Kitchen Witch

(Picture courtesy of frgetmenot at

Since I’ve recently learned something that would be nice to know in advance by having a kitchen disaster, I thought it might help some of you to pass it on.   Also, there are a few things learned along the way to pass on, and invite readers to pass on things they’ve picked up that can help others here as well.

This is an invitation to be part of the kitchen witch coven all of us can use from time to time.

My particular disaster was that last weekend, when I could not spend time on simple care matters around the house, the long dependable classic refrigerator began to cool food less than food needs to be cooled.   There’s a lot of stored food in our refrigerators, and I’ve been throwing out the delicate sort.

It was even a revelation to take out thawed ice cream and find that it’s made of something so far from the pure ingredients I expect in ice cream that it still held it’s texture even though it was no longer frozen.   A friend tells me it’s composed of ‘guar’, a gum.   Not quite what I relate to as food.

When I had time and attention to spare on the failing refrigerator on Wednesday, I googled something like “refrigerator stops cooling” and found out that there is a whole section of information.   Helpfully, the advice told me how to check a variety of different features of my problem.   I could have had a number of symptoms, and picked out the ones I was having.

I found out that there are exhaust in the bottom and that they need to be cleaned out.   No, I had never known that before.   They were clogged, and I unplugged the thing, and scrabbled around on the floor and cleaned them out.   My, what a little vacuuming along the way might have helped with.

The refrigerator went back to cooling, albeit not as completely as I would like.   One of the vents is in the back of the refrigerator, and it’s too heavy for me to move.   I’ll need to get in a repairman, as soon as I finish cleaning out the rest of the contents and thoroughly scrub the whole thing down.  Meantime, old faithful continues humming along without a hitch, after being plugged back in.

Although this one was unplanned, I had been going through what should be annual but isn’t, am in the process of tossing out the old and renewing the contents of all my stores of stuff.   All of us probably have memories of family kitchens that contained historic ingredients that had gone far beyond the dates they should have been thrown out.   I had helped family clean out a kitchen whose owner-operator had grown old using things that were arranged in rows going back into prehistoric times, datable by diminishing price tags to the ten cent level.

Some cultures include rituals that include a yearly toss of the old, cleaning everything, and starting over.   That is a ritual I’m observing now, and it’s one I appreciate.    Do you have customs that include occasional redo of the contents of the kitchen?   What a good idea!

Salt – placing a container of salt on the table (it does not have to be consumed for the energy to permeate the ritual)  also recognizes the wealth to be found in abundance. It represents safety and strength, protection and warding off evil and harm are all magickal properties of salt and have been since long before biblical days.

Olives – another food representing a strong, abundant harvest. Eating olives brings protection, a sense of peace within as well as abundance and wealth.  In ancient Greece olive leaves were worn for luck and today we can eat the cured olives, any variety, for the same purpose.

Another kitchen lore that came to me as something I should have practiced before is care of the coffeemaker that precludes soap, because it ruins the taste of the coffee I love.   Scrubbing the coffeemaker with a soap-free rough pad daily, at least once a month running vinegar through its perking routine, then thoroughly cleaning that out, makes for a fine taste from your coffee.

Another long observed practice is putting an open container of baking soda in the back of the refrigerator, to absorb odors.   That icon, baking soda, is also a healthful cleaner and scrubber, and can be used on many pots, plates, and surfaces to scrub away the accumulated impurities and stains that cooking invites.

Cleaning out is particularly appealing to me as fresh ingredients take over for me in general cuisine, and I get farther away from the artificial that’s been too much part of our modern world.


Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.