If You’re Standing Around, You’re Not Doing It Right

By Patrick McNerthney

The nice thing about having a small kitchen is that  it makes cooking super-efficient. When one can basically stand in one place and open the fridge, turn on the faucet, peel some carrots, sauté the…whatever people sauté,…flambe the Baked Alaska, open a bottle of wine, wash all the dishes, and welcome all the guests — well, anything larger just smacks of overkill. 

Okay the truth is our small kitchen DOES make cooking super-efficient, but only if you have the right mindset (and if you’re thin–and yes, I’m blessed with a wiry yet macho physique). Which I’ll explain momentarily.  

In the meantime I have to admit there’s a downside to our super-efficient kitchen,  (a.) It’s super tough to cook a meal that exceeds the average daily consumption of our household (3 humans, 1 dog, 1 snake) and (b.) since humans naturally gravitate to the kitchen at household social events, you can imagine it’s quite awkward when 15 people insist on cramming in to a space that normally holds (a maximum of) 3. Well, 5, including pets who are often underfoot.  Literally. 

(Our kitchen during the holidays.)

Back to what works: When I cook (essentially Sunday through Thursday), there’s no waiting for much of anything. Except maybe for my kid to set the table or my wife to come home from work.

But again, no waiting is the direct result my mindset. I have roughly 15 years of experience working in food service in some capacity, so while I normally don’t prowl around seeking efficiency, put a food or beverage in front of me and every manager I’ve ever had pops into my head and starts shouting, “No, no, no, do this first — then that, then that, then that — YES!, that’s how you do it, c’mon, move it–these tables aren’t gonna turn themselves ya know” I can’t help myself. My mind is ruined. 

Bottom line: when it comes to cooking/food & beverage, if you’re standing around, you’re not doing it right.

(Ah yes, no pressure, just keep moving and we’ll turn these tables.)

My wife and sister-in-law on the other hand … well, when they cook in my house, it’s a nightmare. The dishes pile up in the sink (do them as you go people!), the compost overflows, side dishes get cold as they wait for the entrée to finish, and they spend a lot of time just talking on the phone. 

Ugh. It’s all I can do to not freak out. Which, for me,  is somewhat of a role reversal.

Anyway, enough ranting. How does this relate to you as a caregiver of the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone needing help with life’s daily tasks?

You don’t have to wait to make a difference. You don’t need to stand around waiting for permission (even though that’s what feels “appropriate” sometimes). You can simply act … and Fine Art Miracles (FAM) can help you develop this mindset. 

Think of it like this: brewers, cooks, coffee roasters, vintners … they don’t sit idly while preparing their wares.  From start to finish – whether minutes or years – there’s work to be done: marketing, networking, cleaning, organizing, dreaming up new ideas … because while long-term projects are often the priority, it’s the related small wins and day-to-day tasks that get them where they want to go.

So during your long-term journey to open doors for your residents or loved ones as they face the ravages of social isolation—doors that lead to joy, confidence, mastery, relevance to the world, self-worth, and hope—consider the power of creative expression as the small win that gets them where you want them to go. 

Because it turns out Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Drumming Exercise Therapy, Dance Therapy, and Art 2 Go Packages (sheesh…and there’s so much more) are the perfect antidotes to the anxiety and depression underserved populations endure every day. Which means FAM can help you get those daily wins; VISIBLE, IMMEDIATE, daily wins you need to both achieve your long-term goals and stay inspired. And all this,  despite the fact that you face your own doubts and fears when it comes to helping your residents or loved ones feel like they matter

You can act now (no need to wait) and make a difference. Just give FAM a call or drop them a note, they’re happy to walk you through their programs. 

Whelp, I cooked tonight. But it’s hot here today so I grilled outside. And my back yard may be small, but it’s wayyyy easier to manage than even our small kitchen. Although it killed me to see the dish rack was full THE WHOLE TIME I WAS OUTSIDE COOKING. Ah well, I’ll have a little managerial meeting with the boss (err, wife) and staff (my kid) to set expectations. I’ll let you know how it goes…


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