Friday, March 26, 2010

Take out the chaos in your kitchen: save energy but also build a saner environment

We’ve already covered how to save energy and water in your kitchen and in terms your general habits when it comes to cooking and washing, but there is another little tendency people have when it comes to this especially sought after room. The problem is, my friends, just too much stuff. Many of us fall victim to the impulse buy, and I myself have caved on more than one occasion, why do you think they put all those tasty candy bars and eye-catching items around the checkout line? But in terms of cooking specifically I can’t even count how many infomercials are raving about some slapper chopper, a magic bullet, a knife set that can cut through steel (yes, I do like to get my daily recommended amount of steel, thank you very much), and all the pizza bakers, toaster ovens that leave a cute animal print on your toast, and the list goes on and on.

The truth is that not only are many of these items a waste of money, and even inane ideas, but they are wasting space, and should they be plugged in an even worse waste of electricity. But even if you’ve delegated them to the back of the cupboards they are still there and you can do a nice kitchen overhaul by sorting out the junk from the goods. Think about how much cooking, and what kind, that you do the most of and then be brutal. If you have never baked a cake in your life you may not need a mixer; and for the rare times you get hit by a Betty Crocker urge you can whip out that whisk and you’ll even save energy…of the electrical kind that is. While we all will need a knife at one time or another, do you really need a different one that will chop your eggs into paper thin slices, a mini chopper and a regular sized one, or even a garlic peeler too? Unless you are Emeril or a food connoisseur you can probably suffice off of a single high quality chef knife. Take care of it, don’t run it through the dishwasher, and sharpen it as it needs it, and you won’t need to be purchasing any replacements any time soon.

What should you be cutting on with that knife? While it is especially important to keep your cutting boards clean for health reasons, if you are diligent you don’t need to have multiple ones. You can find a good green cutting board, one that is made out of bamboo for instance, and take good care of it. Finally we come to all those pots, pans, saucers, etc. For the majority of cooking practices you only need a few high quality items. Get a pot that is large, match it to the correct burner so that you can save energy and don’t waste heat loss or conversely need too much time to get it heated up, and a skillet. If you skimp on quality here you’ll end up burning through multiple cheaper ones and thus creating more waste and there will also be a dent in your pocketbook.

Declutter that kitchen and you can not only be blessed with more space and less of a headache from looking at it all, but you will in the end save energy and waste too. For what you do get rid of you can either give it away, hold a garage sale, or recycle what you can. Paring down in this case is a good thing, and moving forward resist those temptation buys as best you can; if you feel yourself about to cave close your eyes and thing about how often you REALLY crave a pizza/waffle maker/onion dicer/juicer/egg timer all in one.

Photo credit: Flickr

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