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Aug 13, 2011 09:56 PM

things we keep

I had to do some major rearranging in the kitchen this weekend, and of course what is pulled from the back of the cupboard must be cleaned. Having no dishwasher, this means it all has to be individually handled. I was standing there rinsing off a pair of beaters for an electric mixer, when I realized that the mixer had died a few years ago. Along with the beaters i found lids to blender jars that had been dropped, or whose motors had burned out (you can't make mashed potatoes in a blender.) A meat thermometer that probably arrived in Hawaii with Captain Cook, partially melted spatulas, knives that wouldn't hold an edge cutting butter, and various chipped, dented, and rusted utensils, dinnerware, etc. This doesn't include the things that I've never really liked - those ugly glasses that I won as a door prize, or duplicates (why do I have 3 bunt pans?) I don't even know where some of this stuff came from. Did I really buy it? Was it left behind at a potluck? Does someone miss it, or was it left on purpose? I suspect I will keep the bunt pans, but the glasses have got to go. Of course now I have a whole new set of decisions to make. Which of these should go to a charity and which ones would I not want to inflict on Sandra Lee. Bah, no wonder they were hiding back there!

What's hiding in the back of your cabinets?

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  1. I am proud to say that I have an unopened jar of Postum in my cupboard that I might have to strategically unload someday soon. Check online prices for this delicacy and then you'll understand what I'm talking about.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Cheese Boy

      "Goodbye, Mr CoffeeNerves!" It's been a while now since they stopped making the stuff, I believe.

      1. re: Cheese Boy

        Keep the postum if you ever want to tell the joke that follows, since many people don't know what Postum is anymore. The joke: A guy went to the doctor for an itch down there. The doc told him to get some soppositories and put them in the rectum, and told him to check back in a week. A week later he went in and said the itch was worse than ever. Did you get the soppositories and put them in your rectum? Doc asked. He replied, well doc, I did not know exactly what a rectum was but, I looked all over the house for some, I found some postum and put them in there, you know for all the good it did me, I could have shoved them up my ass!

        1. re: vegasmike

          yuk yuk! that's bad, really bad, but you get points in my book for it.

      2. Yeah funny how it seems easier to just live with the clutter than get rid of it. I live in what had been my grandparents' house for 70 years. We cleaned a fair amount of stuff out after Grandma passed, but there are still the drawers with multiple sets of measuring cups and tools I can't identify, the stash of matchbooks older than I am, ancient bottles of liquor etc etc.

        12 Replies
        1. re: babette feasts

          Even though I am a rabid *use it or lose it* type, my beloved could write an ode for a spatula that he used the night we had a really good party...how could I even think of re-cycling that sour cream container?

          I on the other hand have winnowed all of our storage containers to glass mason jars. Only made by Kerr...I'm actively trying to lose all our drinking glasses too. One Jar so many uses!

          More space is what I crave. And sooOOoo much less to clean during those horrid deep cleaning days!

          1. re: Luna2372

            I too always crave more space, but that is the primrose path to too much crap. the smaller your storage, the easier it is to weed (and keep it weeded). The Mother designed her own kitchen (and house) with a ridonkulous amount of storage space and if I even tried to catalog the insanity I'd hijack this thread, although I will say thank god she doesn't have multiple pets. (I mean how many mismatched coffee pots that lost their brewing part and brewing parts that lost their pots can one deal with?)

            1. re: hill food

              Some months ago I took loads of non-used and faintly used and used kitchen pots, pans, baking equipment, electric appliances to a goodwill-type drop-off. Then a month or so back, I donated 580+/- books (mostly cookbooks) to the library. I've not looked back. By the way, these spaces are miraculously all filled again


              My father-in-law moved from a home that has been in the family since 1835, which my husband cleaned out most of, and moved about 7 years ago to a retirement living apartment (yes, I have a lot of it now). This week, today, in fact, he is moving to a newly furnished retirment apartment with only one piece of furniture previously owned.

              My husband called and asked me if I wanted a coffee pot glass carafe that was in the upper kitchen cabinet (Krupps or Mr. Coffee), and I said, "Yes, of course, you will never know when I can use it."


              1. re: Rella

                see - this is how it happens (although I'd give my eyeteeth for a once-over on the 1835 kitchen) Last yrar people were asking me what my mom might want for Xmas and mty answer "NO MORE small kitchen appliances!" has so much stuff she doesn't use (gifts mostly) that the spillover is now colonizing the garage and the basement.

