Terry’s outside building a spice rack (HUZZAH!!) to contain the pints, half pints, and 4oz jars all nicely filled with an assortment of herbs, spices and oddments.
I am taking a break from emptying, pitching and tossing, and reloading the pantry and kitchen hutch. Everything is nicely organized. I have learned a crucial lesson in all this work: I need clear containers. I must be able to see what I have, or I’ll forget about it. Finding 3 containers of red quinoa and 2 of Thai bird chilies and an entire QUART of hungarian paprika drove this point home. So, no more sleek and modern stainless canisters. I gave them all to Terry for whatever he wants them for. My goodies are now stored in assorted clear glass jars with screw on lids. Wide mouthed jars, all of them, to faciliate measuring without pouring. I can just scoop it out because another lesson learned is whenever you try to pour certain things that logic says pouring is acceptable, it will have clumped together somewhat and the whole mass comes out and spills everywhere. This is particularly true of ground pepper/paprika. Oh. I also found 3 containers of whole black pepper…enough to fill a quart jar. Fortunately all sorts of pepper and paprika get used all the time around here, so it won’t go stale.
I cleaned the fridge and freezer as well. Fortunately there wasn’t that much to throw away. I don’t like wasting food but if something is freezer burned or there’s not enough for a meal, keeping it is a waste of space. I found some forgotten but happy-making frozen goodies in the form of kaffir lime leaves, basil and lemongrass. Kaffir lime went through a blight a few years ago and the leaves were precious hard to find, so when they *were* available I’d buy more than necessary and freeze them.
So now the pantry is organized, all the shi…er…stuff is off the top of the fridge with the exception of some pretty metal cracker boxes (filled with good snacks), all the glass jar are lined up on the hutch, looking kinda “country housewife” and accessible. Now I can look at them and go “hm…purple barley or black rice? White or yellow grits?” instead of wondering what I have and feeling too discouraged to look for it and falling back on some boring white rice. The fridge is clean, the freezer is orderly with the fruit here, the fresh herbs there, meat on this shelf, breads on that one…Order is pleasing.
Order is, for me, necessary for creativity. If I can see what I have, know where to find things, and have a pleasant place to work, it’s exciting to get into a project. If I don’t have to clean up a mess first, or hunt everything down, it’s a fantastic stimulating way to get crackin’.