Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reorganizing the spice cupboard

As I blogged in an earlier post, one of my goals while my wife is away visiting our daughter (and new granddaughter) is to reorganize the cupboard where we keep our spices (I use the term spices generically to refer to both herbs and spices). This is turning out to be more difficult than I anticipated; and, is kind of a metaphor of my life.

I went to World Market and bought this expandable stair step thing so that spices in the back of the cupboard sit higher than the ones in the front enabling you can see everything without having to move stuff out of the way. It was a brilliant plan - one that will surprise and delight my wife when she returns next week. But, then problems set in and my plan didn't seem as brilliant as I initially thought it was.

  • When I first embarked on this adventure, I decided that I would organize the spices in alphabetical order. But, I quickly ran into a problem with that seemingly logical idea. It turns out that spices in the back are difficult to remove without knocking over the spices in the front.
  • The alphabetizing idea ran into further complications when I realized that spice containers come in all sizes and shapes. Where is the International Standards Organization (ISO) when you need them?
  • The name of the spice on the label is positioned too low. Although I can see each container with my nifty new step thingee, I can't see what is in each container.

To address these initial problems, I printed labels so that I could affix them higher up on the container so that they could be seen. I also changed my plan to put short containers in front of bigger containers and less frequently used spices in the back and more commonly used spices in the front.

But, even this ran into problems. Some of the containers have metal lids with crinkled edges making it difficult to attach a label. Also, the shape of the jar makes it difficult to attach a label near the top just under the lid. So, I adapted my plan to put all of the labeled spaces on one side and unlabeled spices on the other (while still putting more frequently used spices in the front, etc.).

My spice cupboard

Here is a picture of my first attempt at organizing my spice cupboard.

Not too bad, until you notice the mess I still have beneath the spice cupboard.

Mess underneath my spice cupboard

You see, we have lots of spices. I think we must have just about every herb and spice known to mankind. Don't believe me? Well, how many people do you know that have Fenugreek Seed and Juniper Berries in their spice cupboards? We must have, at least, six different Curry spices (and, you know, they are all different). This is where the metaphor of my life begins to emerge. I just have too much stuff in my life right now.

As you can also see, some of the containers of spices are several years old. We probably have a dozen or more spices in metal tins. How many years has it been since spices were sold in metal tins? Now, some might say we should throw these out since, obviously, we haven't used them a lot. But, I can't do that. Sure, they have lost some of their potency; but, they are still good. And, you know that as soon as I throw out the Fenugreek Seed, I'm going to find a recipe that requires Fenugreek Seed. Like my life, I carry a lot of old baggage that I can't part with.

Auxiliary spice cupboard

Fortunately, all is not lost as we have an auxiliary spice cupboard just around the corner.

Unfortunately, this particular cupboard is a non-standard size and is extremely narrow. The door opening is only 9 inches wide. All of the things to organize cupboards that I've ever found were designed for standard width cabinets.

Over the years, there hasn't been much rhyme or reason as to which cabinet a spice goes into. It was decided mostly by which cabinet it could fit into. So, now I have a plan to put all pure spices in the main spice cupboard and all mixes and blends into the auxiliary spice cupboard. But, this then begs the question about what to do with things like Curry Powder, Pickling Spice, Poultry Seasoning, etc.. Should these go in the cabinet with the pure spices? Or should they go into the cabinet along with Lowrey's Seasoned Salt?

Or am I just making things a lot more complicated than they need to be? I think the same can be said of my life. Do I make my life more complicated than it needs to be?

I have to get this cleaned up today because the guy is coming out to fix our dishwasher tomorrow (which has been broken since before New Years; but, that is another story). But, should I really care about what the dishwasher fix-it guy thinks about the mess I've made? Like my life, am I creating unnecessary stress?

And, am I really gay? Surely a gay guy should have been able to get this all figured out by now? Not only would all of the spices be organized, but they would be in cute little bottles with designer labels. I'm a pathetic excuse for a gay guy. I wonder what a straight guy would do in this situation? He would probably respond with something along the line of "we have spices?" I guess I'm just a gay man stuck in a straight man's body.

1 comment:

Ammon said...

LOL you are stereotyping again. I'm amazed at the variety of seasonings you have, and a little jealous; I love to cook. LOL

Anyway, I want you to know that your metephor was an awesome way to describe how I feel sometimes too. I don't have an answer to give at this time, but I do know that sometimes we have to try the spices and share them with others to decide whether or not to keep them. And if it happens to be one of those spices you can't quite tell what to do with, God created all things, He should be able to help.

Love you. I'm glad you're my friend. I wish you the very best.