A lesson that persists

Growing up, my mother and I didn’t spend too much time in the kitchen together, and most of my current cooking skills I gained since I started living on my own as a college student. However, there is one lesson that my mother taught me back home that I constantly seem to practice in the kitchen. The lesson is to clean up the space as you go.

On those rare occasions when I stood with my mother in the kitchen as a child, my mother always insisted that I cleaned up the tools and the space as I cooked.

“See? You don’t need this tool anymore. So, why don’t you wash it up while we wait for that thing to cook.”

Her point was to finish cooking with a clean kitchen so that all we had to wash up later was the dishes that we used to eat the meal.

“You don’t want your sink to be filled up with your cooking stuff, because later you’ll also have many dishes from the eating. If we leave both in the sink, it’s going to be quite dauting when we come back here later to clean up.”

When we had a mandatory cooking class at primary school, I used to tell everyone in my group to clean up the tools and the space as we went. Once, my friend’s mother who was working as a supervisor for the class came along and commented with surprise on her face,

“Wow, this group’s kitchen space is always clean and tidy!”

That was the first time I realized that my mother’s principle wasn’t necessarily shared by everyone and that it was indeed a helpful one.

I’ve always kept this cleaning principle close to my heart. The lesson not only helps me while cooking, but it also feels special because this was probably the only thing I’ve ever learned from my mother in the kitchen. Only one lesson, but that lesson has surely stayed with me well.