In the small family of Subir and Jayati there was always the traditional Indian division of labour. Subir was the bread-earner, while Jayati was truly the homemaker in every way.
Once in a while, Subir tried to try his hand in the kitchen but the resultant displeasure of Jayati after he made a mess of it, stopped him altogether.
But Covid-19 changed it all. Lockdowns stopped the housemaids from coming and helping the housewives. Housework became tedious and consumed a lot of time and energy. The good news is that Subir lent a helping hand to his wife, as is done by most husbands during this crisis.
He also helped his wife to arrange the kitchen for increased efficiency. It is vital to arrange the kitchen in an efficient way; otherwise, it is very difficult to finish the work fast.
Plan Your Cooking Beforehand
Cooking takes time. In fact, cutting/chopping vegetables, washing all ingredients takes much more time than the actual cooking.
It will take away most of your time if you start deciding on the menu just before cooking, especially when you need the consensus of the family members. Since everything is pre-planned, no time would be wasted in pondering about what has to be cooked. It is always better to plan and arrange the ingredients ready beforehand. For example, you can always chop some vegetables and keep them in the fridge for cooking them the next morning.
Keep the Fridge Clutter-free
The coronavirus pandemic is still raging and it is advisable to minimize trips to crowded markets. Planning the purchase of perishable provisions like vegetables, eggs, fish, or meat and stocking them in the fridge ensures minimum shopping time.
However, avoid treating your fridge as the dumping ground for all these items. That way, there is a high chance of them getting spoiled and increasing waste.
Keep the Jars Well Arranged
Nothing reduces efficiency in the kitchen, and irritates you if you need to constantly look for cooking materials for a recipe. Arrange the jars in such a way that you can find something in a jiffy.
Cabinet shelves should be organised in such a way that you have a clear idea about which box goes where. For example, all the containers with pulses and grains could be put in one shelf while another shelf could be used to store various types of oils, ghee, and such items.
Use vertical cabinets to store jars. This will save a lot of space. Keep commonly used ingredients near you and keep rarely-used materials far from you. However, don’t forget to label them with the ‘best before’ dates on them.
Labeling the containers or using transparent jars are also two good ideas. But it is important to keep all the jars back to their places after using them.
Tidy the Kitchen Counter
The kitchen counter needs to be neat and tidy for efficient cooking and fire safety. There must be adequate space to keep the gas stove, microwave, mixer/blender, chopping board, and bowls/jars/containers.
While cooking, different jars and boxes are taken out of the cabinet. After cooking you must keep all of them back to their places. The same approach applies to mixers & grinders, toasters, waffle machines, etc.
Keep only some commonly used utensils like ladle, spoon, knife at hand.
Consider Your Work Triangle
The refrigerator, stove, and sink are usually the most utilized parts of your kitchen. Try to reduce any clutter or obstacles between them so that you can move easily and use them.
In the same way, consider the area around your chopping board. This area should be completely off-limits for anyone else.
The sink should have the facility to drain water off dishes and utensils.
Equipment like a toaster, juicer which is used mainly for preparing breakfast should be kept ready the night before, after the regular clean up.
Double down on regular deep cleaning your kitchen and pest control.
Never Postpone Cleaning Dishes
Keeping dirty dishes in the sink for the night attracts bugs and pests and also upsets the morning routine. Fortunately for Jayati, Subir joined hands in cleaning dishes every night.
The kitchen sink should be empty all the time. Dishes and utensils should be cleaned at regular intervals.
As the pandemic situation is not going to improve fast, we must take steps to maintain an efficient kitchen. It must be remembered that an inefficient kitchen is time-consuming, unhealthy, and very depressing for the homemakers.