On Cleaning

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“The best way to clean a frying pan that has burned food cemented to the bottom is to let it soak in soapy water for several days and then, when nobody is looking, throw it in the garbage.” – Dave Barry

These wise words from kitchen sage Dave Barry were running through my head yesterday as I stared into my favorite pot. I had foolishly left it unattended while boiling milk and potatoes, and the resultant explosion had left starch and dried scorched milk cemented to every visible inch. Unwilling to follow Barry’s excellent advice, I soaked, scrubbed, then soaked again, and had some contemplative thoughts on cleaning in the kitchen…

My first thought was philosophical: we love to think about, talk about, plan and cook delicious food. And yet there is always the corresponding cleanup, especially for those of us with small kitchens and no dishwasher other than our own two hands. To the yin of the fragrant meal there is inevitably the yang of the steel wool and dish soap, a give and take of preparation and putting away.

My second thought was much more practical, and it’s a question for all of you faithful Friday readers. How do you clean the very worst messes in your kitchen? What motivates you? Are you a leave-it-till-the-morning person? Or do you stay up until 2am until the sink is pristine again? Did your mother or grandmother impart any really great tips for, say, cleaning boiled milk off a saucepan? (My final and resigned strategy was elbow grease and lots of it.)

Bring on the baking soda and the boiling water – got any good cleanup tips to prepare us for the Thanksgiving aftermath?