I was rather pleased with myself when, last Saturday, just before [Dutch TV program] Wie is de Mol started, I emptied a packet of microwavable-popcorn into my wok (with a glass lid on of course), and managed to ‘pop’ it quite successfully. We don’t have a microwave, you see, and so I felt like I’d really taken the initiative by doing something other than what was advised on the packaging – bit like being a girl guide, in fact. But there was also another reason as to why I felt so content: namely, the wok itself. An expensive Le Creuset from a real cooking store. A place that I never usually dare venture into seeing as my cooking abilities do not extend beyond the HelloFresh Box. Until recently, I used to buy a new frying pan and wok every year from the [Dutch low-cost stores] Hema or Blokker, or at Ikea, depending on where I was. Then last year, I fear to say, the whole family sat down to dinner and ended up eating the non-stick surface of one of the old pans – unintentionally, of course… Which obviously meant that the pan was no longer of any use whatsoever – that, and the fact that the handle kept coming off too.
So now I have a real pan, one that lasts a lifetime and that makes me happy. It feels very mature to invest in quality – something I shamelessly did when it came to shoes, as a matter of fact, but not when it came to household items. Which is why my kitchen lacks things like a microwave and many other kitchen appliances – and thankfully so as I also wouldn’t have anywhere to store them because space is very limited. (Decluttering Tip No. 1: simply buy or rent a house or apartment that isn’t very big.) But anyway, my insight of the day is this: Decluttering also means buying one good thing that will last as opposed to something that will constantly need to be replaced. And now it even seems that, all of a sudden, I am able to cook without burning everything. It wasn’t me, it was the pan. Honestly! One disadvantage though is that the new acquisition unfortunately cannot go in the dishwasher, and has to be hand-washed in clean soapy water. But I don’t mind – I’m quite happy to do that. It’s actually okay to give a little extra attention to the things that will stay with you for a long time, and it also adds a human touch of sorts to the pans. After all, you wouldn’t stick your relationship in the dishwasher would you?
Astrid is, together with Irene, the founder of Flow Magazine. She lives together with her partner and has two kids. Every Tuesday she writes about the sense and nonsense of decluttering.
“Week 19 – Better woks”