Good evening, gentle readers.
In this modern age there is no longer a club to attend for gentlemen to enjoy dinner, a cigar and brandy in good company. Eating out at various establishments can get costly. It is no longer inexpensive nor proper for a gentleman to employ a cook and housekeeper. It is expected that a gentleman will learn a number of skills suitable for his time as a bachelor, living alone or with a room mate or two and so for the next few entries we shall examine various items and habits of importance for that time between leaving your parents’ home and finding a young lady to share your life.
We shall begin with the kitchen.
The first thing to remember about the kitchen is that it must be kept clean. It is a place for socializing now, much as the sitting room used to be, and many parties and gatherings will wander through this particular room, so a well organized and clean kitchen is extremely important.
For furniture it is at least expected to have a small table and two or four chairs depending on how often you will be entertaining. Beyond the expected appliances a toaster or toaster-oven is a very handy bit of equipment to have. I, personally, have never truly found a microwave to be of any real use.
With respect to flatware and dishes one should have enough to offer four complete services, again depending on one’s entertaining and socializing expectations. A few extra tea cups and drink glasses are never a bad idea. And do try to ensure that the various pieces match, if you would. Utensils should be kept well organized in one or more drawers though a knifeblock can be displayed. Flatware should be neatly stacked or hung in cupboards.
One’s tea kettle can be electric or the standard though for appearance I do prefer the sort that sits on a range. A teapot or two is a necessity as are small and easily used containers for milk, sugar and honey. There are various types and styles of cookware depending, once again, on personal use and preference and these can either be tucked neatly into cupboards or displayed hanging if they are pleasing to the eye. I believe that an essential piece of kitchenware is the cutting board and while many of plastic are available at a good price I feel that the large and well tended board of wood is both useful and pleasing to the eye. Wipe down the cutting board after every use and sanitize it depending on how often you use it, particularly if preparing raw meats or fish upon it.
Papertowel is truly not environmentally friendly nor is it actually any cleaner than using cloths (also known as napkins), which should be used and then collected in a discrete place for a weekly washing (so do have a good supply) and kept in good condition without tattered edges or tears in the fabric. The table cloth is to be treated the same; have two so that if one is spoiled it can be set aside for washing. Place settings are suitable for dining but not so much for an afternoon tea visit.
One’s washing cloth, for doing dishes, should always be left hanging and unfolded to air dry properly. Leaving a washing cloth folded or crumpled gives shadowed space for bacteria to grow. Tea towels are important and two should be kept on hand at all times, oft easily folded over the handle of the oven or suspended on a suitable hanger within easy reach.
A dish rack is very important for air drying is most effective and do ensure to clean your dishes at least once a day. Do not leave dirty dishes sitting in the sink, save the occasional soaking to defeat solidly caked on waste.
Nothing pleases most women more than discovering that a man can cook. Baking is also an excellent skill to learn. Do learn how to create more than ham and eggs or macaroni with cheese. Some very basic cookbooks are critical and easy to find at any bookstore. A small shelf of cookbooks in your kitchen is an indication that one knows one’s way around the room.
When looking at a place to live always consider that a kitchen should properly have a window for both light and air flow.
Decoration is individual though I, myself, prefer a very clean and uncluttered appearance in strong, bold colours. Do not, however, place little knick-knacks and keepsakes all over, these are best left for your sitting area or living room.
The kitchen is a very basic room and one that has few purposes in most cases: cooking and minor socializing. Thus there isn’t a lot to be concerned about if one considers the room logically, though as it is for very informal socializing it is one of the best rooms to build in a way that is personally to your own aesthetic.
As I consider this and further entries I think that I shall deal with the sitting room (or living room as it is called) and the bedroom, as well as skills such as ironing, tying one’s tie or ascot, dressing and who knows where else this may lead?
Can you tell, gentle reader, that I’m merely casting about for random things to write about? Nothing truly is pressing nor critical at the moment so I shall continue with the small, light topics until something does offer adventure.