January 15, 2009

Bon Appetit!

I just got back from a Washington DC visit where I was able to check out some of the Smithsonian museums at the mall. At the Museum of American History, their is a replica of Julia Child's kitchen with many other replicas (wine cellar list, tools, recipes, handwritten notes) with a looping DVD of some of her cooking shows. It was my favorite exhibit if simply to remind me that food is at the center of almost everything we do (as in hopefully we all eat at some point during the day). Yet food and cooking is slowly becoming a lost art, be it scheduling conflicts, lack of interest, or lack of skill. Yet, cooking is worth it!

The kitchen replica was practical, where pots and pans were next to the stove and oven; pegboards hung many kitchen tools and gadgets, and were in easy reach of whatever kitchen task was being performed. Maple counters made chopping and cutting an easy experience, while steel countertops next to the the stove made it easy to move hot things in and out. It was light and airy (sounds stupid, i know) but overall a welcoming place to be. It got me thinking about small things that can be done to make cooking easier and a much more pleasant experience.

While I love cooking, I never gave it much thought in how you set up a kitchen to streamline the entire process. Placement of food items in the fridge and cupboards matter, counterspace matters, garbage location matters, and location of hot pads and oven mitts matters.

Personally, I've taught a number of cooking classes, and have never stopped to talk about kitchen set-up. I can spit out grocery shopping techniques, budgeting techniques, and food prep/meal planning. Julia Child was a huge inspiration and gift to American culinary culture and history. She made cooking and drinking accessible, easy, practical, and fun.

My next few posts will be dedicated to setting up a kitchen to make it an easier, more accessible experience. Bon Appetit!

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