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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Clean Habits

One of the best lessons I ever learned was to clean up the kitchen after dinner. It may sound intuitive to you - maybe you've never known any other way - but believe me, it was HUGE when I mastered that skill.

In high school, living with my dad and step-mother, our kitchen was always a wreck. You would do the dishes before you prepared a meal - to make room for the food prep - and not after. Dinner took place at 8 pm or so, in front of the TV. In college, when I came home from Austin for weekends, the first thing I would do on arrival was stay up late cleaning the kitchen. The stove always got special treament from me- I was the only one who cleaned it. Ever. My dad asked me only a little jokingly if I was on crack - I didn't even know what crack was.

Later, in my own house, it still seemed like too much trouble to prepare a meal, eat it, and THEN clean up. I don't think it was until we had children that we really got into the habit of cleaning up each night. Now, I hate the rare occaisons when we go to bed with a dirty kitchen.

All of which is to say - hurray, the kitchen is clean! We had a fabulous meal of chicken thighs in a tarragon cream sauce with rice and minty peas, one that had been planned for some time, but only executed tonight. Well worth the wait.

In this year of stress, it's these moments I cling to - sleeping children, full bellies, clean kitchen. Life is truly good.

1 comment:

Krispy said...

I think it is children which encourages the clean-up after dinner. That's how I was "raised," and when in my lax years after moving out of my parent's house, I gave it up. I was totally okay with doing the huge amount of dinner party dishes in the morning - refreshed and savoring the memory of the previous night's meal.

it drove my parent's nuts too. bonus.

now, of course, the sight of dirty dishes in the morning is not something to savor. Just one more thing to tackle before getting people out the door. In fact, my perfect morning is when Smith has gotten up and already emptied the dishwasher. that's joy.