Dear Reader –
If you pay rent or a mortgage in an apartment or home; or if you are living in an apartment or home and perhaps SHOULD be paying rent or helping with the mortgage; or if you are visiting an apartment or home, you will you be very interested to discover the following breakthrough techniques for enjoying your time in the kitchen.
In fact, upon reading these techniques and putting them into action during your next visit to a kitchen, you should not be surprised to discover a positive, grateful atmosphere; an environment free of nagging or heavy sighs or teary shouting. You may even find yourself on the receiving end of some blush-worthy praise!
That’s what I call Real Kitchen Fun!
Let’s get started!
Lesson One: Clearing the Table
But beloved author! you may be thinking. My host’s/my table does not reside in the kitchen! Shouldn’t this be a more appropriate entry in your Guide to Proper Dining Room Behavior?
No, dear reader! You are sorely mistaken! But you have come to the right place. I will help ensure that you will never face such an embarrassing misunderstanding ever again!
In fact, clearing the table is the first step to Fun with Kitchen Cleaning.
When you have finished dining in an apartment/house – no matter where you choose to dine – it is often helpful to offer to clear the table.
If you are a guest, ask first. The hostess may prefer to clear the table on her own – either to spare you the inconvenience, since you are a treasured guest, OR to spare herself the inconvenience of having guests balance picked-over plates willy nilly all across her counters.
If you reside in the apartment/house, you may have free rein to clear the table in the manner specific to your parent/spouse/partner/roommate. This may require some attentiveness before you attempt your first table-clearing. But you can speed the learning process along by asking your parent/spouse/partner/roommate what s/he would prefer.
Once you have been given the all clear on clearing all, don’t forget to clear the entire table! (That means napkins, glasses, salt and pepper shakers, placemats, that bit of gristle you put on the side of your plate, the empty Diet Sprite can, et al.)
In some cases, it may be appropriate to simply stack the cleared dishes near the sink. The nearer the better! But careful! Refrain from creating precarious skyscrapers out of bowls topped with plates topped with glasses topped with soup tureens.
In other cases, it may be appropriate to clear the plates further.
To find out which case applies to you, just ask!
If you are given the go-ahead to do further clearing, follow these handy tips:
– Big food items should probably go in the rubbish bin.
– Make sure you determine whether the sink has a garbage disposal before clearing any plates into the sink.
– Make sure you clear food waste into the side of the sink with the garbage disposal.
– It may be tempting to simply dump and go, but proper procedure requires that you make sure the sink is clear of all food particles before declaring yourself done with clearing.
Fun Fact: Just because you have cleared the table doesn’t mean you are done! There is more kitchen fun to be had!
Lesson Two: Unloading the Dishwasher
***Only applicable if you or your host possess a dishwasher.***
It can be tricky to determine whether the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty. Your best course of action is to open the dishwasher and look!
Some clues as to whether the dishes are clean:
– The plastic storage containers on the top shelf are beaded with water – inside and out.
– The overturned coffee mugs contain a small lip of water.
– The dishwasher “clean” light is on.
Fun Fact: You can unload the dishwasher at any time!
If you have determined that the dishes are dirty, feel free to add any dishes you may have set near the sink to the dishwasher.
(Suggestion for guests: It may be best for you to ask before completing the remainder of this lesson.)
If the dishwasher is full, you can add soap to the dispenser and run it!
If you have determined that the dishes are clean, now it’s time to unload! Hahaha – removing the one glass you need to drink from and then leaving the kitchen is a hilarious prank! But seriously. Now you can unload the dishwasher.
First, wash your hands! Some people choose to skip this step, but I strongly urge you to complete it before proceeding. Because putting your dirty hands all over clean dishes seems counterproductive, no?
Important Note: “I don’t know where this goes” is not an appropriate comment if you are residing in the house. Hint: Look through cupboards until you find the likely habitat of the plate you’re holding!
Once you have finished unloading the dishwasher, now’s your chance to initiate…
Lesson Three: Loading the Dishwasher
Now we’re in for some serious kitchen fun!
