In the winter, I find myself in a state of retreat, like a tree, in an inert state of waiting. Watching. The sun ekes through the windows at the most pitiful angle. I push my writing desk right up against the window to try and absorb whatever light is going to be doled out. Inspiration trickles in droplets one by one. Inertia wanes. Daily business unfurls at its slow French city pace across my square. It is tempting to passively watch. In past years, I have always done what it takes to shake things up, to keep things from freezing over, but it's true. Winter has always been hard for me.
This is my first winter with the baby. While I still won't say everything changed, something very big has shifted. A lot of time goes into animating, teaching, comforting and reassuring my little boy. I am blowing on coals. New coals. Hot coals. I am constantly moving to stay one step ahead. I must explain to him what we plan to do. The spontaneity that I used to rely on to shake things up during the winter has been transformed into my breath on these hot coals.
This week in the kitchen cure, I am thinking about optimization, which translates to freedom. I'll take it wherever I can get it. I am culling equipment from the kitchen, and most of all, moving things around. I have a couple of shelves full of things I rarely use, so I am moving these things out and creating new space for the things I should have close by.
Do you have any equipment on your counter that just takes up real estate? I have very little counter space. In fact, when you count that which is taken up by the grinder, the mixer, and the kettle, I don't have any at all. I have become adept at using cork mats as anchors for cutting boards along the edge of things. When I am cooking things that involve more mise en place than simple slicing and chopping on little boards along the way, my kitchen moves out to one of the two work tables outside the kitchen.
Now that the sun is finally beginning to fill the house again, It's time to put the pastry table back by the window, and move my writing desk to a quiet place in the house. This is a very good time for my kitchen cure. I need to optimize my kitchen, to do away with unnecessary steps. Time is more precious now than ever.