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Home&Design

My House Doesn’t Truly Feel Clean Until I Do This

Surprising exactly no one, I really do not like cleaning. I dread those weekly marathon sessions of turning over every curio, wiping each surface, scrubbing all the dark and cobwebby crannies. I hate the odor of vinegar and bleach and window cleaner that permeates my apartment for hours and gives me a headache. I can’t stand the pruny fingers I develop after spending the better part of the day with my fists clenched around a smelly wet rag. But even though I abhor these things with a fiery passion, with equal passion I love the payoff. The feeling of finally being at rest in a spotless space after a long day of tidying is simply unparalleled. Cooking in a kitchen that’s just been scrubbed opens a new world of dinnertime possibilities. Watching TV in a freshly dusted living room makes me feel more relaxed than the TV show could by itself. Read More >> …

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Afraid of Red Wine Stains? Memorize this Handy Trick

On a recent Friday night, I ventured to a BYOB restaurant for dinner with a group. After waiting in line for 30 minutes to place our orders, we sat at a picnic table and started to uncork the bottles of wine we’d brought. I was pretty jazzed about my 2017 Les Heretiques, a natural, French Carignan, so I carefully poured healthy servings into flimsy plastic cups and set the open bottle down in the middle of the table. I took a sip and was delighted to find the red table wine was just to my taste—tannic, medium-bodied, and full of dark fruit. My cup quivered ominously. Read More >> …

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The Best Way to Clean Your Oven Might Surprise You

I confess: the one thing I have never, ever cleaned successfully is my oven rack. Has anyone? No matter what I cook, and no matter how careful I am to put pans underneath bubbling pies and roasting vegetables, the racks somehow get covered in a layer of greasy gunk and are now permanently reddish-brown. I’ve tried scrubbing them with dish soap and baking soda, but long ago gave up hope that they’d ever be silver and shiny again. Besides, I had more visible cleaning problems to tackle. Then a friend told me about a surprising cleaning tool for oven racks and stovetop grates: dryer sheets. I don’t typically stock dryer sheets, since they’ve got lots of chemicals, which I try to avoid adding to my laundry. But, sources confirmed (when I Googled it later), that dryer sheets are excellent at tackling stubborn oven buildup—and I had half a box left behind by a former roommate that…

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The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to a Clean Stove

The stove is the workhorse of the kitchen, burners dutifully heating up on command to prepare meals at all times of day, season after season. It toils for you and your family, and that hard work shows: in a splotch of tomato sauce from Monday, charred spinach from Tuesday, burnt bits of rice from Wednesday. After days of cooking, the stove can come to be a visual map for what and how you eat. After a month of cooking, it can take on a golden-brown patina of grease and grime that looks anything but appetizing. A stove should be kept clean for your physical health—bacteria builds up in those chunks of minced garlic that never made it into the pan or the bean broth that spilled over the side of the pot—but also as inspiration. A clean stove for a cook is the artist’s equivalent of a blank canvas—the possibilities are endless. A clean stove is…

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How to Buy Towels Like a Towel Sommelier

When you hear the word “sommelier,” you probably immediately think of wine—you know, that person at the nice restaurant who helps you select a glass or bottle that’s just right. What you probably don’t think of is towels. Read More >> …

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How to Survive Rodent-Mageddon

We spend a lot of time at Food52 offering up ways to improve your home life, with inspiration for cooking, handsome home goods, and tips to keep it a beautiful, organized, welcoming sanctuary. We don’t spend a lot of time on the realities of home ownership. Well, buckle up—that’s about to change. In Where the Wild Things Are, Amanda Hesser introduces us to some of the critters with whom her family has not-so-willfully cohabited over the years, hoping to inspire you to share your own stories. Bring on the funny disasters. The rants. And the helpful solutions, too! (This is the third in Amanda’s six-part series—check out her prior story here.) Read More >> …

