Sunday, September 27, 2020

Hippie Household Hints!

 I can tell that you need to get your kitchen and household shit together.  Luckily, I am here to give you a shot upside the head and set you on the right road.  Cease your long downward spiral into household entropy.  Read on, Grasshoppah.

-A Long Stick.  Are you a short little shit like me?  You need a 3 ft. long stick in your kitchen.  You will not believe how you got along without this simple, helpful object.  You can poke bugs.  You can test your fire alarm without standing on a chair. You can ooch things from the top shelf and catch them in a towel. If something falls between the refrigerator and the wall, you can hook it out.  

-More than one of every stovetop kitchen utensil.  If you want to cook big, you keep a pot of soapy water in the sink and just swap out and rinse as you go.  Around August, when the garden gets going, you will thank me for this advice.  And remember:


-Kitchen scissors, two pairs.  One regular sized, one barbarian sized with all the grippy weirdo things on it, like a jar lid gripper and a bottle opener and that kind of shit.  Spray paint them bright obnoxious orange so if some dipshit steals them, you'll be able to find them and return them to their rightful place.

-A Dyson Vacuum.  This Dyson motherfucker knows what he's doing.  A Dyson vacuum is worth every single dime you pay for it.  And if you run out of things to vacuum, you can just lie on the rug and trip on the amazing design.  Yes, I know the dude ends up inventing Skynet, but for now, just enjoy the suction.

-Braggs Aminos.  This is unfermented soy sauce, and that 'Propoganda Soap' company puts it out.  The label makes for endlessly interesting reading.  I know people who put this stuff on everything, and that's a bridge too far for me, but it certainly won't kill you, and it doesn't taste bad.  It tastes like a mixture of fried mushrooms, soy sauce without the sharpness, and brown miso.  That flavor profile.  Loves red meat and is a perfect ingredient for a marinade.  Anything where there's tomato, onion, red meat, beans, will be improved with a dash of this stuff. Plus you get aminos. AMINOS MOTHAFUCKAH.

-Chopsticks.  Drop something down the drain?  Chopsticks to the rescue. Get the good ones, tableware quality, long and thin. Got one of those coffee to go mugs with the long plastic straw, and the straw is getting all weird?  Run some hot water through there and get in at it with a chopstick.  Clogged mustard or ketchup squeezie? Chopstick. Clogged hole in the coffee maker basket? Chopstick. Got long hair and no tie-ties? Chopsticks. If you are particularly dexterous you can even use them to eat with, like a fork and knife, and to cook with too.  Chopsticks are basically amazing.

-One (1) metric shit ton of dish rags.  I make my own out of old towels.  You cannot have enough clean dishrags around, and terrycloth is the way to go.  Anything that needs a serious soapy water cleaning, any big spills or overflows?  You will be calm and unruffled, for you have one (1) metric shit-ton of dish towels to deal with that shit. Throw them in the washing machine and lo!  Reuseable! Wow!

-Leftover paint from the last time you painted your kitchen.  Put four golf ball - sized rocks in the can to help re-mix it when you need it - just shake it up for a minute -  tighten down the lid, and when you gouge a huge chunk out of the paint during a random ninja attack, you can touch it up.  Also good for those dings and scrapes, and the place where the blueberry pie filling splashed.

-Low-splash bleach.  This is just bleach with a little gel in it.  This is also the difference between lots and lots of ruined clothes and being able to wear your favorite 'Deadpool' t-shirt while you clean out the bath tub.  Whoever invented that stuff is BRILLIANT and I love them.

-Manual can opener.  Take your pick.  I used a 'Bossie-Bully' for years; also known as a 'halberd' style opener. You jam it into the metal by main force, and then lever it around the top of the can using the seam as the anvil.  Problem is, I'm clumsy, and sometimes I'd come down on that can like I was killing Hitler and the contents would come geysering up, which is counterproductive.  It's also hard on the hands and wrists if you have arthritis.  Get a good clamp-style opener, the one where you turn a key on one side, and don't cheap out on this - get the big blocky one.  Power outages gonna happen in the New Normal.

