Changes in the kitchen

My last major goal for this year is to get rid of the plastic in the kitchen.  I’ve been purchasing more and more staples in bulk and didn’t like seeing all those bags cluttering up the cabinets.  Little by little, I had already been putting things in glass canning jars and was really liking the way that worked for me.  I bought a few decorative jars to keep my salad dressings and sauces in and again was pleased.  So far I’ve gone through my cabinets and put all the bulk foods into glass jars.  Some were jars I already had and some were jars I found in thrift stores and still others were jars from my Grandmother’s home.

The next step in my kitchen is going to be replacing the kids’ dishes with either stainless steel or some small glass plates.   As fun as it is to see Liam get all excited over Perry the Platypus on his plate, I’m fairly certain that a dish that can’t be put in the microwave or it will melt isn’t the best thing to serve my child from.  We have a few melamine plates that I’m also trying to phase out due to concerns over there being formaldehyde in it’s composition.   For the most part, I have smaller dinner plates that I give Liam from time to time, but they go with our dishes and I’m fairly certain we can no longer replace them should they get broken.  When I give him or Sylvi small portions of food, I’ve always put them in glass or ceramic ramekins.  Cups are an issue, though since almost all sippy cups are plastic.  I taught Liam how to drink from a regular cup at an early age, but he likes to wander with his drinks and glass cups are out of the question unless he’s supervised.  I’ve found some good options in Sigg and Foogo for him, but I want him to have a cup as well.

Since I’m reading the book The Non-Toxic Avenger, I’ve become more aware of the hidden things in my kitchen I hadn’t previously been concerned about.  I don’t have a lot of teflon in my kitchen because I do honestly prefer stainless steel and wooden spoons for cooking, but I do have 3 pans that are non-stick and 2 bread pans that are also non-stick.  This week when I made bread, I dug out my mother’s glass bread pans and baked the loaves in them instead.  There was no difference in the cooking time, but the bread rose in an odd manner while baking.  2 of the saute pans actually have scratches in the finish and while I only use them for scrambled eggs, I’m thinking that now is as good a time as any to re-learn how to cook in stainless. I grew up cooking like that, I can do it again.  I got an Olive Oil mister for Christmas and I’m loving that I no longer have those odd spray bottles in my kitchen that are nearly impossible to recycle and are filled with propellants and chemicals.

In a conversation with a friend this week while I discussed the changes I want to make, she asked me if I had a happy childhood.  I thought it an odd question, but considering that I had just finished telling her that my mother wouldn’t allow any plasticware in our kitchen for years because she was concerned about leaching chemicals and how many people equate brightly colored plastics with childhood dinnerware, I can see where she was coming from.  Quite frankly, I’d rather my children not eat with Disney characters plastered on every surface if I can help it.  Anyway, I am aware that this is going to be an interesting journey and there will be some adjustments as I relearn how to cook certain food items, but I think it will be worth it.  And if nothing else, we’ll just have a kitchen with lasting items instead of dishes that come and go with the favored character of the month.

12 Replies to “Changes in the kitchen”

    1. I know… the more I read and research now, I’m blown away by how if I’d stayed with the things I’d been taught as a child, I wouldn’t have exposed my body to many toxins. I hope that I can communicate this to my own children so they don’t have to wait until they are in their 20s to even begin to thing critically about the topic.

      1. looks great and the glass is much prtiteer too. I can’t stand the tupperware chaos in our cabinets and I’m always on a mad hunt for lids. I love the idea of recycling glass jars too from the store. I’m trying to find friendly things to pack school lunches in. I hate the zip log bags and how fast we burn through them and how bad they are in general. Thanks for the post – another friendly reminder to be kind to our earth 🙂

      2. Plastic is a petroleum oiscesprng by-product. When you’re refining crude oil into fuel-grade products, the leftovers are the beginnings of plastic. From there it’s processed in many different ways to make many different kinds of plastics. Plastic is toxic it leaches chemicals into the environment, and us if we ingest it, eat / drink from it. Look up phthalates and bisphenol-A to name a few. Plastic doesn’t bio-degrade, so what we dump into landfills will remain there forever, leeching chemicals into the soil and water. Oil is a non-renewable resource.Glass is made from minerals (sand). It is completely non-toxic and inert, even most of the colorants are non-toxic mineral based. Glass can be recycled infinitely as it’s molecules need only be re-arranged. Given enough time, it can completely break-down back into sand/ minerals. Yes, it can cut you (but I’ve been cut quite more often by that horrid plastic-shell packaging on electronics). Comparatively, a glass-production plant will pollute very little compared to an oil refinery. Don’t breathe the smoke in either case, smoke in general isn’t good for your lungs. As far as energy production per item, I can’t say for sure. It’s hard to separate out plastic from the whole oil production industry. But I can say for sure glass is a far safer, more sustainable and environmentally-friendly option.

