Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kitchen Party.

I spent five hours on Thursday cleaning out our spice cupboard. The time commitment reflects both the size of the cupboard and it's filthy state.

Later while on the phone with my mother I mentioned this project. She said those kind of cleaning jobs are always the hardest because they take so much effort, and no one really sees or appreciates the outcome. This would be true for some people. But not someone like me, who owns a digital camera and has blog. Here is the after picture:

It didn't occur to me to take a photo of it pre-cleansing, but it was bad. We had multiple containers of cumin and coriander and nutmeg, and three half-used bags of black pepper and four boxes of cream of tartar:

These are remnants from the days when I made play-doh frequently. I threw away the three opened boxes and kept one, but I'm not sure what to use it for. Any suggestions are appreciated.

I've been on a cleaning/tidying spree this week. It started when I found plastic storage tubs for sale. I was inspired to sort out the bathroom cupboards. I did away with my collection of half-used hair products, out-of-date cold medicines, nursing pads and baby change pads. I momentarily considered keeping the three packages of never-used Monistat, that I had stashed away for emergencies. But cooler, non-itchy heads prevailed.

After the spice cupboard I tackled this one:

In this cupboard I found a small tin of instant coffee that I bought in Greece in 1995:

I still do not understand why during my three weeks in Greece I couldn't find a single decent cup of coffee. Italy and Turkey are renowned for their excellent coffee culture, but Greece? In Greece, all I could get were tepid cups of instant. I bought this tin because if I was going to have crappy coffee I was going to save money and make it at the youth hostel.

Regardless, I am charmed by this tin. Both by the Greek letters AND the fact that it looks like it was made in the 60s.

Now seems like an excellent time to confess to the perfect strangers of the internet my long held belief that my family has an inappropriate fondness for bowls:

Five types of bowls. Two types of plates. Can you tell we really like stews and cereal?


  1. Nice! I would like to help but the only thing I ever make using cream of tartar is playdough. I should really organize like that too. I found a container of baking chocolate from 2003 and a box of Crystal Light from 2005. Instead I closed the cupboard and walked away slowly.

  2. I did under the bathroom sinks a few months ago and did document before and after (and blog about it -- kindred spirits). I don't agree that these jobs are unrewarding -- I don't give a crap if anyone else appreciates it, all I have to do is open the cupboard and I go all swoony with joy. I always say things in my fridge must have progeria, because I inevitably find seven-year-old stuff in there when I clean and I KNOW I've cleaned more recently than seven years ago. I think I know.

  3. Cream of tartar is potassium hydrogen tartrate - which you need if you want to do DIY Science All Lab, No Lecture Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments. It's in their basic list of chemicals needed.


  4. Don't you use cream of tartar to make meringues? Might come in handy if you find yourself with extra egg whites.

  5. Cleaning out cupboards brings me great joy, GREAT joy and I too tend to get all swoony and smug every time I look inside. I recently attacked our kitchen and filled a garbage bag, a GREEN garbage bag and didn't even do the really high cupboards above the fridge. Scary. Between the fridge, pantry and cupboards I managed to fill the bag.

    I also finally moved the things I used the most into the easiest to reach places. I mean I have only lived here for 13 years, I was going to get to it eventually.

  6. These pictures make me happy. You've done a lovely job. :-) Project pictures are some of my favorite kinds of posts.

    Several of my cookie recipes at the holidays call for cream of tartar. Or was it just playdough? Now I cannot remember!

  7. I love, love, love clean cupboards. Opening them only to discover I can still see everything and find everything is the best.