I know I should cook more.
It's healthier than eating out and it saves us money.
But when my kitchen's a disorganized mess, cooking seems harder and I'm more likely to skip it.
It's a lot easier when my kitchen is as simplified as possible, when I have everything I need, but nothing more.
Let's tackle one kitchen mess that's out-of-sight, and therefore frequently cluttered:
The kitchen drawer
I know you love before-and-after stories, so for this post, I'm teaming up with my dear friend Morgan Cooper.
She's an activist, urban farmer, restaurateur, mom, and chef.
And she has a great before-and-after story.
She writes, "In any cluttered home, there’s always a few places that are extra cluttered. In my house it’s my utensil drawer in the kitchen. Yes, I’m publicly admitting this. The shame."
See Morgan’s before picture to the right.
“Didn’t want to use any of them”
She writes, "When you love cooking, you are always looking for a utensil you enjoy using. I didn’t love the round wooden spoon, so I got a flat one. Didn’t love that so I tried another shape. Pretty soon I had collected 10 different utensils and didn’t want to use any of them."
In addition to her many other roles, Morgan runs an organization called Handmade Palestine that supports local artisans in the Middle East and funds environmental protection and education.
She writes,"I went shopping and actually got a dozen different utensils, not for my own kitchen, but to stock and sell for Handmade Palestine."
It was then that she found THE kitchen utensil that changed cooking forever in her own home kitchen in Ramallah, Palestine.
The Spatula that Changed Everything
"I didn’t realize why that drawer was so packed with unused utensils until I discovered and bought my perfect, favorite spatula. It’s made from sustainably sourced olive wood (points!), that is the result of annual pruning on the trees. The wood has been aged three years so it doesn’t crack, and then it’s been hand-formed on a gorgeous old machine in a basement of a wood craftsman’s home in Bethlehem. Handmade. Sustainably sourced. Organic wood. I was sold on it," Morgan writes.
After realizing her love for the spatula (and dissatisfaction with the alternatives), she overhauled her kitchen drawer. Now it looks like this:
How you can Do it Too
Identify your favorite kitchen utensils that do the essential kitchen jobs you need for your favorite meals.
Then come to terms with the fact that it's just not true love with the rest of them. It's time to give them away.
Now when you reach for a kitchen tool, it will always be your favorite one.
A Multi-functional Tool
I regularly ask readers what they want me to blog about. Someone in the Minimalist Living community on Facebook asked for "purchasing tips for a multi-functional tools."
Morgan recommends this spatula as a multi-function tool and loves it for her kitchen.
She writes, "I especially loved the slight curve at the end of the spatula (it gets off all the brown flavorful bits stuck to the bottom of the cast iron skillet!). It has a handle that is great for holding (I, unlike my mother, am not a fan of the skinny handle)."
Here are some of the various ways Morgan uses her spatula:
As one half of salad tongs (she now owns two)
To lift the corner of my pancakes and then flip like a spatula
Stir batter and steaws instead of a wooden spoon
Smack my husband’s bum when he acts out, ok, I just threaten it
Caring for Olive Wood
"This is olive wood, so it’s really smart to oil after washing. If you don’t, that’s okay too. But it gets a bit dried out and can chip. And if you don’t oil it (just rub some warmed olive oil on it once it’s dry), you’ll pick up the beautiful color of tumeric--as I have on mine. It just adds some charm to my last and only kitchen utensil I’ll ever buy."
I too can recommend this spatula which I've been using almost every day in my kitchen since purchasing one of my own.
If you want to purchase one for your own kitchen, (or for a gift) you can do so here. Handmade Palestine offers international shipping.
A Good Cause
I don't profit by your purchase of Morgan’s favorite spatula. Profits from the purchase of this fair trade product go to support Mashjar Juthour, an "eco project on 2.5 acres of publicly accessible land where native trees are protected and where the community comes to learn about Palestine's natural heritage."
I've personally visited Mashjar Juthour many times and it truly is a beautiful and very special place.
How often can you purchase a product that will to help you simplify your kitchen, bring back the joy of cooking, AND also contribute to peace in the Middle East?
It’s not every day. But today you can.
(It makes a great gift too, as you are quite literally extending an olive branch to the recipient.)
Whether or not you purchase this specific favorite spatula mentioned in this post or find true love with another kitchen tool, go overhaul your kitchen drawer today and find your own favorite utensil that will make cooking a pleasure.
Interested in more tips and tricks to ease cooking stress? Read SIMPLE KITCHEN: The Essentials You Need to Cook Your Most Joyful Meals.