              2. re: hill food

                My point exactly, my partner and his dad built our house...biggish...with many cupboards...and he really feels most comfortable when they are FULL.

                I personally like to look in them and see....SPace...lots and lots of space. Perhaps I should have said...emptiness.

                1. re: Luna2372

                  yes, to paraphrase Peter Eisenmann (architect) I appreciate the presence of an absence(or the absence of a presence). the Father wants to hang old cabinets in the garage and I said NO you won't use them except to shove more and more crap down the hidey-hole.

                  my only question would be: are the multiple pets fixed, have names and if they don't appear for a day do you notice? if the answer to all is yes you're cool.

                  1. re: hill food

                    Luna-18 yrs old - fixed and queen of the manor
                    Leemur-10 yrs old -fixed...adopted at 2 yrs...a little sensitive about his 24 toes
                    Mink- 5 yrs yrs ols - fixed ...rescued...deeply evil..AKA...the Dark Lord

                    Lost Leem for 2 days once...phone calls, flyers the whole shebang. He was locked in my neighbours green house. Almost killed me. He ate all her parsley.


                    1. re: Luna2372

                      well see you're cool (24 toes? wow I thought I was a freak with 11 fingers - used to be 12, long story)

                1. re: Luna2372

                  I'm secretly glad every time I break a glass, that's one less to cram in there.

                  1. re: coll

                    Oh I have so many secret "accidents"...who would have thought a pro waitress and bartender could just have so many glasses just "slip" right out of her fingers!

              3. Oh yeah. My wife has cabinets full of stuff from before I moved in that we NEVER use. The problem is that some (if not most) was inherited from her grandmother or great-grandmother. Some of it is leaded crystal.

                3 Replies
                1. re: PotatoHouse

                  What-to-do, what-to-do, especially when no descendants here would be caught dead with it. Still not ready (and I 'should' be) to give/sell/discard the fabulous china and some other things.

                  1. re: Rella

                    The big problem is that we don't have any kids to pass them down to, so what do we do with them when we pass on?

                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                      Let me know when you have the answer.

                      I don't have the energy to sell things; I save that energy for 'buying."

                2. A salad spinner that never worked and never will, which begs your question: Why, oh why is it still there? Why maybe I'll find another, previously unthought-of use for it! Perhaps something involving storage, who knows? Next, something called a "Hot Pot." It's not a crockpot 'cause the box is not big enough, but it's a pot and evidently it gets hot for you. I have not looked inside the box, but I know it's in there because I have to shove it to the back every single last time I need to get my hands on my best, most magic colander, which btw I bought pre-college, cheap! Which rusts, and the metal holders and footies are all yaya and twisted, but pasta doesn't taste the same drained through expensive stainless mesh, so I keep that bad ol' girl around.

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: mamachef

                    ROFL - I haven't seen a Hot Pot in YEARS -- it boils water and has been used by thousands of college students to cook pasta and similar "heat and eat" meals in dorm rooms!

                    but yes, good God yes -- when we relocated a few years ago, I had a *massive* cleanout of my kitchen -- and I'm appalled by how much money I'd spent over the years on stuff that was just sitting there collecting dust.

                    Why in the *world* do we put dead electrical goods back in storage? I have a hand mixer and a coffee maker sitting in a box to go to the recycling center, but at least it's moved to the garage (!)

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      LOL! My roommate loved making StoveTop Stuffing in her hot pot.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I wonder if you'd like to hazard a guess how long that Hot Pot (thank you, now that I know what the hell it IS and what it DOES) has been following me? mmmmmhmmmm. Since college. That means it's followed me for jussssst about 30 years. I think it's time for a re-gift! #2 Son moved out on his own not that long ago and has bemoaned his lack of kitchen supplies. I am going to lay this wonderful device on him. If all goes per my plan, by the time my first great-grandchild Ebays it, it'll be worth something as either an "antique" or a "pop culture" item. :) If not, we'll have a family heirloom.

                        1. re: mamachef

                          My Hot Pot years were the early/mid 70s, in college, when it was illegal to have one in the room! What's your era?

                          1. re: mamachef

                            30 years old sounds just about right, maybe 32? I remember having one in a dorm room in 1980.

