On Cooking: Is your kitchen functional and inspiring?

Make it a goal in your home to open up a cookbook once or twice a week.

Everyday we use our kitchen to prepare meals, so it only makes sense that this area of your home should be functional and appealing if we expect to be successful.

Is the environment welcoming? Do you enjoy the atmosphere of your kitchen?

Let’s start by making some simple changes that do not have to be overly expensive.

The first and most easy step is removing clutter. A cluttered work area is not inspiring.

It is nice to have objects in your kitchen that are of decorative value, but make sure that these things are not taking over your kitchen.

The next step is functionality. Keep one area cleared that will be always be used for a cutting board. This space should have easy accessibility to your knives and perhaps your sink or stovetop.

Knives are best kept in a knife block, where they can be simply removed and returned every time you use them.

If your counter space does not allow the room for a knife block in this preparation area you have chosen, then consider purchasing a magnetic knife strip that mounts on the wall.

Another solution would be a knife holder that slides into a nearby drawer. The main thing to keep in mind is that knives should not be stored loose in a drawer. This is not only dangerous, but also detrimental to extending the life of the sharpness of the blades.

The next area to focus on is the accessibility of other kitchen utensils and equipment. A canister with an assortment of wooden spoons, spatulas, and other tools works great.

Where your pots and pans are stored is just as important. If you have the money and space, consider buying a hanging pot rack. This will not only make them more easily accessible, but also provide protection to non-stick surfaces by not having them stacked on top of each other in a cupboard.

Other areas to consider for ease of use would be the accessibility of your spices and pantry.

The refrigerator and freezer can also be coordinated to contain the perishables of the same cuisine. Motivation to focus more on cooking certain cuisines in your household will start with having the ingredients at your fingertips.

Organizing or redecorating a space in your home will always entice you to spend more time in that area.

This can also be taken to the extreme, if your budget allows, by refinishing the cupboards, buying new appliances, and adding a new coat of paint. Sometimes all it takes it a little extra lighting to create a more open and inviting space. Easy to install under-cupboard, wireless lights can now be found at reasonable prices.

The simplest of all culinary resolutions, however, is to blow some dust off your cookbooks and start making some new dishes.

Whether it is of small or large proportions, we all have collections of cookbooks, with many of them going unused. Make it a goal in your home to open up a cookbook once or twice a week, and try a new recipe.

Happy Cooking.

Chef Dez is a chef, writer and host. Visit him at chefdez.com.

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