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Kitchen: Coming Clean


Working Out the Kinks in the Kitchen

Working out the kinks in the kitchenwith Ms. Fresh N. Clean

At times it seems like my poor kitchen is a gym. It's where I'm constantly in overdrive, churning out school lunches, family dinners and messy baking projects. You'd think I was getting a rigorous workout with all that heavy lifting and sweating in front of the oven—though sadly the scale doesn't agree that cooking is an actual form of exercise. But after a long session of culinary aerobics, I like to give the hardest working room in the house the ultimate post-workout pampering. I like to think of it more as a luxurious trip to the spa.

On the occasional afternoon when the house is quiet and the kids are napping, I light a candle, turn on a little Norah Jones (if there isn't a Sex and the City marathon on cable) and bring out my special potions and polishes for that extra TLC. Somehow the thought of no looming deadline and the opportunity to take my time provides a relaxing moment for me.

First every surface gets a quick wipe down—call it make-up removal—for a clean slate. Next, the work horse areas get the ultimate Swedish massage—a good polish on the Carrara marble countertops and an oil rub down on the butcher block island to really work out the kinks from all that slicing, chopping and kneading. For a deep, "exfoliating clean," I take the burners off the range and make it shine. (Who knew so much macaroni 'n' cheese could hide under the range top?)

Next a little mani/pedi action on the oven knobs and faucets and then, in the spirit of cleansing, I purify the pantry and rid the refrigerator of expired food. All of those half-used jars of fig spread, salad dressings and jams aren't that much different than the color du jour nail polish and lipstick tubes that clutter my vanity drawers. The finishing touch? A spritz of spray in the recycling bins and a half a lemon churned up in the disposal. I take a deep breath and bask with my kitchen in our after-the-spa glow.

While it's still quiet I can plan out the next baking project for the kids and think about what my five-year-old will master next—yesterday she was carefully leveling flour with a butter knife, maybe tomorrow she'll be onto soufflés! And maybe I'll dive back into my old Julia Child cookbook, taking out the weekday stress by enthusiastically hacking chicken with a meat tenderizer in homage to the great 'French Chef'. Some people iron, some people run. I cook. And whatever we're cooking, this is my happy place, my true heart of the home, and at the end of the day, there's no place I'd rather be.

But for now, time to blow out the candle and order takeout. No one is coming near this kitchen today.

Geeky Clean

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