Saturday, March 10, 2012

Beware of Random Kitchen Inspections

Library of Congress: Home Economics Class, South Carolina, 1939.


I scrubbed and cleaned out my fridge and freezer last night.  As I worked, I remembered kitchens of yesteryear. . .

We used to have a variety of colors for refrigerators. There was cream, yellow, green or white.  I've also seen country red and blue in pictures.  I remember our fridges were mostly a cheery yellow. (I have never liked the sterile, cold look of stainless steel that is presented as a modern necessity.)

Refrigerators needed to be cleaned once each week. This would be a deep cleaning, which included throwing out unused leftovers and discarding old produce.  We would also get a big bucket, cloth and towel. We would use hot water and a cleaning product and start scrubbing every inch of the fridge shelves, walls, drawers and door.  Then we would dry and polish it all.

Some refrigerators had to be defrosted. In this case, it was turned off, emptied out, and given time for all the built - up ice to melt into a special pan. Then we would get in there and clean the whole thing out.  This was also done on a weekly basis.

A clean fridge was just part of a clean kitchen. It was normal work we all expected to do.

Years ago, I remember a mother who was setting up her home as a daycare. She was told that she could enroll in a food program, which would provide checks to reimburse her for the meals she provided to the children. But she was worried because the worker would come into her home, randomly, and inspect her refrigerator and oven.  Why would that bother her? Was it because she was not keeping things clean?

Can you imagine if someone randomly came by and inspected our kitchens?

Sometimes I think about this. Before I sit down to rest in the evenings, I go in my kitchen and tidy things up. When I notice my fridge is not orderly, I like to do a quick clean up and make things look neat.  This is one of the many things that keep a housewife occupied and productive. This also helps keep a sanitary home.

After we make lunch or dinner, I notice a piled up mess.  This becomes the challenge. The best thing to do is get in there promptly and get the work finished.   There are going to be messes. And that is okay. That is part of life.  But we cannot neglect the cleaning part. . . Top chefs have been trained to make delicious food, and run a sanitary, clean environment.  They also have random checks by the health department. They are graded, on a point scale, based on cleanliness. They are always proud to get 100% scores or an "A."

If you were given 30 minutes notice, would you get an "A" for a clean kitchen?

But here is the sad part.... what about those who don't care if they get an "F"? Why don't we have more people take pride in a clean kitchen, like the Top Chefs and the Mothers of yesteryear?


From the Archives -

Christian Homes - The Mission House.

I'd Rather see through these - Mother's Rose - Colored Glasses

Working for the Happiness of the Family - The Kitchen is Ready!

Some Help - The Secret to a Clean House.

- To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -

Find Home-keeping Inspiration, in Mrs.White's book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking.  Paperback, 274 pages.


Mrs. Stam said...

I guess if someone would come in the middle of the day, I would be ashamed to show anything in my house, but after the kids are sleep and the final touches of cleaning are done, I would gladly show all.

Have 3 very little goose, and all of us living and being home all the time can make things "messy" in a hurry. So maybe it's not the "dirty" part that I would worry about, more the messy part :-)

Sheri said...

I would not need 30 mins. Our kitchen is always almost clean to quite tidy and a quick 5-10 min spruce up would do it. I hate messy kitchens. So we try to clean up after each meal/baking session. :) I don't clean out the fridge once a week tho-we spot clean it and usually do a "throw it out" only when needed cuz we rarely have leftovers that are more than for one meal. :) Guess I could spruce the old refridge up a tad more but outside of that, me thinks I would be safe with an impromptu inspection :)....nice post

Andrea said...

As a foster mom, I fear the random drop by, but I'm usually good!

Cassidy said...

I agree with my sweet friend, Renee. I try to keep the kitchen clean but during the day it's often messy. I probably need to take the food out and wipe down the fridge but since it looks clean I never think of it. We just did a huge grocery shop so I guess I will do that right before a grocery shop so I will have less things to set out everywhere to give it a nice cleaning! :) Blessings! Cass

Rozy Lass said...

I don't fear the random inspection I like cooking in a clean kitchen. I once helped a family by cleaning their rental home when they moved into the new purchased home. I was appalled at the filthy condition of their home. I can't imagine the kitchen had ever been properly cleaned. I move my fridge and stove out every few months and sweep and scrub those area too. A clean house doesn't need air fresheners--it just smells good because it is clean!

Blessed Homemaking said...

Another reason I love your blog so much, Mrs. White, is that you make no excuses for dirtiness, but encourage us to be diligent homemakers and keep our homes in good order. You also tell of how things "used to be", so us "young uns" can learn! Thank you so much :)

Cathy said...

I remember my Mom having to defrost, so I'm very thankful for frost free fridges. In addition to wiping inside the fridge, I also like to keep the items inside my fridge in an orderly arrangement, just like you do with your pantry and cupboards. Milk always goes here, jams always go here, salad dressing always goes here, etc. This helps me find what I need quickly, and makes it easy for everyone to help with clean up. I love when I can bring a sense of order to any aspect to my housekeeping.

Angela ~ Call Her Blessed said...

My fridge gets cleaned out often ...I have a hubs & 3 teenaged sons!! LOL. They clean it out quicker than I can replace it! I do, however, have on my to-do list a really good deep clean of the fridge/freezer...the kind where you take out the drawers & get to the nitty gritty.

Kim said...

Having lived as an innkeeper who served breakfasts for over five years, I got used to random, drop in inspections because that is how they check to see whether or not we are keeping our kitchen as clean as it is supposed to be.

Those habits have stayed with me and my kitchen stays pretty clean these days.

Before that, and especially when our daughters were younger, hmmmm, not so much.

The good news is that the innkeeping years taught our daughters how to really clean right down deep!

Cindy said...

Love this reminder! I could have it done in less than 30 minutes, but I cook so much during the day, and feed so many off and on, that my kitchen is messy with BUSYNESS! I don't mind that as long as it's kept clean underneath. Since this post focused on fridges, I'm inspired to clean mine out! It's been a month, and though I am on top of leftovers usually, I need to do a wipe down!

Crystal in Alaska said...

Well I came here to post that I would be horrified at a surprise inspection...but after reading these posts I guess I'll just go clean my fridge instead!

-Crystal in Alaska