Kitchens, Part 4: Micro-Zones or “I Can’t Be the Only Whatever I Am in the Room”

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I think a lot.

It annoys even me. Or maybe, mostly me.

A blog is the logical extension of a brain like mine. In fact, I’ve always had a running blog in my own head, from back waaaaay before there was such a thing as blogs (from even before every home had a computer!)  No readers though. Just me and my brain, all by our little lonesomes, narrating my life in a continuous, endless loop.

Sometimes I catch myself standing slack-jawed in the middle of the room. I’ve been standing there for a full 5 minutes, clicking through all the possible ways, determining the most efficient way in which to execute a 3 minute task. I’ve been trying for 20 years, I can’t seem to help myself.

So, if you’re wondering, “Who the hell thinks about all this shit?” The answer is– me. And honey, it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

But, the brilliant thing about the net is that, somewhere, someone might be a freak like me, and actually care to read such endless analytical blather about kitchens. Here’s to you, friend, wherever you may be.


Every family is different. Here’s our daily small kitchen tasks:

Making a bowl of cereal. Which is to say, homemade granola. I always want to put the big granola jar somewhere out of my way, but it invariably migrates right back into the prime real estate of my main counterspace. So. I’ve given up. I keep it out now. Of course, having the granola near to the cabinet (for getting a bowl) and the fridge (for getting the milk) would be ideal, but our kitchen isn’t big enough to worry much about that….

Bread. In our house we eat all homemade whole wheat bread, which means we need a place to cut it. I’m actually pretty fond of those bread boards with the slots for catching crumbs, because otherwise there’s always crumbs all over my main cutting board, then soon, all over the counter. I found this one in a neighbor’s trash, brand new with the tag still on. There was a part on the left for olives, and a part on the right for cheese. It was one of those silly impulse-buy items, all the parts are too small to be useful. But I fixed her right up! The bread board was (just barely) big enough to be useful, if you let the slice fall over onto the cheese part. I cut the olive part off, because crap just fell in there, and it was in the way. I also cut a bit off the cheese side, so that now it fits nicely right in front of the toaster oven. Perfecto! Salvage plus DIY, my absolute favorite!

those slices up on top are heels drying out for bread crumbs

Here’s another issue with homemade bread– storing it. I hate putting my good wholesome wheat bread into a ratty old plastic bag, which is as you can see, what I settle for at the moment. I dream of someday having an old fashioned bread box, the door would swing down and have an integral cutting board. But for now I’m on the lookout for the right sized, extra wide mouth canister, which is what I was using back in Cordova, and it worked pretty decent.

When we’re on PB&J kicks, I have to give space to at least the PB. But ever-present is butter, and it needs to live right by the toaster. With all the baking that I do, we go through plenty of butter, so I have no concern whatsoever that it might go bad sitting out.

Coffee. You might have heard I’m pretty fond of the stuff. Unless pregers, I’m a strict two cups a day girl. And I’m a hideous coffee snob about it. Hubby’s standards are lower, but he’ll drink as much coffee as you throw at him in a day. Between us we need a minimum of two coffee makers, neither of which is the regular plug in kind. I use a stove top espresso maker (to make myself an americano) because nothing else tastes half so delicious to my, as mentioned, total snob palatte. Hubby loves the same, but prefers more than one cup at a time. For him we have a french press.

Let’s count– so far we have two kinds of coffee pots, and associated water boiling kettle, cluttering up the stove. One of these will fit nicely on the shelf above the stove. On the other side of the room (it’s small) I have the above Coffee Zone. I started keeping it all on plate a few years ago and have thanked myself ever since. The plate contains all those damned grounds that seem to leap out of the grinder and fling themselves hither and thither every time you open the damned grinder. This plate is especially perfect with it’s speckly glaze. Of course, an air-tight jar for beans, and here’s a good tip– use a plastic spoon to scoop coffee out of your grinder and you won’t be dulling the blades every time!

I wish we had a better set up. We make enough coffee to need a square of counterspace, and a little shelf, right beside the stove. But, ya do what ya do with what ya got.

Next up: Waste Management!

PS. Please, again, feel free to chime in with your solutions to the banal everyday kitchen conundrums. I’d love the company.

4 thoughts on “Kitchens, Part 4: Micro-Zones or “I Can’t Be the Only Whatever I Am in the Room”

  1. This is one I got from my sister – if your toaster is the type that drops crumbs over the counter, put a tray under it to catch them. Much easier to clean. My sister uses a small metal baking tray that is just a little bigger than the toaster.

    I have a bread board which has a groove around the outside. It also has a slot through it lengthwise for storing the bread knife, but that annoys me & I don’t use it. I never realised that the grooves were probably meant the catch the crumbs, but it’s logical now that you have described the problem.

  2. I’ve NEVER seen a bread board made of slats like that to catch crumbs – what a brilliant idea! Maybe we’re a bit behind in New Zealand.

    I’m screwing cup hooks into the wall next to my stove top to keep my pots. I use some that were already there for my frying pans, but now (thanks to your brain freshening, eye opening posts) I’m adding more.

    And I’m on the lookout for a nice piece of wood to make a shelf above where my electric jug sits so I can put my tea and coffee supplies, teaspoons and mugs on it. They all currently reside in three different places around the kitchen – duh!

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