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I’ve Spent 110 Days Trying to Pick a Rug—Send Help

One hundred and ten days: That’s how long I’ve been deliberating over a rug for my living room. Right now, I have three options in my cart on one site, seven in my virtual basket on another, and eight on my wish list from a third retailer. There are 19 products pinned to my “Rugs” Pinboard. All the while, in reality, my living room floor remains woefully bare. This is not a new phenomenon for me: With every design decision, however small, comes much anxiety and even more indecision. I lived in my last apartment for three years before I hung anything on the walls. I moved out after five years without ever acting on my plans to install shelves in the kitchen to make the space more efficient. When I moved to my current place, it took me weeks (and dozens of samples) to choose a paint color for my new wardrobe; after I finished…

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11 Clever Ways to Store Your Many, Many Cookbooks

Here’s a cautionary tale: Until very recently, I used to keep my (ahem, not small) cookbook collection lined up between two baskets of produce. One fateful day, the weight of all those books pushed the basket off the shelf, sending onions rolling everywhere. I recovered my cookbooks, but the onions were goners. Like any small apartment dweller in a bind, I turned to the only place I knew for new cookbook storage ideas: Pinterest. And, wow. People have thought of every way to stash their recipe collections. If you’re anything like me—save your onions while you still can!—you might want to borrow one of these 11 unique ideas, too: Read More >> …

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An Unexpected Trick to Keep Your Dishwasher Smelling So Fresh, So Clean

When I bought a dishwasher for my apartment two years ago, I really felt like I’d made it in life. Maybe because in Chinese households, at least the way I remember them, they don’t exist. Even when there’s one right in the kitchen, that’s not a dishwasher. It’s a storage unit at best. Case in point: this scene from Fresh Off the Boat, when the youngest son in the Huang family, during lunch at a friend’s house, learns that the machine his own family uses as a “drying rack” has another purpose. “You mean the thing we put our dishes into after we wash them in the sink?” his older brother asks in disbelief. Thus begins a small generational war in the home as the boys scheme ways to actually use the dishwasher—something their mother hoped would never happen in their lifetime. Read More >> …

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The Downside to White Walls, According to Ice Cream Mogul Natasha Case

Welcome to My Life at Home, where we slow down for just a minute to share a glimpse into the lives of food lovers we’d love to get to know better. Kick off your shoes and get comfy! Natasha Case knows that building a good ice cream sandwich is as much a science as it is an art. Read More >> …

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The 4 Surprising Spots You’re (Probably) Forgetting to Spring Clean

If the recent change in seasons has you reaching for the bucket and mop, you’re not alone. Seventy-seven percent of households in the U.S. engage in the annual ritual of spring cleaning, according to a recent survey conducted by the the American Cleaning Institute, the D.C.-based trade organization for the cleaning products industry. (Apparently, 8 percent of people “never spring clean.”) Read More >> …

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Seattle Restaurateur Linda Derschang’s Chic Condo Is Almost As Cool As She Is

Welcome to My Life at Home, where we slow down for just a minute to share a glimpse into the lives of food lovers we’d love to get to know better. Kick off your shoes and get comfy! Running a restaurant takes serious work. Running restaurants plural takes guts and a good dose of secret sauce. There’s a reason why certain places make it, and if you’re lucky, certain places are good at reproducing their vibe in a successful cadre of subsequent venues. This is what Linda Derschang of The Derschang Group has been doing—with gusto—over the past 25-plus years. Read More >> …

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How to Turn Your Plants Into…Way More Plants (for Free!)

