Any relationship is also a partnership, and like all partnerships, each partner has their own strengths and weaknesses. I’m an excellent cook, but I spend way too much on groceries if I don’t make a list to reign myself in. I hate doing laundry. Ken is great at heavy lifting, fetching me socks for my cold-ass feet, and reaching things on high shelves. He is, however, utterly hopeless at certain chores.
As much as I enjoy the break it affords me some nights, it is physically painful to be in the same house as my husband when he’s in the kitchen.
I was in the mood for my amazing fluffy waffles yesterday, so I got up and started coffee before getting down to the business of waffle magic. Of course, I had to clean the kitchen first because there were still dishes in the sink from the night before. To be fair, our dishwasher isn’t set up for most dishes manufactured after 1976, but it’s going to be that much harder to find space in the dishwasher for a coffee cup when the other coffee cups have 2 inches of space between them. So anyway, as I was cooking, I was loading the dishwasher and wiping down counters, and rinsing out the sink. By the time breakfast was over, the dishwasher was running and the kitchen was ready to prepare the next meal.
And that’s as it should be. I understand this because it was drilled into my head at an early age. And by drilled into my head, I mean paddled into my ass when I didn’t obey. Of course, not everyone gets the helpful butt whoopins of learning from their parents because apparently that shit is illegal nowadays. Pussies. My point here is that the kitchen comes with its own set of rules and the penalty for breaking those rules is nothing less than misery and perturbation. Fear not, kitchen simpletons, for I will now share my wisdom with ye via these simple commandments!
1. Thou shalt not cook unless thy work space is clean.
This is like, the cardinal rule of using my kitchen. Cooking is dirty. There’s a lot of chopping, splashing, splattering, mixing and all of it gets on your counters, stove, cabinets, floors, refrigerator, ceiling, and pets (fuck you, ya bastard – you shouldn’t have been standing under foot). Make sure your sink is empty, your counters are clear, and all of your prep bowls, knives, pots, pans, and utensils are clean.
2. Thou shalt perform the ritual preparations before all cooking may commence.
This means reading the damn recipe all the way through, honey. Then get out all the ingredients you’ll need. If you have to chop, slice, or flatten shit, do it now and keep it in a prep bowl off to the side until you need it. If your dish calls for pasta or rice, start making that right away and then set it aside when it’s done. It’s easier to reheat them than it is to get finished with everything else and realize that you’re going to have to wait 20 minutes for your side dish.
3. Thou shalt clean up as you go along.
If you’ve finished using the meat cutting board, put it in the dishwasher (which should be pretty much empty because you ran the dishwasher and emptied it already, right?). If you’re finished with the prep bowl that had your chopped onions, put it in the dishwasher. Done beating egg yolks? Dishwasher. Finished with that tasting spoon? Dishwasher. Don’t need the food processor for anything else? Wash and dry the blade by hand and put the rest in the dishwasher.
3b. Knives and other sharps don’t go in the dishwasher, motherfuckers.
There’s nothing worse than trying to hack apart a chicken with a knife that’s more blunt than me after a bottle of wine. Wash that shit by hand, CAREFULLY, and then dry it and put it away.
4. Thou shalt not leave thy victuals unattended.
If your recipe calls for you to put a lid on the pot and simmer for 10 minutes and you want to go to the wine cellar for a bottle of wine, then do it. But come right back. Use that 10 minutes to review the next steps in the recipe or wipe down the counters or load the dishwasher. Don’t run off to check your facebook or your email because you WILL forget that you have something on the stove and it will be scorched or dry or completely inedible by the time you remember it.
5. Thou shalt remove food waste from the premises at once.
Don’t let pork fat or fish or meat trays or veggie peels sit in the trash can overnight. That shit’s gross.
6. He who hath prepared the feast shalt not wash dinner dishes.
Once you’ve cleaned up the mess you made from prepping and cooking, you are EXEMPT from doing any other dishes. That’s for those free loaders who just sat on their butts and enjoyed the fruits of your labor.
7. Thou shalt deep clean thy kitchen no less than once a month.
This includes wiping down cabinets and counters with hot, soapy water, purging all the empty boxes and jars in the fridge and pantry, and throwing out last week’s leftovers which now have prettier hair than you do. It also includes scrubbing floors that you can see and the ones under appliances that we so conveniently ignore. Roaches are nasty, yo.
That’s about it. Follow these simple steps, return the premises to me in the same condition in which you found them, and I will refrain from stabbing you in the jugular vein with a parisian scoop.
Many culinary adventures, y’all!