When I first starting cooking, frequent cleaning was a necessity; I had a single two-foot-long counter in my kitchen, so I didn't have space for a mess. But even as I got older and my counter space became more expansive, the benefits of cleaning as I cooked were clear. I felt better organized and more focused when my workspace was tidy. I could see the ingredients in front of me. I made fewer mistakes. Cooking was more fun.
But I am also someone who works best in a clean, uncluttered environment, which isn't everyone's ideal. As tough as it is for neat freaks like me to understand, there are some people who thrive in messy work spaces, jumbled desks or studios where chaos leads to creativity. I'm willing to believe there are cooks out there who cook better in a kitchen where the counters are cluttered and the dirty bowls aren't immediately put in the sink — I just can't be in their kitchens without a sponge nearby.
How about you? Do you clean as you go while cooking? Why do you do it?