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Expert perspectives: Keeping your kitchen in top shape

November 3, 2020

At Goodsmith, we’re lucky enough to get to know our fair share of interesting clients – and Marcia Smart is one of our very favorites. After moving to Houston in 2005, Marcia expanded her cooking classes into a full-time business. Today, she teaches hands-on cooking classes out of her home and on Zoom, develops simple recipes and weekly meal plans, and writes an uber-popular blog, to boot. In other words, she’s busy! So when Marcia needed a little help around the home (especially the kitchen), she gave us a call. We help her keep her kitchen in top shape, so she can put it to good use creating mouthwatering dishes. Read on for some of Marcia’s pro tips on keeping your own kitchen running smoothly.

As a recipe developer and cooking instructor, my kitchen is more than just a room – it’s my favorite place. It’s where I experiment with new twists on old recipes, where I help my students discover the satisfaction of a perfectly cooked dish, and where I prepare my family’s favorite meals before we sit down to dinner every night.

I spend a lot of time in our kitchen – so it needs to be in tip-top shape, from my stove to my countertops and everything in between. I’ve found that routine upkeep makes a big difference in how well my appliances work. Here are a few of my favorite tips for maintaining a kitchen.

My oven gets a lot of use – so with the holiday season fast approaching, I want to be sure it’s ready to go before turkey time. I recommend an annual deep cleaning to scrub away any baked-on gunk and grime. There are several oven cleaners on the market, but you can also apply an all-natural mixture of baking soda and vinegar to the walls and bottom of your oven. Let it work overnight, then wipe clean in the morning.

I also swear by an annual calibration of my oven. When someone tells me they’ve followed a recipe’s directions, but it just isn’t cooking correctly, the first thing I mention is getting oven temperature calibrated. You’d be surprised what a difference a few degrees can make! You can also purchase an oven thermometer to easily gauge your oven temperature and identify any issues with the calibration.

Just like an outdoor BBQ, your stove hood’s metal filter should be cleaned periodically. I like to degrease mine twice a year. There are plenty of cleaners you can use to combat the grease buildup on your range hood – but all you really need is some baking soda, water, and elbow grease to scrub the mess away.

For those with gas range stoves, be sure to avoid using too much water or any kind of abrasive materials when cleaning your appliance; both can damage your stove and leave you in worse shape than when you started. And of course, if you ever smell gas, be sure to call someone out to check on your stove right away.

It may seem like a “set and forget” appliance, but your refrigerator can really benefit from occasional maintenance. I recommend checking the internal temperature every few months to ensure your fridge is keeping your food adequately chilled. (I keep mine set between 37 and 40 degrees.) A full fridge is your friend here, as it takes more energy to cool an empty fridge – so don’t be afraid to stock it up on your next grocery run.

Another way to keep your fridge running efficiently is to keep the coils above the SubZero clean. Once a year, I use my vacuum’s handheld attachment to tackle any dust that has accumulated. It’s an easy task that makes a big difference!

Don’t forget about your freezer, either. Your ice cube tray can get pretty grimy over time. I like to take mine out and wash it every couple months to keep it clean and sanitized.

Finally, if you have an in-unit water dispenser, make sure you’re changing filters according to your appliance’s factory directions for the freshest-tasting H20.

Sink and dishwasher
Beyond checking that your faucets are tight enough to prevent leaking, how else can you keep your sink in top shape? One often-overlooked area is the faucet net or aerator. Simply unscrew this component and give it a gentle scrub to remove any debris or buildup.

Another little-known fact? Your dishwasher has a removable filter that should be cleaned weekly. Slide out the bottom rack from your dishwasher to access it. Lift it out and use a soapy sponge and hot water to remove any food particles that may have gotten stuck. Rinse it clean before reinserting, and voila – you’ll keep spotty dishes and streaky cutlery at bay. Check your manual to get specific instructions for your model.

Last but not least, keep an eye on those countertops! The type of countertop you have will determine how to keep it clean. For instance, you should never apply an acidic cleanser like vinegar to a sealed granite or marble surface. Sometimes, all it takes is some leftover boiling water from your tea kettle to get your counters squeaky clean.

Take it from me: From everyday meal prep to holiday feasts, a well-maintained kitchen is the foundation of a delicious meal.

Need a little help around your own kitchen? Give us a call today.


Photography by Karen Sacher



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