-Magazine postcards.  Reading a book?  Instant bookmark.  Poor little bee or a lost spider gets in the house?  Put a clear waterglass over the lil' dude and then gently slip that postcard under there, nudge the bug up onto the paper or the glass.  Now flip it over and you have a covered container with a confused bug inside. Take it outside and let the poor little buddy go. Who knows, he or she may end up subscribing to Hot Rod.

- Many pegs for hanging many things on in the kitchen, pantry and laundry area.  I don't like to dig around in a drawer looking for shit.  I want to reach out and grab it when I need it.  The Biker and I designed a kitchen where all the tools and our teflon pans can be hung up, not getting damaged or dull, ready to go. 

-A magnetic bar up on our refrigerator that holds our knives.  Up high, in the open, out of reach and grasp of grandchildren, the knives aren't clanging around in a drawer or getting all weird in a knife block. And I have a word to say about fuckin' knife blocks. Those things are not clean.  I dropped one once at a garage sale and it split apart and the sheer amount of nasty greasy guck inside it was like 'Nope, not gonna invest in one of those EVER.'

-A shop-sized air compressor.  You do not know how handy one of those things are until you own one.  Particularly on a really hot day when you've been out sweating in the garden. Whooooo!  Breezy!  Shit; close that garage door down and turn up the tunes and you can have yourself a 1980's MTV video party all by yourself! "Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down...."

-A food dehydrator.  And not the punkass round ones they sell, but a regular deluxe big square box shaped one with trays and a fan.  Mine was built in California by some hippie commune back in the late 1960's; I still have the manual for it and there's a picture of Captain Spoonbender and Moonchild Wolfwoman and Turmeric Peace and their kids all standing there happily on the cover.  Food dehydration was a big deal during the live foods-Jethro Kloss era, and this thing was built like a tank.  It has served me faithfully for close to 20 years, and I use the hell out of it.  I don't waste a lot of food.  Thank you, unknown hippies.  Ya did good.

-My spray cleaner.  It's a spray cleaner! It's a bug killer!  It sanitizes! It kills mold and fungus! It leaves no streaks!  It cuts grease!  Add one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to one tablespoon of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid in a 32 ounce-sized spray bottle, add water, stir to mix, and get cleaning.  You spray it on a hornet, that hornet dies.  Then you wipe off your window and look, you have a clean place on your window you can see through!  I spend nothing whatsoever on spray cleaners and haven't since 1978. Zero. This stuff is the shit.  It will remove stains in cloth, clean toilets, tubs, sinks, walls, the top of the fridge, spray it on the floor and run the sponge mop over it, wash the car, wash the aluminum siding on your house, the deck, your front door, your windows with a squeegee; it's excellent.

OK listen.  I will break this down into American dollar and cents.

1 regular sized bottle of Dawn original dishwashing liquid - $1.99

1 regular sized bottle of 99% rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol - $2.99

Any random 32 ounce spray bottle - .68 CENTS.

You spend basically 5.68 cents on the whole shebang.  One mixed batch in the spray bottle lasts you at least three months (unless you're really filthy.)  You re-use the spray bottle.  Water comes out of the tap. You get to break down the tablespoons/ounces bullshit because I was an English major. These supplies last for YEARS.  Now tell me I don't have the tiniest little carbon footprint in the fuckin' world. 

-Dawn original dishwashing detergent

-Rubbing alcohol 90%

-A little tiny electric fan. I hang it up on the kitchen wall right by where my dish drainer is, and the dishes air dry in nothing flat.  Also useful for cooling off hot food quickly so you can dig in if you're really hungry and can't wait.

-TUPPERWARE.  I have more Tupperware than Carter has little liver pills.  Tupperware is awesome.  There is a dude that comes around to all the local swap meets and fairs, and all he sells is old Tupperware, and I hit him up every time.  I've probably put his kids through college.  Since I hand-wash, no problem.  Arguably one of the most perfect utilitarian designs ever conceived, too. 