During the busy holiday rush not too long ago, two of my co-workers surprised our team with the neatest gifts. Your mind might immediately go to a pan of Super Fudgy Brownies or a stack of Chocolate Chunk Cookies, but not this time (though we’d certainly never say no to those types of treats either). My dear teammates brought in a smattering of plants—yes, plants! More specifically, cuttings from Pothos and lipstick plants, as well as some succulents. These “pups” or “babies,” as they’re known in green parlance, are usually pulled (gently!) or neatly cut off from the stem of an existing plant. With care, these offshoots can regrow, or propagate, into lively and lovely plants of their own. It is a fun, inexpensive, and feel-good way to add more greenery into your lives—especially for all of us city dwellers, whose small quarters and lack of outdoor space have us craving nature in any form. Read…

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The 2-Ingredient Face Scrub That Saved My Winter Skin

I publish a lot of few-ingredient recipes these days. Many are five, but some are even less, like these four-ingredient butter pecan cookies or three-ingredient croissant brittle. But this recipe is even less. It’s two. Oh, and it’s actually a face scrub. A totally edible face scrub, but a face scrub all the same. Read More >> …

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A 10-Minute Pantry Refresh You Can Tackle Right Now

Welcome to Pantry Goals, your destination for all the practical tips and need-to-know tricks to get your space in tip-top shape (and keep it that way). If I had to choose a VIP in my kitchen I’d have to go with my pantry. Humble and unsung, the pantry has saved me on bare, lonely nights when I have nothing in the fridge but shouldn’t splurge on takeout. It has provided me with countless pasta dishes, slapped-together salads, and slow-cooked, warming bowls of soup. Read More >> …

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A Why-Didn’t-I-Think-of-That Way to Fold Fitted Sheets

I actually love folding laundry—when it’s fresh from the dryer, warm and smelling like mountain springs or a clean breeze. I burrow into my toasty pile before sorting through the socks and shirts and sheets. I listen to podcasts as I organize each article of clothing, ready to fit in my closet. It makes me feel cozy and accomplished. That is, unless I’m folding a fitted sheet. Because—despite the fact that this is not rocket science—my attempts to show those rounded corners who’s boss fail. Every. Single. Time. Read More >> …

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10 Pinterest Home Trends We’re Keeping an Eye on in 2019

New year, new decor! One of our favorite annual reports, 100 Pinterest Trends, was just released for 2019, and we can’t overstate how many amazing ideas are in it. While the report covers everything from style and beauty to travel and parenting, we were immediately drawn to the home section—because what better way to kick off the new year than with a spiffy home makeover? Overall, the top home trends for 2019 are bold and unapologetic with lots of natural influences and budget-friendly decorating hacks. Here’s what Pinterest predicts will be big in the coming year—which style do you love the most? Read More >> …

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19 Killer Food Subscriptions to Give This Holiday—Because You’ve Still Got Time!

Tick-tock! I blinked and somehow found myself within spitting distance of Christmas. I’m realizing I may have missed the shipping cut-off dates for many sites, but my list of unshopped-for loved ones still looms large. If you find yourself similarly pressed for time, know that there are still plenty of thoughtful options out there. I’ve said before that the best presents to give are the ones you’d love to receive yourself. Luckily, there are a whole host of subscription gifts that fit this bill—and the best part is, the lucky giftee can benefit from your generosity long after the holiday season is over. Read More >> …

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6 Kitchen-Organizing Hacks I Stole From the Kardashians (Yep, Those Kardashians)

Say what you want about me, but I have been Keeping Up with the Kardashians every single Sunday night (well, almost) for the last 11 years. It’s a wonderfully enjoyable way to switch off my brain for one single hour. I’ll tune in to their family arguments (sometimes over something as insignificant as a toaster), lavish vacations, and relationship crises, and forget all about the stress of the upcoming week. What can I say? It’s my guilty pleasure. Of all the wild moments the reality series has documented, few things have shocked and awed me as much as each family member’s stunningly organized kitchen, from their abundantly stocked fridges to perfectly catalogued pantries. Khloé, the youngest of the three Kardashian sisters, is the most famous for overhauling her kitchen space (something she attributes to what she calls “Khlo-CD”), but Kourtney, Kylie, and even mom-ager (mom + manager) extraordinaire Kris Jenner have all followed suit. And believe…

