Friday 12 June 2009

What's on your kitchen windowsill?

'It’s a mark of a productive, busy, lived-in household to have things stuck with magnets to the fridge door,' writes my friend Muriel (a co-writer on my other blog).

Muriel's 'festooned' fridge door is a sight to behold, and I can't help feeling a little jealous at the fact that I have a new-fangled fridge with plasticky sides that won't accept magnets.

All the rags and tatters and dog-eared photographs that adorned my ancient fridge for decades were turfed into the bin when the new fridge arrived. Nowadays, school notices, newspaper clippings and snaps are posted neatly on a family noticeboard in a dark little passage just off the kitchen.

To no avail. Nobody ever looks at this noticeboard, with its teen-improving quotations, its lists of healthy foods, its household-chore rostas and its prissy admonitions about saving electricity and water. Why? Because it's too far away from the fridge, that's why.

Anyone who has teenagers (or humans, for that matter) knows that the refrigerator is the most-visited piece of equipment in any household. Not that teenagers spend any time perusing the contents of the fridge door; no, they wrench it open and gaze into it with despair while emitting small, pitiful mews. It's when they slam the fridge door closed and glare angrily at it while roaring, 'There's nothing to eat, mom!' that their sunken, malnourished eyes flicker for a second across their personal exam timetables for next week.

Anyway, back to my kitchen windowsill. It's just above the sink, and close to the stove, and as I spent an extraordinary amount of time chopping veggies and cooking and washing dishes, I tend to use it as a sort of three-dimensional personal noticeboard. On an average day, the windowsill will hold: a few jars of something dark and sticky I preserved two months ago, a boiled egg, a half-finished knitted square, a few packets of seeds, a radio, a ball of scrumpled supermarket receipts, a lotto ticket, desiccated wedges of lemon, cloves of garlic, crumbling chillies, shrivelled beansprouts, potplants, hairclips, anonymous keys, birthday cards, wine glasses, half-crumbled nutmegs, and so on.

It looks, in short, like what my husband rudely calls 'a whore's handbag'. So today I decided to do a vigorous prune of my windowsill, and have edited it down to a few favourite things:

* a beautiful hand-carved wooden box which contains a working, battery-powered radio. I bought this at the wonderful African Toyshop. It has two knobs: a big one for tuning, and another one for volume. Because this radio has no digital elements or any sort of screen or shivering needle, finding my favourite stations is a very hit-and-miss thing, involving a lot of dial twiddling, and artfully placed dabs of pink nail varnish.

* three little plastic daisies equipped with mini-solar panels, which I bought from my local Chinese market (see picture, above). As soon as the morning light hits them, they wave and wiggle in unison, flapping their leaves in the merriest way.

* my Philippe Starck 'Juicy Salif' lemon squeezer, which, though quite beautiful, is the singularly most useless kitchen device I have ever owned. When he designed this 'iconic' squeezer, Mr Starck overlooked the fact that lemons have pips, and he also forgot to add rubber socks to the device to prevent it from skidding across kitchen counters.

* a little Acacia bonsai tree, which neatly folds its leaves as the sun goes down, and tolerates all sorts of abuse

* a hefty white-marble mortar and wooden pestle that belonged to my grandfather

* a silver egg with a soft inner chiming device

* Sunlight dishwashing liquid, a beloved South African brand

* A bottle of liquid soap. I can't get through the day without washing my hands twenty-five a few times.

What do you have on your kitchen windowsill?

Oh, I forgot to mention my other treasured item of kitchen equipment: this tray (left), which has a rather inspirational message.

Click here for my teen-improving quotations.
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1 comment:

Alessandra said...

I love that African wooden box!