While this may sound trivial, mentally and physically setting aside an area of counter-top to prep your foods before you cook is critical to make cooking less of a hassle. Just as if you’d want all your lawn & garden tools in one place or your office supplies organized on your desk at work, the same applies in the kitchen. Here are some handy tips:
- Select a spot close to the stove so that whatever you prepare or chop can go right in the pan/oven. To get real fancy, Google “kitchen triangle” – a layout known by cooks for decades as the optimal positioning of the fridge, stove, and sink.
- Keep your knives, cutting boards, spices and trash can within arm’s reach of your work space. You create a lot of trash while cooking (wrapping, containers, peels, rough cuts of meat), so a handy trash can saves a LOT of time and effort in clean up.
- Make sure your area is well lit. Good lighting not only helps you measure better but visually brings your ingredients and food to life. You can pick up a plug-in undermount kitchen work light from Home Depot for under $30 that is easy to install.
Remember – try not to clutter up this workspace with junk mail or family stuff. When you launch into your cooking tasks, a clean counter is much more inviting and relaxing – not to mention a time saver.