My kitchen is the one part of my house that has still, after almost 10 years, not been renovated. It’s one of those tricky cases — if I pull the appliances out to paint, I might as well replace the floor. And if I’m replacing the floor then maybe I should have that problematic weird wall pulled out. But I don’t really have the funding to do all that, and well, the kitchen works surprisingly well in it’s unrenovated state, and so, nothing gets done. Sigh.
I’m considering painting it over the holidays. The Big Corporation I work for closes for a week so I’ve got to take the time off, and as long as I’m not getting paid, I might as well do something useful. But then there’s the floor issue, and I’m not sure I have the money to replace the floor, and then there’s the timing issue — will the floor guys be working that week? You can see where this goes. I’ll have to talk to Himself about it, since he’s the contractor and all and see what he thinks. I hate to paint, but I’m not bad at it, and it’s certainly cheaper than hiring someone (including Himself).
However, there was one easy fix I did yesterday that has made me feeling much more sanguine about my un-done kitchen. I had one bookshelf in there already — the one with the chiles hanging off it, but what with the CookBookSlut work (another column should be up next week) the cookbook situation was getting out of hand. There was this messy pile, with other messy stuff tucked in the corner, and messy re-usable grocery bags stuffed underneath.
So I succumbed to the Big Box store, where I found a new five shelf white unit for a ridiculously low price. I put it together, then finally had the space to organize the cookbooks.
I’m really trying not to keep them all — just the ones I think I’ll actually use. The others I’ve been selling to Powells (in exchange for yet more books — when I’m an old lady they’re going to find me buried under a pile of books). It makes me ridiculously happy to look over at that corner now — there are sections now for English cooking, Reference, Essays, American, Mushroom cookbooks, Vegetable/vegetarian, Baking, Greek, Italian, French, Asian, Meat/Charcuterie and Canning/Pickling. (You can take the girl out of the bookstore, but you can never really take the bookstore clerk out of the girl). I can see things now. I can find things.
I’ve also been playing around with this fun site called Eat Your Books. They comp’ed me for a membership, but it’s not very expensive — $25 for a year and if you have a lot of cookbooks, as you can see I do, I think it’s kind of a great idea. You search their database for cookbooks you own, then click to add them to your “bookshelf” — what they provide is an expanded database of the indexes of those books, complete with lists of major ingredients. So, for example, if I’m looking at the last of the lamb in my freezer, and wondering what to do with it, I can type Lamb into the recipe index on “My Bookshelf” and it will kick up all the lamb recipes in the books I own — then you can drill down if you want, lamb and ginger, or lamb and grilled, etc. What I’m liking about it is that it reminds me of cookbooks I haven’t used in a while, as well as that it provides an easy access to some of the encyclopedic cookbooks like Joy or the Sunset Cookbook that I often forget to consult. They’ll also kick out shopping lists for you, and I’m sure there are a bunch of other features I haven’t figured out yet.
So there we are, one small corner of the kitchen re-organized (or perhaps just organized), one small clot of chaos defeated. Now, what to make for dinner?