your kitchen is to first decide what you’re most chaotic areas are and work from there. Many DIY solutions do not require installations; in fact, they usually require everyday items you may already have. Consider incorporating pull-out storage into your modern living room and kitchen cabinets as an efficient way to organize and access treats that mysteriously find their way into your kitchen cabinet.
Choose Your Recipes Ahead
When I am entertaining, I try to steer clear of cooking heavy dishes like lasagna, stuffed shells, or any pasta with a creamy sauce because it doesn’t go over well with guests, and I have a sensitivity to dairy products. To keep my kitchen as clean as physically possible while my guests are over, I prep all of the ingredients I will need the night before. This takes a significant amount of stress out of my routine the day of an event. Discovering recipes that appeal to every guest’s tastebuds is not always easy, especially when you like to experiment with flavors in the kitchen as I do. I always recommend pulling inspiration from your favorite Pinterest board and tweaking to your liking. I’ve included some of my recent favorites below.