Our Eating Lives features stories about how food, cooking, and eating have shaped who we are and how we live.
I’m not a very good housekeeper, and I’m okay with that. My kitchen counters are cluttered with stuff. I usually only clear them on the days I go grocery shopping, and that’s only so I have some place to put my bags (the reusable kind, of course). Now, as I type this I realize I am blessed with ample counter space. Lucky me. And I don’t take that blessing for granted. Instead, I revel in that blessing and the ampleness of my endless counter bounty by keeping all kinds of stuff on the counters. Here’s a partial list.
The Toaster: This is the appliance that inspired this whole post. I have not one, but two friends who put the toaster in a cupboard when that are done with it. I think this is weird. Incidentally, both of those friends are from the Dakotas (one South, one North). Perhaps it’s a weird Dakotan thing? Toasters are meant to be on the counter, aren’t they? I might go weeks without using the toaster, but that doesn’t mean it should be banished to a cupboard. The toaster should always be available at the drop of a bagel or a frozen waffle or a Pop Tart or a why would you ever put this away? Plus, my toaster is cute and red and worthy of being displayed even if looks like it’s stranded on an island of crumbs.
The Can Opener: I don’t have a fancy electric can opener. They are ugly. Also, I never got married so I didn’t register for stuff that most people seem to have gotten as wedding gifts or at bridal showers (see: Crockpot below). Instead I have a white, hand-crank can opener that I bought in 1991 when I went to college. It serves me well and sits atop my counter at all times. In fact, I get super cranky if I find I have put away the can opener because that’s just madness.
Peanut Butter: What’s the point of putting it away? I eat peanut butter at least 821 times a week.
Coffee Maker: I have a cheapie Mr. Coffee coffee maker. The drip kind that most coffee snobs hate with a passion. Whatever. I like having coffee ready to pour when I decide to make my descent downstairs and into the land of the living. The mornings where I forgot to set the timer are full of sadness and suck. Thankfully, I don’t do that very often.
Mixer: This is a relatively new addition to my messy counters. My parents’ got me a shiny, swanky, persimmon-colored Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas. It is a ridiculously ostentatious gift that I love and that has inspired me to try to get over my baking aversion. While I still kind of hate baking, I hate it a little less because of this. And thanks to this bad boy always out on the counter I have perfected the art of banana bread. Anyway, it is the prettiest thing on my counters.
Crockpot: This one should have an asterisk for seasonality. Since I live in Minnesota the crockpot lives on the counter from about October to April. I make soup. A lot. In fact, during the endless winter (it’s snowing here in Minnesota today on April 13, like inches of the white stuff) soup comprises roughly 90% of my diet. I like soup.
Are you a keeper of a spartan counter? Or do you keep it cluttered? I’m curious, does anyone else put the toaster away or is that just a weird habit of people I befriend?
Sign up for our newsletter to have the best of Food Riot delivered straight to your inbox every two weeks. No spam. We promise.