The one kitchen tool I use every single day, a Rachael Ray-style "garbage bowl" and "compost bowl".
This is the latest in an occasional series of posts I'm going to call "One Quick Tip" ... because, well, each one will include a single quick tip, quick to absorb, easy to adopt, memorable to use.
Thanks to everyone who sent in tips last month, I'm busy incorporating them into my own kitchen, you are so creative! Isn't it the little things we do that some times make all the difference? Thank you!
Do you have One Quick Tip you'd like to share? Leave a comment or send me a quick e-mail via email@example.com. This week, I'd love to hear how you deal with a kitchen's "mess" – y'know, garbage, food scraps, recycling, used cans and bottles, etc. Old or new idea, big or small idea, I'd love to know how you run your kitchen!
"A good artist copies, a great artist steals." Whether Pablo Picasso ever said this, who knows but I'll confess here and now, I "stole" the garbage bowl idea from Rachael Ray at least a decade ago.
EVERY SINGLE DAY But I use a garbage bowl every day, in fact, multiple times per day! What other kitchen tool gets the same use? Think about it, is there anything? Not in my kitchen!
GARBAGE-BOWL EFFICIENCY A garbage bowl is all about saving time and steps. The idea is to have an efficient somewhere to put cooking "garbage" (vegetable trimmings, butter wrappers, etc.) without extra steps for multiple trips to a garbage can, no matter where you're workspace is. A garbage bowl is especially useful in a large kitchen or an inefficient kitchen or a kitchen where garbage is kept under the sink or inside a cupboard. Friends have a trash compactor, the open-n-close routine would drive me crazy!
GARBAGE BOWLS FOR REAL-FOOD COOKS What I find, however, is that my cooking generates few cans, bottles and paper packaging and that when it does, they go to recycling. So my garbage bowl isn't a "garbage bowl", it's a "compost bowl" – used only for vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, no meat, no dairy. And I STILL use it every day!
NO PURCHASE REQUIRED For years, my garbage bowl/compost bowl was an empty Folgers coffee tub, easy to throw in the dishwasher, about the right size for a day's worth of vegetable scraps. But when we finished the new kitchen last summer, I splurged on two large melamine bowls, aren't they pretty?! There are other colors too but I do love the bright green!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR Because the new kitchen has two sinks, I bought two bowls, one for each sink. But it turns out that the small vegetable-prep sink isn't as useful as it sounded – it's one of two choices I regret in the new kitchen. But I still love having two bowls. Here's why:
The two bowls stack so take up the space of just one.
They fit in the right sink, out of the way of the main sink. I suppose I could find room underneath the sink to store these but honestly, they "live" in the sink full-time.
When one bowl is full, there's another for overflow. When I'm in rush-rush mode cooking dinner, no trip to the compost pile required.
Even completely filled, two bowls aren't two heavy to carry outside, one in each hand.
When two of us are cooking, yep, his'n'hers garbage bowls!
MUCH TO MY SURPRISE Vegetable scraps create no odor, even in a warm kitchen in summer, even collecting in a big pile on the far side of the garden. We're not yet experts in compost, beyond noticing that the resident woodchuck is especially fond of corn cobs and citrus. More on that later if we learn something interesting!
ALTERNATIVES Again, no need to buy something special. Could you use a vegetable bag from the grocery? Of course. Could you use yesterday's newspaper? Yes! Could you use a bowl you already own? Absolutely! Or what about an ice cream bucket with a lid? Sure!
THAT'S IT! Really! One Quick Tip! What do you think, would a garbage bowl or compost bowl work in your kitchen routine? I'd love to know what you think!
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