‘Jan­uary is the time to give your kitchen the equiv­a­lent of a valet ser­vice and dis­solve any last ves­tiges of goose fat.’

The Guardian - Cook - - Comment - Nell Card is a free­lance food and in­te­ri­ors writer based in Lon­don; @nell­card By Nell Card

An over­stuffed, chaotic and ever-so-slightly smeary kitchen is a sign that you had a great De­cem­ber. But enough. These are the things we should all be ca­pa­ble of do­ing in our kitchens at some stage this month. If you man­age to tick off the fol­low­ing five to-dos, your kitchen will be primed for an­other year of feed­ing …

Clear out your fridge

While de­frost­ing your freezer might best be left for the night be­fore the re­movals van turns up, clean­ing your fridge out is slightly more press­ing.

First, wash all re­mov­able con­tain­ers and door shelves, the main shelves, door, sides and back of the fridge, not for­get­ting on top and in be­tween the creases of the door seal. A paste of bi­car­bon­ate of soda and white vine­gar will re­move smells – but then again so will wash­ing-up liq­uid and warm wa­ter.

When putting it all back to­gether, dump any­thing past its use-by date and com­bine du­pli­cates where prac­ti­cal. Re­mem­ber to wipe all jars down be­fore re­plac­ing them. Ev­ery­thing that is in con­stant use should be at the top, front or in the fridge door.

And keep the fridge tidy: lid­ded dishes are ideal for or­gan­is­ing cheeses, left­overs, soups and gen­eral strag­glers. They will also elim­i­nate the need for foil and cling­film cov­ers.

Do the de­cant thing

If you’re pur­chas­ing lid­ded glass dishes, get a dozen glass Kil­ner jars, too. The se­cret to an or­gan­ised pantry is be­ing able to see what you have. That means tip­ping all your crum­pled, split pack­ets of cous­cous/rice/sesame seeds into mouse-proof glass jars of var­i­ous sizes. If you live in the US and have $4,500 burn­ing a hole in your pocket, there is a com­pany called Blis­shaus that will come into your home and do this for you. You do not need them. Nor do you need a Dymo em­boss­ing la­bel-maker, al­though it will help dis­tin­guish your nigella seeds from your black sesames.

Bleach your grout­ing

How of­ten does your tiled floor get a good, old-fash­ioned, red-knuck­led scrub down? Again, there is bi­car­bon­ate of soda and white vine­gar for the purists, and Domestos for ev­ery­one else.

This is a job that needs a me­thod­i­cal ap­proach. Work in lines with di­luted bleach and a small brush, such as an old nail brush. Pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to splat­ter zones: in front of the oven, be­side the sink and around the dish­washer. If you have small chil­dren, your en­tire floor is, as you well know, a splat­ter zone. Once you’ve scrubbed, wipe or mop up the foam with warm soapy wa­ter as usual.

Clean your ap­pli­ances

Your ket­tle is prob­a­bly well over­due a descal­ing. The crumb tray in your toaster is, I bet, over­flow­ing. Give all ap­pli­ances a wipe down and a buff with a dry cloth. Sim­i­larly, top up your dish­washer with salt and rinse aid, and run a cleaner on an empty cy­cle. It’s the equiv­a­lent of a valet ser­vice and will dis­solve any last ves­tiges of goose fat.

Clean­ing your oven is the devil’s work. There are SWAT teams that will come and do this for you, bring­ing dip trays and chem­i­cals that un­avail­able on su­per­mar­ket shelves. While I am more likely to pay for this than for some­one to de­cant my cous­cous into a jar, I am also far more likely to sim­ply fill the sink with scald­ing hot, soapy wa­ter and soak my oven racks and pan sup­ports for a good half hour.

The dish­cloth ef­fect

Re­plac­ing your kitchen “smalls” is akin to buy­ing a new lip­stick: an in­dul­gence to perk you up in the face of cri­sis. Can’t af­ford a deVol kitchen? Buy a new dish brush in­stead. Hap­pily, there is a pro­lif­er­a­tion in brush shops: AG Hendy in Hast­ings is well worth a day trip. Util­ity in Brighton is ex­cel­lent value, as is House By Betty in Pem­brokeshire. All of them stock pleas­ingly util­i­tar­ian linen scrim, roller tow­els, cot­ton floor cloths and such like to re­ward you once your deep clean is com­plete.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.