Lucy Corry’s Blog: Kitchen jobs ranked from worst to best
Lucy Corry may be a fantastic cook, but that doesn’t mean she’s a natural at other kitchen tasks.
Got visitors coming for the long weekend and worried that you’re going to have to do some binge-cleaning before they arrive? Here’s my personal list of jobs to sign up for (and ones to avoid).
5. DE-GUNGING THE DISHWASHER
Ugh. I loathe scraping the gunge from our dishwasher so much that I’m almost ready to give it up and return to the old-fashioned method (see no. 2 below). I used to think our former dishwasher (a no-name brand that was easily 15-20 years old) was bad enough at collecting greasy grey goo around all its important working bits, but our new one (the dreaded dish drawer variety) is worse. We diligently rinse our dishes first, but still the scum comes. It’s the worst.
When the dishwasher started making ominous noises a few months ago I called in an expert. Like a sick child who makes a miraculous improvement when you take them to the doctor, the dishwasher performed perfectly while the technician and I made awkward small talk.
While his portable Eftpos machine efficiently extracted the call-out fee from my bank account he gave me life-changing advice: start using dishwasher cleaner. This in itself was worth the call-out fee, meaning the de-gunging has to occur much less frequently. Win!
4. CLEANING THE FRIDGE
Does opening your fridge ‘spark joy’? No, I don’t often feel it either. Much of the time our fridge is an accurate reflection of our family life: messy, haphazard and nothing gets put where it should be. This is probably because I loathe cleaning the fridge (and the other members of my household don’t seem keen on it either). Keeping the fridge pristine just feels so futile.
Last weekend I spent an hour auditing its contents and painstakingly cleaning all its nooks and crannies. The job itself felt quite satisfying when it was done, but it didn’t take long for the zen to fade. A couple of days after the deep clean, a knocked-over jar of olives with a mis-applied lid did its best to spill brine over everything and I had to start again.
Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo (she of the trademarked ‘KonMari Method’ and the multi-million dollar career built on the ‘life-changing magic of tidying up’) says we should keep our fridges 30 per cent empty so there’s space for leftovers and new items. I think it’s so there’s less to clean.
3. CLEANING THE OVEN
When my husband and I had been living together for about six months I opened the oven in our tiny flat and said, ‘hmmm, maybe I should clean this’. He looked horrified. “Why would you do that? You only need to clean an oven when you move out of somewhere!”
This logic was hard to fault (especially because at the time we moved house about once a year). Mostly, I’ve stuck to it. And you know what? Despite what you might have been schooled to believe, ovens don’t actually need that much cleaning.
I mean, it is nice to see through the door (and you should obviously wipe up any big spills when they happen), but there’s no need for your oven to look brand new. Nor is there any need to use those noxious sprays: a good application of baking soda and white vinegar will deal with most issues. Reclaim your life and stop cleaning your oven.
2. DOING THE DISHES
In 2014, a US academic study found that washing dishes ‘mindfully’ — that is, fully concentrating on the sensory experience rather than resentfully scrubbing burnt pots — could significantly lower stress levels.
I’ve read elsewhere that the act of having your hands in hot water (while doing the dishes) is supposed to be good for anxiety. In the right circumstances, doing the dishes can be a companionable and calming activity. But all parties need to be in the right frame of mind, which means no tea towel flicking or shoddy washing.
Sure, it can be a chore — I’m not going to pretend that I pull on my apron every night with a song in my heart — but if you’re cooking then you’ve got a cast-iron reason not to have to do any of the other jobs. Don’t tell anyone else and you’ll probably get away with it.