Wednesday, December 29, 2010

5 Steps to Loving the Kitchen You're In: Step 3: Use White Stuff

I don't know what it is about white in a kitchen that makes me happy, but I've decided it's because white makes food look better. More appetizing, better colors, whatever it is, white and kitchens go together.

I'm not necessarily talking about cabinets (although I do love those) or dishes (those are good, too), but just the general stuff that takes up space in your kitchen. White will serve you well every time. Need an example? How about this. A few years ago when I was pregnant with one of my children my best friend Anna came over and swept and mopped up my floor for me just because. It was like a little sunshine had just perched itself in my kitchen when she did it, I'm telling you. Anyway, she chided me for not using white rags. "Why use white?" I asked. "Because," she replied, "with white you can really see the dirt, and it's way more of a feeling of accomplishment if you can see what you just wiped up." I was instantly converted to white rags, towels, and other stuff, too. Here's two more benefits of using all white towels in your kitchen: 1) bleach, baby, and 2)cheap and available. You can go to WalMart or the dollar store and spend about $10-$15 and get a whole new setup of towels for your kitchen any day of the week. And I love pulling out a clean white towel and hanging it up for the day. It just makes me happy. Another example? When I first got married my mom bought me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer that I have used for 16 years. She asked me what color I wanted and she really tried to steer me towards white because it would never go out of style. What did I choose? Cobalt blue. Yes. So in style in the 90s and now I have so often wished I had a white or stainless steel one that I could put out on my counter and appreciate as practical artwork. Cobalt blue hasn't been in my decorating palette since, oh, 1998, so it's been hidden, but well used ever since. A petty reason to choose white, but a reason nonetheless.

One more cleaning tip: after you buy all your white washcloths and you're wiping up (and seeing) all that dirt, what do you do with it when you're done? Do you chuck it in the sink in a wet, smelly ball? Do you hang it over the middle of the sink so when you turn the water on it gets wetter and never dries out and turns all smelly so that when you wipe your counters with it next time all your counters smell like mildew? No, you rinse it, lay it flat, and let it dry on the side of your sink. And you get out a clean one out every single day. I know you can afford to go out during the clearance sales this week and buy at least 7 white washcloths without going into debt. Okay, pet peeve fully disclosed. Moving on.

Another thing I like to use in white are my basic kitchen tools. I took a tip from Ina Garten's checklist for stocking your kitchen on House Beautiful's website when she said to use inexpensive crockery in white to hold your utensils and things you use every day. That way, if something happens to them and they get broken or chipped in the kitchen they're easy to replace.

So next time you need to buy some kitchen stuff, look into white. It's neutral, it's classic, it's easy to clean, it looks clean, and it's found just about everywhere.

Happy eating!

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