Good vibes only.
As much time as we spend in the kitchen, it only makes sense that it should be a space where good vibes and positive energy flows. After all, the kitchen is more than a space where you cook your daily meals. It’s a family gathering spot, an impromptu dance floor, and the perfect space for deep conversations. Despite the casual culinary hiccups that occur in the kitchen, such as scorching the bottom of a pot or spilling any number of items all over the floor, the kitchen should, above all, be a place where the good times and good vibes continuously flow.
Here are a few suggestions on how to make the kitchen your go-to destination in the house for a positive energy recharge.
Blast Your Favorite Music (or Podcast)
Nothing helps you get into a groove better than listening to music. Make a specific cooking playlist or turn on your favorite artist while you chop, slice, and sauté your way to an epic meal and an epic state of calm. Whether you are struggling to wash the dishes after cooking or you need to organize your pantry and spices, listening to music will help the time fly by. So don’t leave those pots and pans soaking in water overnight, just get your tunes going and summon the motivation to clean them now! Trust me, you will feel much better walking into your kitchen after a long day of work when the sink is empty and clean. To make listening to music and catching up on your new podcast obsession in the kitchen easier, consider purchasing a portable bluetooth speaker with which you can connect your phone remotely.
Bring In Sunlight and Plants
If you are lucky enough to have windows and natural sunlight available, pull back the shades and let those rays shine on in. We could all use an extra dose of vitamin D anyway. When cooking during the daylight hours, be sure to push back the curtains and open the blinds for added cheer.
Potted plants or windowsill herbs are also a great way to bring a little bit of nature into the kitchen. If you don’t exactly have a green thumb, try your luck with a bamboo plant. It’s a very low-maintenance plant that does not require a ton of light. Simply remember to refill the vase the bamboo is placed in with water as it starts to evaporate. Alternatively, you can stop by the floral section in your grocery store to grab a bouquet of fresh flowers to display on the counter or kitchen table for a pop of fresh color.
Add Cheerful Decorative Touches
There is a reason why we love art in our homes; it’s an expression of individual taste and the styles and colors we choose to populate our homes naturally evoke positive personal feelings. With that in mind, inhabit your kitchen space with a bit of your personality via a few decorative touches, such as a mounted shelf for ingredients or favorite cookbooks and pieces of fun, food-forward art. The kitchen can be a slightly tricky area to hang up artwork because of the inherent tendency for grease to accumulate on the walls (and basically any surface in your kitchen); however, you can still swing a few artful finishes. A couple of framed (inexpensive) prints that you enjoy, such as cooking-related infographics, ingredient images, or vintage food advertisements, can bring a tasteful touch of personality and energy to your space. Simply wipe any framed pieces with a damp cloth and a gentle cleaning solution every so often to prevent grimey build-up.
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Invest in Organizational Tools
Organization in the kitchen is key to both a consistently hassle-free experience and general peace of mind. As space permits, organize all of your tools in a way that makes it easy for you to access them as you cook. A magnetic strip is a nifty and aesthetic accesory to place on a kitchen wall to hold your knives and other steel kitchen tools. It relieves your counter from housing a knife block, allows you to safely grab your knives, and honestly, it’s super satisfying to watch your knives snap back in place after they’ve been cleaned and dried.
A kitchen drawer divider is also another excellent tool that can transform the way you locate utensils and tools. Everything will have its place, and there is true comfort in knowing that your wine opener is alway within reach.
We spend so much time during any given week doing things for others (for work-related and family-related needs), however, I’d challenge you to take a few minutes and intentionally dedicate them for some real “you time.” Pour yourself a glass of wine or a favorite beer and move at a pace that feels comfortable while you are prepping and cooking.
If you booze isn’t your thing, another way to treat yourself is by simply taking a deep breath before entering into full chef mode. Cooking is one of those activities that allows (and oftentimes, really demands) you to be fully present in the moment. Give yourself permission to clear your mind of anything else for a bit; you only need to focus on the task at hand. Don’t think about how long it’s going to take you to cook, just focus your full attention on the process and the steps of the recipe. You will most likely still finish in a timely manner and the results will be a carefully crafted and delicious meal, that you are apt to appreciate all the more.
Keep the Little Ones Busy
Cooking in the kitchen alone can be therapeutic, but it can also be more fun with some assistance from your mini sous chefs. Rather than putting them in front of a television in a different room (though, this is sometimes necessary), Food & Wine Executive Editor Karen Shimizu enjoys having her kids actively involved in the kitchen during meal prep. “It gives the kids something to do. We're all engaged in the process. I give them the salad spinner and tell them to keep spinning till I say stop. It doesn't hurt to spin lettuce for like 30 min, right?” Doling out simple, age-appropriate tasks will not only keep the kids occupied as you cook, but allows them to feel involved and accomplished, as well as giving everyone a good opportunity for quality time. I think most parents would agree that letting the kids have a hand in their family meal is time well spent in the kitchen, especially when it means that you’re guaranteed a sog-free salad.