Cleaning House

by Keith Fisher

My wife brought home two slot cabinets built by my father-in-law. When my wife asked if I wanted them, I agreed, thinking I could use them to store printer paper and sort Family history.

I don’t know why he built them so deep. I worked in my office re-arranging things, trying to make the cabinets fit. Two hours later, I finally admitted I just don’t have room in a 9X8 office I share with my daughter. Anyway, I sat back and gazed at the mess, then remembered I have a blog to write.

With the state of my office, and not having any idea what to write, I decided to talk about cleaning your camp kitchen. It’s the time of year when some people put their camping stuff away, and that includes Dutch oven tools.

Before you relegate your pots to the shelf, I’d like to try once again, to convince you to keep cooking throughout the winter. Many an ice fishing or tubing party can be greatly enhanced by the tasty treats you make in your Dutch oven. You can be a hero too.

If you’re determined, however, to put it away, consider how much easier it will be in the spring if you take the time now, to care for your equipment.

First we need to check the cast iron. Run your fingers over the surface. Does it feel smooth? Is it rough like sandpaper? Does it look like it might rust? If it is smooth it will probably be okay. If it feels rough put a thin layer of vegetable or olive oil on the surfaces. Then, store the lid on a different shelf. It allows the air to circulate and avoid condensation. In the spring, you may need to heat up you oven to burn off the oil, but it will keep the iron from rusting.

Next, let’s talk about tables and other metal tools. If your table has rust spots on it, or it looks grungy from all the charcoal dust. Get a wire brush and brush off the rust. Go to the hardware store and buy some barbecue paint. It comes in a spray bottle, and will withstand the heat of charcoal. I repaint my table once a year anyway. The new clean surface helps me look like I know what I’m doing. Some tools won’t need the barbecue paint. I recommend flat, or glossy-black (your choice). Paint lid holders, charcoal starters, and lid lifters. Clean you charcoal bucket, and don’t forget to clean that pancake batter spill from the inside of your chuck box.

If you use a plastic drawer chuck box, you will find a little bleach goes a long way. Mix three tablespoons bleach in a spray bottle of water. Use gloves. Check your spoons and spats, all your tools. Look for signs of wear, or breakage. Toss the tools you never use, add those you think you’ll need. Fill the spice containers. A dollar store has low-cost tools, and tea towels. You can always use a good pair of tongs.

Now that you’ve done your house cleaning, take your kitchen and get out and use it one last time. But consider the winter. A hot pot never rusts, and full stomachs will ever be grateful.

Return to the Neighborhood.

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