Tag Archives: clutter

The big questions of life

Alright folks. I need your help here. See, I live in an apartment with very little storage space in the kitchen.

Thanks to my parents and a timely trip to Ikea, a butcher’s block and a metal shelf have given us a little more room to stash our kitchen loot.

But as you can see, we’re not exactly swimming in space, especially when food prep is going on. (By the way, that’s One-Skillet Pasta Quattro Formaggi in the works, recipe forthcoming.)

My spice collection alone takes up the entire top section of the grid we built to serve as our ‘pantry.’

In fact, we had to move our microwave, mugs, tea supplies and coffee maker into the dining room because there’s simply no more room in the kitchen.

I’m a firm believer in non-gadgetry. Okay, maybe a semi-firm believer. But I really don’t want to clutter up my kitchen with appliances and kitchen fad gadgets I don’t use. That’s why the lazy Susan had to go. That’s why the George Foreman had to go. I simply didn’t use them.

However, I’ve been dreaming. And this dream includes a beautiful vision of a food processor (Cuisinart or KitchenAid). I’ve been going back and forth in my mind–will I use it enough to make it worth the space? Here are the things I would probably use it for: making Thai curry pastes; making Indian curry pastes; throwing together a pie crust with a few pulses; making wet rubs to slather on meat; making tapenades; making pesto.

Now I have done almost all these things either by hand or with a combination of knives, my mortar and pestle, and my blender. But see, this one machine would do it all! And–I think–save me time.

I really don’t know. I really just don’t know. I really, really, just don’t know (Monty Python, anyone?).

So I’m reaching out to you. I know I count many amazing (and some professional) cooks among my readers and friends, so please tell me: do you own a food processor? How often do you use it? Do I need one?

I really can’t make up my mind.


Helplessly Indecisive in the Kitchen (Chicago, IL)

January purging part 2: 111 things in 1/11

Welcome to the continuation of this journey my friend Jenny of Words on Wendhurst so lovingly roped me into–read here for part 1.

The goal for any newbies out there: to get rid of 111 things during the month of January. I figure if I can do about 30 per week, I’ll be on track to exceed that goal. This week was frightening. An emotionally vulnerable time, so to speak. See, I had set up a goal for myself to start going through my old college papers.

They’ve been sitting in this bin for years.

And years. And years.

Why have I kept them? Let me explain my rationale to the unenlightened:

1) I keep telling myself I may be a teacher one day. And if I teach a course in French phonetics or The British Novel, referencing my old syllabi and assignments could be really helpful! Right? Though let’s see . . . since I graduated, I’ve been a sales rep. A sales manager. And an office manager. French phonetics, though near and dear to my heart, has played no role in my day-to-day life. Or year-to-year life. Or any part of my life, really.

2) I form emotional attachments with the things into which I invest energy. And college was definitely one of those things! Plus, if I get rid of this stuff, how will I ever prove what a great student I was?? Because if there’s one thing people I meet are always demanding, it’s: “Were you a good student? Well prove it! Let’s see those original graded papers!” It comes right after the “Hi, what’s your name?” question. Yup.

And, like, when they interview you for a job, doesn’t your potential employer always ask for some of your old compositions, both the draft and the final paper?

Look! This dude said I wrote a brilliant paper!

And check this out–I did something musical here. Some kind of analysis, by the looks of it.

Not even I can interpret what the heck it means anymore.

But I may need it someday to prove something to someone.

Like, maybe to myself? When I start forgetting that my grey matter once had abilities? Opinions? Structured arguments roiling within?

Uh huh.

Let it go, Jenna.

You were a great student. But you are no longer a student. Now you’re a great . . . well, different things. Okay.

It’s also time for this random collage you made in France to find its way out.

I may have beefed up and thrown away a good amount of old college coursework. But if there’s one thing I’m hanging’ onto–it’s this!

My cartoon doodle-people. They were lurking about in the middle of essays, class notes, and examination blue books. Hi, Stallone Silvernixun! I’ve missed you so. And I’m totally diggin’ that tattoo on your thigh. That’s hard core, compadre.

The other purged item that caused me much emotional angst this week was this:

My ugly ole sweat pants. I talked about their comforting abilities in this post, and I’ve had them for close to ten years . . . can you tell? They were a staple of my evening wardrobe.

My poor husband couldn’t stand the sight of them. As I modeled my new and improved Gap Body sweat pants, the sigh of relief was audible. No more saggy, baggy, holey pants, baby . . . at least for another few years.

Goodbye my blue friends! You served me well, and I hope you have a wonderful afterlife as a piece of dirt that will feed a flower in a meadow and something about oxygen and a raindrop and the circle of life.

Wasn’t that beautiful?

Let’s take a look at the entire pile of 30 things that made their way to the trash can or to Goodwill:

The pile includes the yellowing, funky-smelling pillow that’s been who knows where, assorted picture frames, scarves, a purse, faded and weird-colored hair clips, and other random stuff.

Stay tuned for another update next week!