Part one of Stirring the Pot is all about organizing your kitchen. Tyler talks about how your cooking space should be a "pivotal triangle". You should have your prep space, the fridge and the stove all within a step from one another.
The prep space should contain kitchen towels, a really good cutting board, and kitchen utensils (including knives). The stove station should have all your pots and pans nearby. He says you should also create a seasoning station with oils, vinegars, spices and salt and pepper close by for quick seasoning. Note: I put my spices by my stove for this same reason, but the heat kills them. I'm not sure if this is the best idea for the life of your spices??
The fridge, pantry and freezer are a separate section altogether. He basically tells you to pitch all old items and stock these areas like a grocery store. He also suggests rotating items and using all of them within one month. First in, first out.
He goes on to share these helpful tips about your freezer:
1. DO NOT FREEZE FISH - EVER
2. Wrap your meat three times. First in plastic wrap, then foil, then a labeled and dated resealable bag.
3. Do not store items in the freezer for over a month. They will form ice crystals and these ice crystals are actually the moisture leaving your food, causing your food to dehydrate.
4. Bread freezes well. Put your extra bread in freezer and then pop a couple slices out and defrost in your toaster.
5.Tyler saves his scraps on his cutting board(peelings, stems, garlic paper, herbs, etc) for stock. He keeps a bag or two of scraps in his freezer. Note: I do not make my own stock. I might reconsider this as stock cost me $4 today at Fresh Market.
I followed some of this advice about cleaning out my fridge, pantry and freezer, but I do not leave my cutting board, knives or anything out on my counter. I have a toddler who has a way of climbing and finding these things.