Monday, September 1, 2014

Looking back, kitchen edition

So have you guys ever heard of The Daily Create? Yeah, me neither, until Mara (who you can now find over at The Writing Life) clued me in not too long ago. It's a site that gives you daily creative assignments, like "Tell the story of the Muppet Conspiracy Theory" or "Make a video of a rolling rock," just in case you're a creative type but are out of ideas, I guess, or maybe to challenge yourself.

The August 21 assignment was "a photo of the most unusual utensil in your kitchen drawer." Mara emailed me all like, I thought you'd like this one, unless you've gotten rid of everything. And I was all, um, kinda have. I think my most unusual utensil now is just my pasta spoon, which made me happy and sad all at the same time.

Here's what I learned from this assignment: It is HARD taking pictures
of kitchenware. Even with a big girl camera.

Because: Once upon a time, I was an enthusiastic collector of all things kitchen. I had pie crust shields, an avocado slicer, even a julienne peeler. I had all manner of baking dish, cookie cutter and wooden spoon and spatula. I never really used many of those things, but I liked having them--and so, so much more--because I bought into the dream of what I could do in my kitchen, as opposed to what I was actually doing in my kitchen.

Do you know how many times I used my cheesecake pan in the seven-plus years I owned it? Zero times. But I kept it because I liked the idea of making cheesecake, not because I was making cheesecakes all the time. I didn't need it. I didn't need 75-percent of what I thought I did.

That's what I discovered when I started cleaning out my kitchen in 2012 (after I'd declared myself a minimalist and decided to get the hell on with it). It actually took a few tries to get it properly purged--I got rid of the easy stuff first (the pie crust shields, avocado slicers, and julienne peelers of the world), then went on to the harder stuff (my vast collection of stoneware, my specialty pans, even my garlic press), and then finally dumped what I liked but never used (strangely, my biscuit cutters were the hardest item to get rid of by far. Whaaaaaat?).

My kitchen drawer, circa this morning. My pasta spoon doesn't even live here.

In the end, here's what it all boiled down to: Was the object in question something I actually used on a regular basis? (Don't talk to me about Thanksgiving-like scenarios. That's not reality.) If I didn't use it, it didn't really matter how pretty it was, or what awesome recipe I could potentially whip up using it, or that I might need it some day. I just tossed whatever it was into a bag and got on with my life. Don't think about it--that's my motto. Don't think, just act. It's totally not as hard as you'd think it'd be to mindless. ;)

But while it makes me seriously, seriously happy to look into my rather sparse, beautiful drawers and cabinets, when you get a creative assignment like taking a photo of your most unusual gadget, it does kind of pull you up short.

Bad for creativity, good for sanity. Eh, we'll call it a win.

Oh, I almost forgot: I did try to find the weirdest item in my kitchen drawer, just for the sake of completing the assignment, and here's what I came up with (and this is kind of pathetic, I totally admit, but I don't have a lot to choose from, as we've already established)--my can strainer and my small collection of sorbet spoons that I inherited from Eric's Grandma Jane. True story, I originally thought those spoons were just, like, play spoons for kids. It took an anniversary dinner at a fancy restaurant--where we cleansed our pallets between courses with sorbet--for me to figure out what they really were.

Figures 1 and 2.

So... the end, I guess.


onwritingbymf said...

Hey, I wish you'd given ME all those old gadgets! I've got all this extra drawer space that is just calling for avocado slicers!

Trisha Walker said...

Trust me, I did you a favor by NOT. :)