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22 Gifts So Good, You Might Want to Keep Them for Yourself

What kind of shopper are you? The prepared type, with lists and Excel spreadsheets mapped out months ahead of the holiday season? The last-minute type, flitting from store to store while trying your best to dodge the mobs? Or are you, like me, the ooh!-one-for-you-and-one-for-me type, unable to resist when you come upon a find so good, you just HAVE to pick one up, too? Whatever camp you fall in, you’ll still have to make some choices—and when that time comes, we’ve got your back. Whether you’re thinking up thoughtful gifts for the nearest and dearest in your life (or even those who are…not as close), we’ve got spot-on presents for every last person on your list. Read More >> …

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This Miracle Gadget Will Transform the Way You Juice Lemons

Until a month ago, I was a person who would vehemently proclaim the only tools I needed to juice a lemon were a fork and my bare hands. Yes, it was messy. And yes, I had to painstakingly fish out seeds. Yes, I’m always brightening up salads, soups, and such with a splash of fresh juice. But why add a citrus squeezer or juicer to my already packed kitchen? But then, at an event celebrating the launch of Julia Turshen’s Now & Again, I received this OXO Good Grips Small Citrus Juicer with Built-In Measuring Cup and Strainer. She mentioned how it was great to measure exact amounts of juice when testing recipes, and, later, I saw she mentioned it again when speaking to The Cut: Read More >> …

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This Trusty Gadget Makes Flying With Little Ones a Breeze

Before my husband and I had our daughter Lana, we talked about how we’d try our hardest not to let having a child get in the way of our traveling―a hobby we enjoyed immensely, of course, but also a necessity with both of our families living abroad. For the most part, we made well on that promise, especially when Lana was just a baby. Up until she was about nine or 10 months old, we would reserve the bassinet seats on flights, and have her sleep, play, and sit up in this cozy space. That was a dream compared to the forthcoming early toddler years (I’d say 12 to 24 months), which were, in my opinion, the most challenging. Not only are they starting to be on the move (read: unable to sit still), they’re also just learning to communicate their needs through words. They’re up! They’re down! They’re all around! Trust me when I say…

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Upgrade Your Tired, Old Kitchen Cabinets With This 5-Minute Trick

What can you do with just five minutes? Actually, way more than you think! Introducing Food52 in 5: your cheat sheet for speedy, delicious recipes, fun mini projects, and more. I am a perennial renter, and given my habit of spending over saving, I probably always will be. So that means seriously renovating my kitchen is always out of the question. There are two problems with this: the kitchen is my favorite place to be in any apartment (aside from my bed, no contest there); and most of the kitchens I’ve been stuck with have been pretty outdated (laminate countertops and finicky appliances are pretty much a given). Read More >> …

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30 Housewarming Gifts People *Actually* Really Want

We all know moving’s no picnic. First comes the organizing and piling. Then it’s the lifting and lowering and packing, along with some cleaning, and then, likely, some driving. By the time everything’s unloaded and arranged in the new nest, it’s time to celebrate. If you’re heading to a housewarming party, you want to bring the perfect gift to honor the occasion—something thoughtful, useful, and not a fifth bottle of wine. (Actually, on second thought, more good wine is always a great thing.) A gift the hosts won’t return in a month. Read More >> …

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A Japanese Ceramicist’s Wild & Free Home

Welcome to My Life at Home, where we slow down for just a minute to share a glimpse into the lives of food lovers we’d love to get to know better. Kick off your shoes and get comfy! Hello, Shino! Photo by Atisha Paulson The first time you meet artist Shino Takeda, you are struck by her energy and her laugh. It’s one of those highly contagious laughs where you catch yourself smiling, too. Being around someone like Shino feels good for the soul; you start to see the way she sees, feel the way she feels, cook and taste the way she does. Read More >> …

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