When Kitchens Go Wild

My dad taught me many things in my youth. He taught me that the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. He taught me that “abre la boca” means “open your mouth” in Spanish. (My dad’s a dentist). He taught me never to flash money on the subway, never to flash mother in the hallway, and–most relevant, here–never to put off for later something that you can accomplish now.

I can think of no better advice regarding kitchen clean-up. It’s a terrible chore, but you have to do it. And if you don’t do it when you should do it (that is, right after you’ve made the mess) dishes will sit in the sink until they begin to smell. Your kitchen will look like this:

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The longer you wait, the greater the task will seem. Sort of like procrastinating with Cate Blanchett when you should be wallowing through Mordor. They didn’t call him J.R.R. Tolk-clean for nothing!

The rot infesting my kitchen tonight was primarily sourced at the paper canister of cream I left out two days ago when I began my ice cream. Here’s a quick-kitchen-tip: Don’t leave cream on the counter for two days! It will clump up and smell like a dead fish rotting in a gym locker. Which, incidentally, was how I spent PE class in high school.

How you clean your kitchen says a great deal about who you are as a person. In a NYT Magazine Section inverview with Christopher Walken (this was two weeks ago) he talked about going to a therapist whose kitchen was a wreck and how he though to himself: “If she can’t even clean her kitchen, how’s she going to help me?”

It’s for precisely that reason that I’m no longer a practicing therapist. [Sorry, Lonny, you better jump now.] My kitchen is frequently a wreck. Especially when life is stressful as it is now.

Usually, though, I do make a concerted effort to clean immediately after I cook. I suggest you do the same. People actually write me e-mails and ask me how I clean-up after cooking so much. That’s the answer: I do it right away.

And tonight, with the festering cream and the sink-full-o’-dishes, I cranked up some music, rocked out like Tom Cruise a la Risky Business and got to scrubbing. Not too much scrubbing, though, because I am blessed enough to have a dishwasher. A dishwasher is a God-send. My apartment in LA last summer had no dishwasher and after one attempt at cooking in that cramped space and then cleaning up after myself in that tiny sink, I decided that the summer of 2003 would be the summer of eating out.

As for the summer of 2004, specifically tonight, the scrubbing and cleaning didn’t take that long. Time goes fast if you get yourself into a meditative state, withholding thoughts like “I am scrubbing dishes and wasting valuable time” and, instead, entertaining loftier considerations like “Why has J. Lo been married so much?” and “I wonder if I’d look good in linen pants?”

The proof is in the pudding:

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My spotless kitchen restored and my soul refreshed in the process. Why pay for a yoga class? Just muss up your kitchen and get to scrubbing. Try it with your legs over your head!

3 comments

  1. I even more often than not start cleaning while cooking. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to find the parsley for the used dishes… The thing I hate most is not being able to fill the watercooker because the sinks’s full. And yes: dishwashers are heavenly creatures.

  2. I am studying for the bar too. My kitchen looks like the before picture. I, however, do not have a dishwasher. I’m jealous.

  3. Muahahaha. I have a manslave, uh, I mean, lovely and charming partner who is a bit of a clean freak; so I leave a tornado of destruction behind me as I cook, and it magically gets fixed.