Kitchen re-thinks

I had a dinner party this weekend.  There were 10 of us (plus my teenage son), and we had a blast.  I barely cooked at all - just some dessert, a pork roast, and some grissini - because everybody brought something.  The best part was that several of us were cooking at once, and there was room.  My kitchen's on the when-husby-has-time, multi-year renovation plan, so it's not finished.  But I saw that by and large my kitchen wishes, the product of a long re-think, had come true.

Still, when books full of good kitchen ideas come out, I'm not immune to more re-thinking.  This week I saw two new books (they both happen to come from Clarkson Potter) that joggled my kitchen brain.  The first was Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand's The Kitchn Cookbook, a first cookbook from the popular blog spinoff of Apartment Therapy.  The recipes are fine, but what interested me was the front part of the book: peeking in other people's kitchens, a 30-day "constantly clean" kitchen chart - which I'll never do, but it's fun to dream about.

The second book is Eugenia Bone's The Kitchen Ecosystem, which is full of linked recipes that show you how to use every bit of an ingredient you've got way too much of. It's got intriguing charts - I do love a chart! - showing how you use some of the ingredient fresh, how you preserve some for later,and how you use up the scraps.  Again, I don't think I see myself re-thinking the way I cook from top to bottom.  But it's a resource, and sometimes even little shifts in the way you approach your kitchen prep can make big differences in the long run.

 What makes you shake up your kitchen or kitchen routine?  A thought-provoking blog post?  An almost-magical appliance?  Sheer necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention?

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