In the IV kitchen, we find that we like cooking lots lots more if everything we need is clean, easy to find, and even...dare I say...pretty. My friend Lauren cooks in such an attractive way. She puts her veggies in containers as she chops them, cooking-show style. I told her I observed her doing this and she denies it, but I saw it! Mark and I have taken to doing the same thing. A bowl for the compost stuff and a bowl for each veggie.
As you saw in Mark's post on containers and bulk food, we have a lot of schtuff to keep organized. We pick up most of our containers for bulk stuff at thrift stores and I found some lovely packaging labels at an office supply store. We take the empty containers into the local coop and weigh them before filling them with their requisite contents and write the weight on the back of the tag for future reference. This keeps us from using as many bags and disposable containers. If the labels get a little mussed, you can tell that particular ingredient is well-loved (can you tell how much we like salt around these parts?).
We have a pantry with a little broom closet adjacent to it. We didn't find ourselves using the closet for much, and were running low on pantry space, so Mark put shelves in the broom closet and voila: more room! We also mounted some handy shelves onto the wall for more storage.
For awhile there, we had a pretty messy spice situation. They were in bags, different containers, and were generally mis-matchy and unattractive. We decided to invest in what I dubbed a spice-lution. We ordered these containers from a store called Raindogs. Ordering 30 of them was a bit pricey, which is why we think of it as an investment. After all, spices are one of the most important aspects of cooking, so they need to be kept in quality containers, away from humidity, excess light and other contaminants.
We were lucky to find room for ours on the side of our fridge since they're magnetic. We also liked these jars from Etsy, which are customizable and very attractive, but in the end, went with the ones with optional shake and pour openings.
In terms of fresh food, of course we keep most of it in the fridge like anyone else, but we also like to keep a lot of fruits and veggies that prefer room temperatures close at hand. We have a little set-up for potatoes, onions, garlic, etc. that we quite like.
The herbs that needed to be brought in for the winter in pots are ready to be clipped for soups, stews and other wint'ry goodness in the greenhouse window over our sink. Among all of their cactus and succulent friends, we have a healthy rosemary bush, lavendar and thyme. We dried the rest of the herbs, as mentioned in a previous post. There are also some dinosaurs, fish, and owls in there for good measure.
Okay now! What have we learned today? That's right: get busy and keep it pretty, people! Break!