This past week was my week to cook. While looking unsuccessfully through the spice cabinet for marjoram to complete the spice mix for the Quinoa, White Bean, and Kale stew* I was making, its disorganization caused me quite a bit of trauma: shifting spices from one side of the cabinet to the other caused bottles to fall to the counter below; my husband proudly presented me with bottle of garam masala wherein I reminded him I was looking for mar-jor-am; and all in all a great deal of time was wasted looking for something that wasn't in the cupboard. As I announced before walking out of the kitchen, "This is unacceptable." And then I walked away, took several deep breaths, and calmed myself before returning to the kitchen.
Look at this cupboard.
And this bookshelf.
Clearly, change is needed. I set off on a quest for organized space. The first step, empty of the cabinet and bookshelf of everything. Then, get rid of anything excessively old. Then, return items to what will now be their rightful place.
You want to know what's frightening? Well, okay, not as frightening as the fuzzy yet oozing glop of blackish green stuff at the bottom of the refrigerator, but still a wee bit disturbing? Opened bags of chocolate chips that are two years past their sell by date. What kind of monster doesn't use all the chocolate chips?
While the chocolate chips were clearly the greatest offense, they (unfortunately) were in good company. There were unopened containers of spice mix two and three years past their sell by dates. Unmarked containers of caked solid spice something-or-another. And duplicates, duplicates, and more duplicates. Four containers of chili powder, three bottles of ground cumin, two bottles of rosemary leaves and one bottle after another of well-aged spices. And zero containers of marjoram.
I sorted. I tossed. I re-arranged drawers. I made labels and placards.
Now we have an alphabetized spice drawer,
And a well-ordered pantry
But still no marjoram.
Regardless, tonight I will sleep the sleep of success. Isn't a well-ordered space calming?
*1. I've had it now A) without fennel in the spice mix and b) with garbanzo instead of white beans and without marjoram in the spice mix. Both versions were very tasty. Add a crusty rustic bread and you're set.
2. Many thanks to my siblings-in-law, CMT & HET V**, for making it the first time I had it and for leading me to the recipe.