Put dirty dishes – which have been cleared of all large food particles – into the dishwasher!
Heavy items – dishwasher-safe pots, pans, plates, and bowls – go on the bottom shelf. Lighter and more fragile items – Tupperware containers, coffee mugs, drinking glasses – go on the top. Some people like to put their cutlery facing down; others like it to face up. No matter which type of person your parent/spouse/partner/roommate/host is, you’ll want to put the knives into the cutlery basket sharp end down.
One of the mysterious joys of the dishwasher is that it holds much more than you think it might! Experiment with moving items around in different arrangements to fit the most dishes – while still making sure the water will reach them – possible.
Fun Fact: A parent/spouse/partner/roommate may have done the same task every day for twenty years, but that does not mean s/he enjoys completing that task. Nor does it mean that YOU cannot complete that task instead! (This guide is blowing your mind, I know it!) When in doubt, remember this: Kitchen fun is for everyone!
Lesson Four: Cooking!
While I advocate cleaning up while you are creating your culinary masterpiece, it is not the only option.
But if you decide NOT to clean as you go, do remember to clean AFTER you have produced your gourmet creation. This may involve cleaning the top of the stove; inside the microwave; various floors; cabinets; and the wall behind the stove.
Fun Fact: If you can imagine a place where grease spatter or sugar particles may have reached, you’ll want to clean it! Be creative – you can even make a game out of trying to track down every last splatter of sauce or crumb of bread.
After slaving over a hot stove, I know that clearing your dishes to the sink feels like quite an accomplishment. You’ll be surprised to know that doing so is leaving the job half done. Instead, you should fully clean your dishes, either by hand-washing them or by running them through the dishwasher.
Important Note: Saying “I made the food, so someone else should do the dishes” is only appropriate when Someone Else has agreed to this arrangement before the cooking commences.
Now, what I have to say next may sound completely counterintuitive (although what is Kitchen Fun without a little hypocrisy?!). But if someone has done you the honor of making you a meal? You can still do ALL of the following:
– Wash the dishes you’ve eaten from!
– Put unused food back into the refrigerator/cupboards! (Using appropriate storage containers, of course!)
– Put away serving dishes!
– Clear the countertops! (More on that in the next lesson…)
If you are a guest, of course, you should check with your host before tackling this kind of kitchen fun. But even the simple act of offering to help can express your gratitude for being fed!
Lesson Five: Countertops
After you have finished baking, cooking, eating, preparing, clearing, or washing is the perfect time to clean the countertops!
Using cleanser or cleansing cloths or whatever else your parent/spouse/partner/roommate/host prefers, simply spray and wipe the counters clean.
Helpful Hint: Instead of brushing counter detritus onto the floor, brush it into your hand and transport it – via your hand – to the trash!
Make sure you get all counters! Yes, even that one!
Lesson Six: Observation
Now, dear reader, this is a master level Kitchen Behavior technique. But I think you are READY to hear it!
Whenever you are in the kitchen, take a look around. If you see something that needs to be done – a heavy pot still bearing remnants of last night’s stew; a pile of plates sitting in the sink; a bowl sitting forlornly on the table – use the previous lessons you’ve learned to take care of it.
Fun Fact: Even if your parent/spouse/partner/roommate/host hasn’t asked you to do anything in the kitchen; hasn’t nagged you repeatedly about doing something in the kitchen; isn’t complaining about doing that very task, day in and day out without help, you can STILL have Kitchen Fun any time you want!
Now You Are Ready to Have Fun in the Kitchen!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these brief lessons, dear reader. They are by no means comprehensive, but I believe they have given you an excellent foundation for immense pleasure and satisfaction every time you set foot in the kitchen.
I have every confidence that you will apply them with ease and grace… and that, in doing so, you will be showered with appreciation and accolades.
If you’ve found these lessons helpful, be on the lookout for my upcoming Guide to Finding Items Your Parent/Spouse/Partner/Roommate SAYS Are in the Fridge/Closet/Cupboard But Have Not Jumped Out to Announce Themselves.
Wishing you great success in the kitchen and in life,
Your Grateful Author
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