Sunday, May 27, 2012
Summer Housekeeping Report #1
It's not actually summer yet, but it's beginning to feel that way. A string of days in the mid-80s, the garden out back actually starting to look like something. Absolute panic on my part when I think about keeping children entertained for the next eleven weeks.
So I have that summer feeling, which is akin to a New Year's feeling, which is to say, that feeling that makes you want to get everything in tip top shape and organized and clean and breezy. You want to shed all heaviness--heavy food, heavy blankets, heavy blanketings of dust on the furniture.
To that end, I've been cleaning out closets. First, I tackled the upstairs linen closet, forcing myself to stuff a huge bag full of sheets and towels we never use (but I've kept on hand "just in case"), the lovely Winnie-the-Pooh pillowcase my mom made for Jack, which he seems to have no use for anymore, go figure, and yes, even quilts. Bad quilts. Quilts that serve no purpose in my life, as they are, well, ugly.
After the linen closet, the downstairs hall closet. Forced myself to chuck shoes that I once loved but will never wear again, even though in their day they were quite fabulous. I love shoes, but there's no point in getting nostalgic over them. Life's too short. Also abandoned Will's tennis shoes from first grade, his cleats from second grade, his basketball shoes from last season that had to be replaced three weeks in due to a sudden growth spurt ...
And yesterday I did something I've been meaning to do for ages and ages. If you're like me, you rip recipes out of magazines even if there's only the remotest chance you might make them some day. Maybe you've been reading a lot about quinoa lately, and Cooking Light has five pages of quinoa recipes. Rip, rip, rip. You've never been able to pass up a recipe for cold sesame noodles, and here's one in Wednesday's cooking section of the paper. Rip. And so on, until you have several cookbook's worth of recipes--that you never, ever make. Never. Why is that?
I don't know. It probably has something to do with the fact that my children protest just about anything that doesn't involve a slab or red meat or macaroni and cheese. So I dream, but my dreams come to nothing.
Yesterday, I sat down with several binders and a pile of page protectors, and I put together three cookbooks. Well, first I got real and threw 85% of my recipe collection into the recycling bin. I have recipes that are eighteen years old that I've never once attempted. Actually, I held onto a few of those, just because they from my early married life, and it's fun to see what kind of cooking I aspired to back then.
The remaining recipes I put in one of the three binders: Summer Cooking, Fall and Winter Cooking, and Everyday Cooking. The everyday recipes are the old standbys--the Cheesy Chicken Chowder, the cold tuna pasta Salad, the spaghetti pie--my greatest hits, so to speak, the recipes I hardly need recipes for anymore, but can never find when I go looking for them.
It was a big job, but I sat out on the screened porch and listened to the Snap Judgement podcast, and I got 'er done.
So all this to say, mostly what I've been doing the last few days is walking around and looking in closets, and in the laundry room (really my laundry closet; it's a miniscule space), where my out-of-control recipe collection lived. Everything looks spiffy and organized. Next up, the shelves over the washer and dryer, which are filled to the ceiling with things we no longer use. Hello--fingerpaints, anyone?
Bread and Roses was one of my favorite housewiferly blogs for a long time running, but it's been on a sabbatical for close to two years. Now Dulce's back and posting on a fairly regularly basis. Go visit her and say hey!