Earthday brought a lot of blog discussions about how to reduce carbon footprints in the kitchen. I've managed to reduce mine. Unfortunately, the reason wasn't good global citizenship. Our dishwasher gave out and was replaced with a painfully expensive, but substantially more efficient one. Bosch, whose appliances are all Energy Star compliant, is wonderful. Our dishes are finally clean, and it takes less energy to run. Its 35+ year-old predecessor did a feeble cleaning job, even after we scraped and rinsed thoroughly. The problem is, in the process of reducing our carbon footprint, I discovered serious problems in a different type of footprint. Our kitchen counter footprint.
If you've ever worked in a warehouse, you've probably used the term "footprint" in a similar sense -- how much floorspace a given piece of inventory or machinery occupies. Yanking our old dishwasher started a chain reaction of moves and new floor and counter footprints: The installers needed access to plumbing tucked behind our little liquor cupboard. We learned the footprint of our humble booze collection. The cleaning supplies under the sink temporarily went in a recycling tub for more plumbing access. Some very environmentally unfriendly substances took over the footprint of our most environmentally friendly practice. The microwave moved. The dish drying rack moved. It seemed every time something moved, something else had to move to accommodate it. Mise en place was turned completely on its head.
To make matters worse, the butcher's block countertop that covered the old dishwasher was trashed. Warped from the heat of the microwave above and the dishwasher below, we'd lost four square feet of work area until the countertop is replaced. Getting it back was like the Louisiana Purchase of counter space.
A trip to Ikea and visibly amateur carpentry work replaced the butcher's block. The lesson was clear: Counter space is next to godliness. But how does one get more counter space, aside from buying a mansion or a $40,000 makeover?