Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Look Around

Look around your kitchen. How much plastic surrounds you? I can't help but look around my kitchen and wonder what I can replace with something that's NOT plastic. Some things are easier than others. Some things maybe only came into being with plastic. What did we use before we HAD plastic stuff to use? Let's think about it.

Toaster... plastic. Let me get a metal one next time. I'm so tired of buying a cheap plastic thing, only for it to break after just a few years. Give me a sturdy toaster that will last decades, with someone to repair it, too, when it does break. Hand beater? Plastic crap! They are terrible. I mix by hand when I can, and maybe a big old KitchenAid mixer is the way to go... with counter space, of course. Those things used to last forever. Pay a little more? It lasts longer and you aren't laying out the money all over again in 2 years. Didn't vacuum cleaners used to be metal? And repairable? Now they are all plastic pieces of crap, and when something breaks, go get a new one. 'Cuz plastic can't be repaired.

Sure, those are the big things. What I really meant to get into was all those little things that add up. I'm slowly but surely coming out of my plastic ways and replacing with better materials. Big spoons, stirring spoons and spatulas etc? We do NOT need plastic. For cast iron, a metal spatula is great. For enameled wares, bamboo is perfect. For how much sauce I cook? Bamboo doesn't stain! Repeat that: Bamboo does not stain. And it's durable. And inexpensive. And biodegradable. And it grows plentifully and without pesticides. Measuring cups? Why are those plastic? Metal, for sure. And Pyrex. Measuring spoons? Metal. Why did we start buying these things as plastic? Cheaper? Fun colors? I don't know. These are things we can keep around the kitchen for a LONG time; there is no need to go cheap plastic. Plastic stains. Plastic holds odors. Plastic melts. Case in point: you have a turkey baster in there, don't you? Most of us do. What do you squeeze all up into that? Boiling hot oils, right? What do we know about plastic now? Hot liquids leach chemicals out of it. We've been serving our gravies with chemicals. How do you feel about that? Did you know you can find inexpensive glass basters? Of course the squeeze past is still silicone or rubber, but the tube is much better. Scared of glass in your kitchen? Get out. Now. Remember those metal ice cube trays? Remember they were kind of a giant pain in the ass? But remember we still used them? And we survived, and we still had ice, and we didn't die? Many people have ice makers on the fridge anyway, but really, those plastic trays? They break, they get to smelling... they are convenient but not necessary. Pause for a moment to think how many of them have ended up in the trash over the years...

We're phasing out all our plastic containers and replacing them with Pyrex. Or jars that I save. I can't wait to have a big old pantry just filled with jars. I can't wait to have no more plastic in my kitchen where there is a better product to use. Salt & pepper shakers.... pepper mill... all these little things... they add up. What can you phase out of your kitchen to make it a better, healthier room?