Spring is in the air and I know I can speak for the entire Earlywood crew when I say our excitement to trade Muck Boots in for flip flops is unparalleled! The promise of warmth, new life and green grass is becoming a reality with every passing day. Busier schedules are a reality as well, with baseball, yard work and grilling on the deck taking precedence in our rigorous schedules.
For weeks I have felt overwhelmed by the urge to clear my house of unneeded and unwanted possessions; to eliminate the chaos and prepare for a simpler, more organized summer. The mood struck particularly hard this weekend as I frantically searched for my favorite Tera Scraper while my scrambled eggs began to stick in the pan. (Ugh, burnt eggs). The extra-large drawer next to my stove which houses most of my utensils has been the bane of my culinary existence for months now. After digging through the multitude of items for the umpteenth time, it became abundantly clear; there were too many utensils and not enough cooks in my kitchen.
- Severely overloaded utensil drawer.
I couldn’t help but look at the array of utensils with disdain, partially blaming them for the uninspired meals I’d been serving lately. (Cheese quesadilla anyone)? How, may I ask, is a cook to prepare a light, fluffy omelet while wielding a melted plastic spatula as her sword? How can delicate spring greens be transformed into an ennobling first course when they are served from the gnashing jaws of cheap metal tongs? It was time to reclaim the inspired beauty with which I had once prepared food; it was time to purge the utensil drawer.
- Old, disgusting utensils.
Professional organizers tout a myriad of techniques to sort through and organize your belongings. A popular Japanese consultant urges one to physically hold each item in their home, begging the question “does this bring me joy”? Others argue a timed approach to clearing clutter is most effective. From the spiritual to the ultra-structured, what we choose to surround ourselves with is ultimately a reflection of the life we hope to lead.
My decision-making process on which utensils to keep and which to discard was guided by some pretty basic questions.
- Is it useful? More often than not, I found a large overlap in the functionality of different items. (I’m looking at you garlic press! Who wants to clean out those tiny perforations when a good old-fashioned knife makes quick work of chopping this essential allium)? If another, more universal tool gets the job done, stick with that.
- Is it broken or outdated? While I hate to admit it, I found a cheap, scratchy, wooden spoon hiding next to my gorgeous Jatoba Server. The poor quality of this item, exacerbated by the fact that I regularly put it through the dishwasher cycle, made it stick out like a donkey at the Kentucky Derby. Cue- trashcan.
- Do I even like this? When I use my ebony scraper, it feels like I’m creating something special to eat, something to be savored, something like my mom would make. Transferring that warm, fuzzy feeling to food is a way to deeply nourish those you love in the most basic sense. Sayonara melted plastic spatulas!
What remained at the conclusion of the sorting was a serene space of culinary joy. I felt satisfied that I had curated such a charming yet serviceable collection of utensils. While our clutter comes in different shapes (grandma’s insistence on saving every glass jar that ever held a pickle) and sizes (really do we need another pair of Christmas socks?) getting down to the essence of what and why we retain our possessions can be liberating. I understand that conquering my utensil drawer is a far cry from concocting a perfectly set creme brulee, but, nonetheless, I was left feeling lighter and more adept; clear of mind and palette. I was left feeling a little bit inspired.
- Inspired radicchio salad with lemon-caper dressing
Happy spring cleaning!