When I started culinary school at Tante Marie’s, I was always amazed that Mary Risley (“Tante” herself) would come in during class and rearrange everything on the shelves. She’d move the crock of salt back to the left side, the olive oil back to the corner, the ladles on the rack above the stove, and the basket of napkins under the counter. She seemed so nit-picky. “What’s the big deal?” I’d think…
Well, ten years and a lot of cooking later, I get it! When you cook often in a kitchen, be it your own or where you work, you like to know where everything is. Being efficient in the kitchen makes you a better cook and you can only be so efficient if you’re running around trying to find the salt, your tongs, or a towel while your chicken is burning in the pan.
So imagine this…I move out of my house for a remodel (most of the house except the kitchen) and the folks running the project decide it would be a sweet idea to hire a professional organizer to clean out all the kitchen drawers and cupboards and ‘organize’ everything. I am sure the intentions were good but, come on! I cook for a living. Clearly the ‘organizer’ does not. Knives next to the stove when the cutting board is across the kitchen? Pot holders under the counter near the cutting board? And the Kitchen Aid, which I use all the time, relocated from it’s prime real estate on the counter and relegated to the ghetto in the back of the pantry.
I spent an entire day putting everything back in its place. I loved the clean cabinets and appreciated all my little baking gadgets in their own see-through boxes. But, I want my salt out next to the stove and my food processor on the counter. I want to cook without thinking. When I reach for a pairing knife or spatula, it should be where I put it last.
So everything does have a place and a reason for being in that place. Even if that reason is simply “because it’s always been there”. If it works for you, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!