                            1. re: jlhinwa

                              I was in college in the late 80s/early 90s and I am certain Hot Pots were not allowed because I remember we stored it in the closet.

                              Looking back on it, I don't know why we all had them. Our dorm was less than 50 yards from the cafe, which served rather good food, and there was a small snack bar type of place on the bottom floor that accepted meal plan dollars.

                              Why did we make Top Ramen and Chef Boyardee in our room when decent (and paid for) food was steps away?

                              1. re: cleobeach

                                Because those places were not open at 2am when you just came home from the library and were hungry!

                              2. re: jlhinwa

                                There you go, girl. O-kaaaaaaay. 32 it is.

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  Storing in the closet wasn't an option for us--we still had room inspections in those days, so when we left the room, the Hot Pot got stashed under the mattress. Now students have refrigerators, microwaves, all sorts of equipment (bet some have espresso machines!). How come our era all that was a fire hazard but it's safe now (and in the same dorm, no wiring or other changes)!

                            2. re: sunshine842

                              Perhaps there are hundreds of college kids looking for "retro" non microwave type appliances?

                              Do them a solid and get them to the Goodwill!


                            3. re: mamachef

                              Oh my gosh, what a blast from the past! Totally forgot about the hot pot!

                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                I would like to forget that effing Hot Pot, ma'am, but I can't because everytime I open that freeking cupboard, there it is (cue to horror-movie tense reeeeeeet!reeeeeet!reeeeeeet! sound). Hence my decision to lay it on the manchild. I have a deep subconscious fear that, having driven 150 miles to do this, I will arrive home and need something in the cupboard, and there it will be. Just like the horror story. Only now, the Hot Pot will be angry; angry that I didn't love it enough to keep it. It will be vengeaful, suspicious and jealous. At night when I wake, it will be at the foot of my bed, waiting silently, appearing to have grown a few inches.
                                I have a feeling I am never getting rid of it. :)

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  That is hysterical! You don't want to make it mad and have it call out its Hot Pot friends to assault you for not properly revering it.

                                  Honestly, it seemed like the coolest thing at the time. We couldn't have hot plates in the dorm rooms (fire hazard, and rightfully so) and microwaves were still very new and quite huge and expensive. So the Hot Pot was a brilliant answer for college students who wanted hot chocolate, tea, instand soup, etc.

                                  I just googled it and you can still buy them today!

                                  1. re: jlhinwa

                                    The Presto Hot Pot was the only cooking appliance we were allowed to have when I went away to school in 1978. I received mine as a graduation gift from a friend who had gone to the same college. Couldn't have lived without it then, but I haven't thought about it in years!

                                  2. re: mamachef

                                    WALK AWAY...WALK AWAY from the hot pot...don't look back...don't EVER go down stairs until it is safely at BlahBLah Uni!

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      LOL...holy moly I just snorted beer up nose reading that!

                                      Reeeeetreeeeet! I love it!

                                2. I was married three months ago to a 41 year old bachelor. Just imagine the sorts of things I had to clean out of the cupboards and pantry when I moved in here!

                                  One round of it included a verbal battle with my m-i-l where I tried to tactfully explain to her I did not want seven boxes of expired tuna helper because it didn't "taste just fine, even if it was a little old." And by a little old, she meant 2007. The only way I prevented her from fishing it out of the trash to donate to her church food pantry was by telling her I'd take it to a school food drive instead. (Which I didn't, just to be clear.)

                                  Ah, the things I found! Avocado rimmed corelle wear plates, still in daily use (they were his mom's), ancient kitchen appliances, the dullest knives I've ever seen out of a children's play kitchen, and a collection of gadgets meant to simplify things for the single guy who doesn't cook that promptly gathered dust while he cooked frozen pizza. Entertainingly enough, what I didn't find were measuring spoons or a ladle.

                                  Ah well, we've come a long way since then and I continue to slowly make progress on the rest of the house!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: alitria

                                    I hear you about the bachelor! Why oh Why 5 badly shaped and dull knives and not one good one that could be taken to the sharpener?

                                    But I have to say, Paddy's mom had some rockin' stuff, great stainless pots, nice strainers, lovely old stoneware bowls.

                                    All old is not junk...and all new is not a classic.

                                    It's a balance