Friday, November 30, 2018

Good Kitchen Manners

Do you have good kitchen manners? I used to, but they got somewhat rusty of late:) I turned to Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson to refresh my homemaking knowledge. She devotes a whole chapter called Kitchen Culture to this very topic.

Her advice is simple and common sense: keep your kitchen clean all the time! Clean as you go. Wipe all the spills immediately. Frequently sanitise your sink and working surface. Take out the trash.  Don't let dirty dishes pile in the sink. Change kitchen towels regularly, etc etc.

She is really big on this whole sanitising thing, and while I agree that food safety is important I sometimes have a feeling that she takes it somewhat too far - we aren't really as fragile as to drop dead because of contamination caused by a spill, and I haven't heard of epidemics starting because some lady had a wet counter top:)

Cheryl reminds her readers that kitchen appliances have to be cleaned regularly, too. For instance, she says that you should clean your fridge every week. Other cleaning guides suggest doing it once a month, or even less, but I guess the cleaner, the better.

Inspired  by all this I went and cleaned my fridge yesterday. I also went back to vacuuming three times a week, as two times  appears to me not enough. How often do you clean your fridge and your kitchen? Do you have any special tips? Feel free to share!

P.S. There are some among us, mostly of the baby boomer persuasion, who scoff at the idea of women trying to learn more about housekeeping or improve their domestic skills. Yet, Home Comforts was a bestseller and the owner of FlyLady made millions out of it and had 550 000 followers  on Facebook. Sneering online is hardly an achievement, compared to that...


  1. I use a mixture of half peroxide and half water in a spray bottle to wipe down my counters and cutting boards. This works like bleach without the smell! Good suggestions in today's post.

  2. I'm glad you liked it, Gramma! Welcome to the blog. I believe peroxide is a sort of oxygen bleach, isn't it? You can use it to disinfect wounds, too, and my dentist recommends it for gum disease. I normally could use it without any problems to treat the cuts on my hands, but spilled it once on my leg and got swelling and discolouration! Since that time I'm somewhat cautious about it.

  3. I try to clean in the kitchen as I go; then as part of my daily "do the dishes by hand" routine I wipe down the stove and counters with hot soapy water, rinse and wring out the cloth, and wipe them down again to get them almost dry. I clean out the fridge when it appears to need it. When I worked as a housekeeper the woman had me clean out the fridge every Monday, tossing expired food, or produce that didn't look so good anymore (she was wasteful in my opinion, and I took home lots of still good stuff), and then wash out the entire interior. I'm not that fastidious, but I do like to wipe up spills as soon as they occur since that saves effort later when it has dried to a sticky or stiff crud. I read Home Comforts years ago and enjoyed most of it, although the author has a higher level of energy than I ever did, and a lower tolerance for dirt than I did, with five children.

  4. I have to do the dishes by hand since I don't own a dishwasher - it doesn't fit into our kitchen:) But I'm afraid I don't clean the counters quite as often (I wipe them regularly tho).

    I never buy in bulk so generally have few expired items, but sometimes I forget what's in my fridge and buy the same stuff and then discover that I already had it and it expired - not nice:)

    When I read books like Home Comforts, written by the wealthier class, I always wonder whether they really do everything they describe themselves. Pretty much everyone at this level has some sort of hired help...

  5. Sanitizing your kitchen is not necessary. Quite the opposite. Using microbe-killing products will just make the microbes more resistant to everything. Even if you desinfect a surface with strongest possible method, after 20 minutes it will be covered with microbes again. Because that is how world is, full of microbes. 99 % of them are not harmful, but neutral or good for us. And usually wen sanitizing we end up cilling the good and neutral ones, giving more room to the harmful ones. Surfaces are no more sanitized in hospital, either. (on the department, that is. Operating theater is obviously a matter of its own.)

    I have taken this hygiene passport -training couple of years ago, so I know something about kitchen hygiene.

    I swipe kitchen surfaces with damp microfiber cloth every time I have cooked. That's enough. Our kitchen desks are topped with steel, so they look dirty if you don't swipe them all the time.

    I very rarely clean the whole fridge. I know what is in there, I do not have to have inventory of it. If I see some dirt, I swipe it, but when you but clean containers on glass shelves, there is really nothing that would create dirt. Well, last summer was so extraordinary that I had to remove mold couple of times and also dry the fridge, it started to leak water. It was so hot and moist.

  6. I thought Grammagrits had a good idea with using diluted peroxide to clean around the counter and sink area. I'm going to try that, especially after preparing chicken. The odor of chlorine bleach is awful to me and actually makes my little dog cough.

    Ideally, I would like to thoroughly clean the refrigerator weekly before major weekly shopping. Unfortunately, I don't very often manage to get it done as often as that.

  7. Susie, I usually use dish-washing liquid for my counters.

    Housewife, I'm not sure what you mean under sanitising. I don't use bleach on my counter tops, but I wouldn't put raw chicken on it and later a slice of bread, without washing them first. Food poisoning from bacteria in raw meet is quite real. I got it once from a bbq and it wasn't at all pleasant:) You won't normal die from it, tho.

  8. Of course counters should be cleaned, but with sanitizing, I understand using something that desinfects, like chlorine or peroxide.

    I never put food straight on counter top. I have chopping boards that I wash after every use. Wooden ones for bread and veggies, plastic (those can be washed in dishwasher) for meat. Having different chopping boards for meat is actually recommendation here. If I must cut meat on the same chopping board I use for other purposes, I cover it with baking paper.

    Since my husband hunts, we deal a lot with raw meat. My husband just took "game hygiene" -course.

  9. Then we are basically in agreement. I've met some people who use a knife to cut raw chicken, than wipe it with a kitchen towel and use the knife (and the towel) for something else...Yet, they are still alive so the danger of contamination is prob somewhat exaggerated.

    Also, the book author wouldn't like it here in Europe:) We eat cheese made from raw milk, eggs with runny yolks and keep our butter out of the fridge! Oh yes, and we don't wash our hands every time we touched an apple or a potato...