Saturday, December 03, 2011

how a gadget reclaimed my heart and the war on clutter was lost

Why is it that the process of decluttering tends to cover more surfaces with mess than it clears up? Or perhaps I’m the only one who begins chores, only to loose interest half way through. The sad reality is that my kitchen is invading the rest of my small home. From cookbooks to preciously hoarded jars (yes, instant entry to old-womanhood), there are only so many things that can be shoehorned into a tiny house.

Something’s got to give.

While a few cookbooks have been culled (and a pile of less-used-but-still-can’t-be-thrown-out sit on the table awaiting banishment to a high shelf) and the aforementioned recycled jars are on notice, my small handful of kitchen gadgets got the once over.

The mini-food processor is used so often it’s won bench top squatting rights. A week doesn’t go by without a batch of nuts being ground to sprinkle on breakfast or a quick curry paste blended from scratch.

A bigger version hunkers in the cupboard, rarely touched since I fell in love with its dwarf twin. But the promise of whizzing up a batch of scones in the wink of an eye gains it a stay of execution.

In frequent use is the stick blender. I worship this invention and thank the day it superseded the old-fashioned jar blender. Who could forget attempting to blend molten batches of soup in the 80s? It’d take at least two or three blender-fulls and a couple of pots to transform a chunky liquid into a smooth soup. And the mess! Not just all the washing up but at some stage the inner lid would blow, creating an unwanted art installation on the (inevitably) white kitchen and the risk of second degree burns.

With the delightful combination of warmer weather and arrival of affordable bananas, my stick blender and favourite jug are in regular service. I’m loving summer fruit blended with rice milk and a touch of either pomegranate molasses or a spoon of coconut sorbet.

So it was with a heavy heart that I eyed up my long neglected juicer. Purchased almost-new for $12 at a garage sale in 1990, she’s done great service. I figured the carrots, celery sticks and apple quarters that gadget’s seen in the name of detoxifying had surely earned a dignified retirement?

But a watermelon bought with the intention of becoming another summer of love salad became my undoing.

“Watermelon juice!” I thought. And oh how right that notion was.

Watermelon juice three ways

Watermelon smoothie: blend juice with a small banana and a handful of strawberries. No milk or added sweetener required. The banana gives it added body and creaminess.

Summery watermelon cocktail: shake together 3 parts juice, 1 part Cointreau and a dash of rosewater and pour over ice. Not sure how I dreamed this combo up but I promise you the hint of orange from the liqueur and the fragrance of roses marries with the watermelon perfectly. And it’s pink!

Au naturel: or mixed 50:50 soda water to extend the loveliness.

So after three weeks of “decluttering” – the kitchen table’s still missing in action, cookbooks have been relocated (making space for my burgeoning jug collection) and the juicer is fighting the jam jars for space in the cupboard.

...and a former ambivalence for watermelon has been transformed into a new seasonal crush.

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Blogger Johanna GGG said...

I agree with you about the stick blender - couldn't live without mine for soups and smoothies - and now I have a new one with a mini blender attachment I am using the mini blender a lot - but I am not good at decluttering and just put up with piles of books rather than live without them

10:31 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

I've spent two hours today sorting out just one cupboard. After throwing out half the contents, it's still full. But a lot neater :)

4:33 pm  
Blogger leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I actually don't have a food processor or stick blender. I just have a regular blender. I'm hoping to get those two magical things I don't yet have, though, I'm sure they would make my life so much easier!

8:39 pm  
Anonymous Lucy said...

well, if you want a home - however temporary - for some of those jam jars, i will be a-filling at some stage in autumn!

such a great post - beautifully written, most amusing, too.

you need the ruthless leo cleaner (moi) to come through and help reclaim your space :-)

8:48 am  
Blogger Cindy said...

We are food processor lovers - we made sure to get one with an accompanying mini bowl for spice grinding and are making great use of it, mostly for nuts and spice pastes just like you.

That watermelon cocktail sounds brilliant! Will put it on my Xmas/new year to-do list.

12:12 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Update: the kitchen table is no longer missing in action, cookbooks have been rationalised and excess jars/plastic containers have found a new home (and any surplus jars from now on will go straight to Lucy). For at least 24 hours the house was clean and tidy but as the buddhists say nothing is permanent :)

Enjoy the watermelon cocktail Cindy, then do your spin on it and surprise me with what you come up with.

2:29 pm  
Anonymous Kim (frog ponds rock) said...

Oh I hear you. I can not for the life of me even begin to declutter as it involves starting a process of total chaos. It is easier to just walk away and think about something else.

10:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love my juicer, and with the blender, rice cooker, spice grinder and kettle, sits in pride of place in the kitchen. Years ago I worked in Sydney at a company that "treated" staff to chips, party pies and snacks, and platters of fruit. Only fruit would be left at the end. I would wrap it up, take it home, juice it all, add a slug of gin and call it The Friday Night Relaxer. Heavenly.

9:21 pm  

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