The Kitchn Cure Day 1: Make a list of what you like and dislike about your kitchen.
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Hello, and welcome to Day 1 of the Kitchn Cure. I'm really excited to get started on our four-week journey to a more mindful and thoughtful relationship with our kitchens. As the creator of The Kitchn's Weekend Meditations column and an author of a new book based on the mindful kitchen, I'm planning on taking the cure to a more thoughtful place this year. Yes, we will still sort and scrub and toss and reevaluate. But we will also pause to reflect and connect on a deeper level with our kitchens and all that happens there.
And so we begin today, quite naturally, with a sit and a list.
Day 1 Assignment
Following the classic Cure schedule, week one is all about tackling the refrigerator and freezer, but our first day is devoted to making a list of overall likes and dislikes. Before we plunge into list-making, let's get a little closer with the place we will be focusing our attention on this month. Let's spend a few quiet moments in our kitchen.
- Find a time when there's no one around to interrupt you, when your family or roommates are away or maybe even asleep. Turn off the radio, turn off your phone — try to silence all potential distractions. If there isn't a chair already in your kitchen, drag one in. Grab a notebook and a pen and place it nearby. Sit down. Take a deep breath and then another. Settle into stillness and just ... hang out in your kitchen.
- Don't do anything, just be present. (This may be harder than it sounds, but just stay with it.) Try for a state of simple observation. Look around, listen, open all your senses. Be available. After a few moments, write down some of the words that come immediately to mind when you experience your kitchen. Depending on your relationship, this could be anything from 'sheer joy' to 'get me out of here!' or a million things in between. Doesn't matter what comes up, just write it down.
- Take a look at these words — you may find some surprises here, or it may be an all-too-familiar litany of complaints. Try to not pass any judgement, just be curious about what came up. What are some of the broader issues, the overarching feelings and observations? Is your kitchen a place you want to be?
- Now, move to a new page and draw a line down the middle. Carrying your pen and notebook with you, take a closer look at your kitchen from a like/dislike POV. Actually, I would say be more expansive than like/dislike. Be very specific about it. My stove makes me feel happy/frustrated/disgusted; this bowl makes me happy because it was my grandmother's; I'm so proud of my spice shelf. Go deep — open drawers and cupboards and the fridge. As you jot these things down, put the things you feel more positively about in one column and the more negative things in the other.
Hopefully this exercise of closely observing and noting your ideas and feelings about your kitchen has brought you to a more connected place with this room you spend a lot of time in. Mostly our lists are a mix of things we want to change and a pleasant reminder of what's working. Don't discard that list! We'll come back to it again later in the Cure.
For the rest of the week we'll be cleaning out our refrigerators and freezers. Be sure to have plenty of storage containers/bags, labeling tape, and a Sharpie handy, as well as your favorite all-purpose cleaner.
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