Friday, January 21, 2011

A Messy Chef

I've come to the conclusion that I cannot work neatly.
Last night, my husband and I (well, mostly my husband) cleaned up the kitchen till it was spotless.
Today, it wasn't nearly as neat. (Understatement of the year!)

Here's how my kitchen looks when it's clean.

A quick look in my kitchen though on a regular day would make you think it hadn't been cleaned in at least a week.

Why's my kitchen such a mess?

Well, I do things in my kitchen. If my meals involved taking things out of the freezer, baking them in disposable pans, and then eating them with disposable dishes, my place would look a lot cleaner.
Even if my meals were cooked like the average person cooked, my place would be a lot neater.
But since I'm usually making everything from scratch, some of which are very messy processes, my kitchen 2 hours ago looked like this.

This picture makes it look neater than it did. You can't see the mess in the
 rest of the room, and the glare minimizes the effect of the mess.

What made the huge mess today?
Well, today in my kitchen I:

  • Soaked wild fennel and washed it, then put the clean ones on a plate before boiling them for 5 minutes, straining them and setting aside the cooked fennel for the next step, and the strained water to be used for tea.
    Dishes used: two large bowls, one plate, one pot, one strainer, one container, and one pitcher.
    Other mess: spilled fennel water, bits and bobs of fennel fronds, dirt from the fennel.
  • Made wild fennel cakes wrapped in chicken breast. That entailed taking the fennel from step one, chopping it up into little pieces, mixing it with ground seitan (made yesterday) and homemade breadcrumbs (from the freezer) and eggs and seasoning, then took a chicken breast, cut it into thin strips, and wrapped them around the fennel cakes and baked them.
    Dishes used: kitchen scissors, one large container, one spoon, one cutting board, and one sharp knife.
    Other mess: chicken grease, egg shells, spices taken out, etc.
  • Made fenugreek salad. Fenugreek seeds soaked in water in a container, water poured off, whizzed seeds in a blender, added water, peeled and added garlic and lemon, as well as cumin, salt, and parsley, then put in another container for storage.
    Dishes used: one container, one cup, one blender, one knife, lemon juicer, one spatula to remove things from blender.
    Other mess: spices taken out, garlic peels, lemon peels.
  • Cleaned, sorted and froze some salvaged fennel bulb bits, and made the rest into a salad.
    Dishes used: three large bowls, one cutting board, one knife.
    Other mess: dirt, icky scraps of fennel.
  • Made dinner rolls.
    Dishes used: two measuring cups, measuring spoons, one large bowl, one sifter, one mixing spoon, one cup, one pastry brush, one oven tray.
    Other mess: flour on the counter, egg shells, ingredients out.
  • Made mallow and potato soup. Involved defrosting and cleaning chicken gizzards, boiling them, washing, cleaning, checking, and chopping mallow leaves, peeling, cutting, and frying onions and garlic, washing and chopping potatoes, and boiling it all together.
    Dishes used: one container, two large bowls, one plate, kitchen scissors, one knife, one cutting board, one frying pan, one pot.
    Other mess: dirt, chicken grease, mallow scraps, onion and garlic peels, potato scraps, ingredients out.
  • Harvested pine nuts from pine cones. Involved toasting pine cones, whacking the pine cones into a wall, taking the winged seeds from the cone, separating the wings from the seeds, and then de-seeding the pine nuts.
    Dishes used: one bowl, one oven tray, one container.
    Other mess: pine cone bits all over the house, wings everywhere, seeds everywhere, shells everywhere.
Ok, there probably were many other things that went on that I forgot to mention. But yes, all this makes a huge mess!!! There were 44 dishes alone, most of them really large, so they didn't all fit into the sink at one time even!
And this was all from food preparation! Dishes made after eating all the food is even more!

Oh, in case you were wondering, the kitchen is pretty clean now, aside for all the dishes drying.

I'd love some advice. How do you do so many of these processes without making a huge mess? I'm usually doing 5 million things at once (soaking the fenugreek and having the bread rise while I'm toasting the pine cones and washing the fennel and cooking the gizzards all simultaneously, for example, today), which is why I don't do one thing, then clean that up, then move on to the next thing... 
Do you make messes in the kitchen? How many dishes do you usually make? Or do you somehow know how to do so many things and keep the kitchen neat in the process?

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