Huge upright storage freezer In The Kitchen.  Not out in the garage or the shed but In. The. Kitchen.  Right where we can work out of it.  We run onto half a beef or some game out here, the big storage freezer is always right there handy and ready to be filled.  It's full of frozen chili, stew, soups and stock, and all my processed produce - me and canning do not get along - so again, we use the hell out of this, and the arrangement just makes good sense.  When it's in the kitchen, see, you don't end up throwing away a bunch of freezer-burnt stuff every year because you forgot you had it.  It also gives you more surface area for those grandkid masterpieces and saucy magnetic charms.

-1975 edition of The Joy Of Cooking. (Among those in the know, the 1975 edition is the BEST edition. Yup. I am just that cool.)  If you are a Boomer aged person, this is your cookbook.  It has all the food you remember, with all the correct methods laid out in a useful and easily grasped manner so you can make that stuff turn out gooooood.  It also has a section before each category that talks about the hows and whys of cooking and ingredients.  Why does food brown?  What is it about eggs that makes things stick together?  Just as a useful teaching guide, this has got to be a classic of the textbook category. It is a tool.  The cover is sturdy and stains wipe off.  It's got a sewn binding. It has an impeccable index and table of contents. It has two red ribbons in the binding so you can mark your place. I use both - one for the last thing I cooked, and one for the thing I am presently cooking, or perhaps the place in the index I need to visit next.  Plus a recipe for possum. Yes. If you have a possum that needs cooking, The Joy of Cooking has got your back.

The only other thing I can think of that you could use that I know would work like magic is My Biker.  And you can't have him.  So fuck off.


Mistress Maddie said...

What's funny lambchop, a lot of this items were also heavily featured in my covid phamphlet 79 items You Didn't Know You Could Get Off With in Your Household!

Some good tips here and now you have me wondering about my knife block. I do hand wash mine and then dry before going back in the block, so I don't know if that helps or not. When It comes to keeping house Joan Crawford and I would have been best friends.

The Joys of Cooking 1975. Alas I only have the 1975 edition of the Joys of Sex. Does that count?

I'm also a huge utensil person. I have one drawer with nothing but scrapers and spatulas. I hate appliances...they take up to much room. I have a hand blender and crock pot and that's it.

anne marie in philly said...

I already have many of these items in my kitchen, especially the first item you mention. both spouse and I are short people, so a grabber comes in handy.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Mistress Maddie: Describe how you used the manual can opener, the shop sized air compressor and the 3 foot long stick, would you? Covid is getting right on my tits. ON MY TITS. You don't need to elaborate on the Dyson. Me and Mister, Mister Dyson...we got a THING goin' on (we both know that it's wrong, but it's much to strong, to let it go now....)

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

anne marie in philly: The 3 foot long stick is a lifesaver! We had a grabber at one time but my daughter (this is years ago, true story) got hold of it and was chasing the dogs around with it and using it for stupid stuff, like eating pancakes, and we had to throw it out.

savannah said...

YOU are fucking MAR-VEL-OUS! Right now damn near everything I own is still in boxes in a storage unit, but I'm 100%in agreement about how to keep your knives. I remember reading about the dangers of knife blocks years ago, so never had one. Living in Savannah and dealing with hurricanes I am a firm believer in manuel can openers, landlines that don't depend on electricty, and battery operated flashlights and candles! I've written down (in my notebook with my fountain pen) your recipe for spray cleaner! xoxo

Gale said...

I think this is a dandy list. I would add roll out shelves in the bottom cabinets. I did not know I needed until my Rocky built them. Um I don't hand dry, I just got a new dishwasher. Yeah I know....lazy lazy lazy.

dinahmow said...

I had a book from the library, years ago, and your Joy of Cooking might be it. It was a good wedding present for kids who don't know a potato from a pumpkin.OK, so I had to do a little arithmetic to convert to Imperial, but it was choc full of good info.

And I use a lot of those "household remedy" things. White vinegar always to hand.