By Marsha Fottler -
* Wash down inside of cabinets, replace shelf paper (with something fun) or paint the inside of your cabinets. Use high gloss paint for easy clean up ever after.
* Throw away most of your spices and start fresh. Resolve to buy spices in smaller quantities. Most food stores now package spices in little self-seal plastic bags. And some manufacturers (such as McCormick) are packaging several spices in cartons of four to six with attached recipes. The carton is good for about two meals. Old spices have no flavor, attract bugs and don’t belong in your 2012 kitchen.
* Get rid of past-their-date canned goods. What are you saving them for? They don’t age backward in your pantry. See how much usable space you suddenly acquire.
* Introduce a show-stopping piece of art to your kitchen. It can be a painting, framed poster, sculpture, original stone or tile backsplash, or maybe a stunning light fixture or area rug. Maybe it’s a wallpaper feature wall. Art gives your kitchen personality and unique character.
* Paint your kitchen ceiling. Consider a color other than white.
* Buy a new cutting board and make sure it’s big enough. Throw away cracked or damaged boards. Not sanitary.
* Evaluate your supply of drinking glasses. If you haven’t used some of your goblets, juice glasses, tumblers or wine glasses in the last two years, wrap them up and deliver them to your favorite thrift store. Somebody will need them, not you.
* Have your good knives professionally sharpened or learn how to do it yourself. Sharp knives will make you a better cook right away.
* The next rainy day, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, find a comfortable spot and go through your cookbooks. Set aside the ones you never use. Resolve to make a pile of six this time around. Take them to the friends-of-the-library group in your town and let that organization sell them to raise funds for new books.
* Repair and resolve to maintain your appliances and cooking tools. Garbage disposal broken? Get a new one. One of your stove burners now working? Call a repairman. Check your cabinet knobs and drawer pulls. Eliminate what annoys you in the kitchen. Resolve to inhabit a well-functioning, attractive kitchen that encourages you to perform at your best. Happy Culinary New Year.
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