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Welcome to My Messy Kitchen: 6 Things I Never Put Away

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.
redtoaster
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
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?

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About Jodi Chromey

Jodi Chromey is a freakishly tall writer who edits MN Reads and has been blogging at I Will Dare since 2000. Follow her on Twitter: @jodiwilldare

  • Elaine

    I love this and I actually have a toaster oven, so I never put it away for obvious size reasons. Back when I had a traditional toaster, of course I kept it on the counter. Putting it away is weird!

    • http://twitter.com/jodiwilldare Jodi Chromey

      I knew it was weird. I just knew it!

  • http://twitter.com/thebeercolonel Ian Cann

    Definitely have to agree, putting the toaster away sounds downright peculiar, ours is left out, lest toastular cravings grab one at odd hours.

    • http://twitter.com/jodiwilldare Jodi Chromey

      RIght! And who wants to drag out the toaster whenever that craving hits? Nobody, that’s who.

  • Kate

    Um… I, too, put the toaster away. And I have never been to either Dakota. It started with my parents… we had a “garage” style cupboard that the toaster lived in growing up, so it just slid in and out when we used it. But that was my introduction to the hide-the-toaster club idea. Now my countertop’s pretty spartan… space is limited, and I’m shallow, so only the pretty things survive. And cords are not pretty. Neither is my toaster. Much more relevant, however: My husband and I don’t ever use the thing. We only still have it for my poor roommate, who uses it maybe once a month. If I used it regularly, I’d buy a prettier one, and then yes, it’d stay on the counter.

  • http://twitter.com/Tikabelle Tikabelle

    I grew up in Alaska where we ALSO regularly got inches of snow in April. Then I moved to the Bay Area of California, where it is currently gorgeous outside, and the *only* thing I miss about living in a colder place is the number of months during which I crave soup. This year it was posole.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41301615 Amanda Oster

    I’m a Dakotan (South) who puts my toaster in the cupboard, partially because I don’t use it that much, partially because I live in an apartment lacking counter space. But, it may be worth noting that I grew up in Nebraska and our toaster lived on the counter.

  • http://twitter.com/Bookshop_Girl Ellie Potten

    I’m in the UK and I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody who puts their toaster away after they’ve used it. Surely it’s just a recipe for showering yourself in toast crumbs on a near-daily basis? Nope, it stays next to the bread bin, near the fridge (for easy access to delicious toppings), right where the Kitchen Gods intended it to be.