    2. I was at Target yetserday and noticed they had some clear glass storage containers with clear glass lids. (Most of the clear glass containers I’d seen locally up until then had plastic lids.) You can also find them on Lehman’s website (www.lehmans.com). Lunchboxes are a nonissue here, but I wondered if maybe you could find bento boxes that aren’t made of plastic (if you haven’t already checked into bento boxes, that is).It’s nice to get rid of the plastic plates/cups/glasses!! I keep one juice-size plastic cup for when my youngest niece is here, but it won’t be too much longer before she’s able to comfortably handle glass cups.

    3. Love it! I am slowly raelpcing all my plastic storage-wear w/glass as well. I prefer it. Also, i save/reuse salsa jars, sauce jars, even small jars since you don’t always need big jars to store small amounts of items. Cheap, easy & much more eco-friendly (and better for us too)!

  1. I’m totally re-organizing and cleaning out my kitchen. I still have a few plastic containers I keep around that are #5 clear plastic (so BPA-free) but they are just for emergencies or if I want to send food home with someone and they can just keep the container that way. I do have a couple of silicone spatulas but other wise there is very little plastic.

    My current love is Pyrex. My MIL is disabled and doesn’t cook or bake anymore so she gave me two vintage Pyrex bread pans this weekend, I’m pretty excited. I also got more Pyrex for Christmas, I really am obsessed.

    1. Because I freezer cook, I’m trying to figure out the best methods for storing the meals. I bought a few of the larger Pyrex lidded containers that claim to be safe in the freezer and also can go in the oven. In the majority of my past cooking days, I’ve used foil containers, which I like, but they probably have some sort of a weird lining and even though they are recyclable, it feels like such a waste having to buy 10 containers every month. Anyway, I’m eager to get a chance to use the glass containers and report how they work for me!

      1. I have not totally gotten rid of plastic, especially when it comes to freezing things. But, I have found that mason jars freeze quite well. I have used them for stock, spaghetti sauce, chili, etc. The nice thing is you can go from frozen to the microwave, which you can’t *safely* do with the plastic.

          1. containers were found at Costco – they have sociline lids that snap down (read – don’t put curry all over the inside of your bag) and can go in the nuker if need-be. Hubby didn’t wanna feel like a dummy… so he either uses an old bag (e.g. grocery) or the pyrex (although it’s labeled… boys just don’t bring stuff home). A lot of the time he comes home (a whopping mile from work) for lunch though. We also use home-made versions of the wrap-n-mat – I used a thrifted outdoor table cloth, sewed another fabric to what was the back, and added a ribbon to tie it all closed. They work very well – even for things like grapes! (they also double-duty as a compost carrier and/or napkin). In the fridge, you’ll find lots of glass containers – said “pyrex” type from Costco, bowls with plates as lids (unless hubby plasticifies them before I get to ’em), lots of re-used glass jars (purchased jam, spaghetti sauce, etc.) as well as canning jars w/reused lids. I’m a total klutz, and have managed to break more plastic containers than glass or stainless. And more than breaking, my issue was leaking/lid coming off. So for light-weight, the fau-wrap’n’mat is the lightest, and the to-go-ware is the lightest container-type I use…

    2. Nice! We still have lots of Tupperware & Rubbermaid in the cabinet, but we mlotsy use the Pyrex – we have the same set you do. Recently I have also moved my flours and sugar from large plastic containers to large glass jars with screw-on metal lids. Now I’m wondering what to do with the big plastic containers… sometimes I use those sorts of things to corral toys that have lots of small parts (like Littlest Pet Shop or Polly Pocket type stuff).

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