I have a small table on castors which I can pull up to the stove when I am cooking, then I can stand and reach to the stove, the pantry or the sink, and not move a step. This pull table is a boon to me in many ways. It has a cutlery drawer and I can wipe and put away the cudery without taking a step. Also stored in this drawer are extra kitchen aprons.
If I wish to set the table in the dining-room, I put all I require from the pantry on this table, then wheel it to the hatch. I have even set the supper on it and wheeled it through to the fireplace in the living room. A handy thing in a home and it saves me miles of walking in a day.
I have a radio extension in the kitchen and a power plug for my electric iron; also a tin-opener fixed to the wall, which opens tins with a turn of the handle – no more cut fingers since I discovered this treasure.
The handy clothes-horse is behind the kitchen coal-box, a towel rail behind the door and, above the towel rail, a mirror and shelf for a brush and comb (I’ve been grateful to the mirror many a time for showing me I needed a tidy-up before serving the dinner in the dining-room).
Then there is the dish rack above the draining board at one end of the sink, the tumbler-holder on the window frame one side of the sink, and the tin of scouring powder in another tumbler-holder at the other end of the sink. (This saves the scouring tin being pushed into all sorts of out-of-the-way places.)
There is a light above the sink and one above the stove, for I am convinced good lighting is essential in a kitchen to prevent eyestrain and accidents. Centre lighting is no good for all-round kitchen jobs – how can it be when all kitchen equipment is arranged around the walls and you stand with your back to the centre light when doing any job?
And talking of standing – never stand when you can sit. I have a handy stool (a tall office one) in my kitchen and sit when I do the potatoes or butter the bread.
When the family came I made a few alterations to the kitchen – as safety measures.
The door leading to the kitchen was halved so that the bottom half could be closed and the top half kept open. When the children were small they played in the hall with safety and I knew they would not come crawling about my feet when I least expected them or I had a steaming-hot pan in my hand. What a relief this has been to me!
The back door to the garden is halved in the same way; on hot days I can have the top part open and let in the sun, and the bottom part can be kept closed so that the gas cannot blow out, or ashes be blown about the kitchen by a possible breeze. There is a fireguard in front of the fire, and on the top shelf of the pantry a well-equipped first-aid box.
Even now, when the children are of school age, force of habit makes me keep kettle spouts pointing inwards. I never leave spoons in pans; I look around to sec if the coast is clear before I lift a hot pan to or from the sink, and I wipe up greasy spots immediately.
I try to put everything away in its place after use, for I think that if a kitchen is bright and clean then the whole house seems inviting. And 1 wash up all dishes before going to bed each night.
One should go to bed with the home ready for any emergency. It’s now automatic with me to set the tray for the morning tea! And I know many folk who set the breakfast table the night before.
Before I leave the kitchen I would like to tell you how I hated dish-washing until an aunt taught me the art.
Scrape every dish clean, stack in piles – greasy pile, crumb pile, pudding pile, and so on. Empty slops from all teacups and put greasy cutlery into a pan of soapy suds to soak, and the non-greasy cutlery into a bowl of hot water.
Work with hot snapy water in a basin raised on boards in the sink to get it to a height that saves you from stooping. Sleeves up.
Apron on, and we’re all set to work in this order: glasses, silver, china, non-greasy cutlery, crumb plates, pudding plates, then greasy things, pots and pans. All should be rinsed in clear water, then the glassware and silver wiped and the crockery stacked in the dryer. Wipe pots and pans and cutlery, then go back and wipe dishes, for they won’t wet the cloth so much after draining. Use plenty of warm-water suds and clean towels.
Wash the things immediately after a meal; the longer they wait the harder it is to get the grease off. Wipe over stove and sink.
It took me many, many years to acquire kitchen wisdom and the art of washing dishes properly and liking it.
Most women have too many and most homes don’t separate them in their handy groups.
Group I: Serving tools and dishes; should be near the stove.
Group 2: Mixing tools; should be near the store cupboard.
Group 3: Vegetable and cleaning tools; should be near the sink.
Any little thing which can be arranged to save you needless backward and forward movements in the kitchen will be well worth while. It isn’t good enough to say: ‘That’s so small a detail it doesn’t matter.’ Think of the number of times you may do just that small action in a day, a month, a year, and you will realize the energy you can save for more worth-while jobs.