Out of all of the resolutions you could possibly make at the start of a new year, I hope this directive guides Spruce Eats readers into 2023: Stay curious.
Find cooking inspiration in your travels—whether that's mastering Cincinnati Chili after a weekend trip in Ohio for a wedding, or trying to recreate the best pho you ever had in Vietnam. Explore new-to-you spices in the kitchen, pick up an unexpected cookbook from the library, and vow to finally figure out how to make perfect-every-time pancakes. Be open to new experiences, and don't be afraid of failure.
This is, of course, easier said than done. And like most New Year's resolutions, you have to set yourself up to succeed if you want to make any sort of actionable change. So before you dive head-first into your next cooking adventure, let's take a step back and talk basics: cleaning, organizing, and inspiration. Think of these three building blocks as the paper on which you're planning to draw—you need the foundations in place to be creative. If your oven is grimey, you're less likely to want to learn how to make Detroit-Style Pizza; and if your pantry is a mess, playing around with new ingredients might sound less appealing. See what I mean?
To help you put your best foot forward, we talked to three experts in their respective fields to help you clean, organize, and get inspired in the kitchen this year. Think of them as your fairy kitchen godmothers: Vanesa Amaro will show you how to make cleaning more fun; Janelle Williams shares the top three organizers everyone should have in their kitchen; and Tiffy Chen talks about the ingredients and flavors inspiring her own cooking right now so you have a place to start. Together, they'll pave the way for your cooking curiosity in 2023.
— Arie Knutson, Editorial Director
If you've ever found your way onto #CleanTok, there's a very good chance you've already encountered Vanesa Amaro. With over 5.5 million followers on TikTok, Amaro is known for sharing all of the smart tips and tools for cleaning every part of your home—including the kitchen. "The kitchen is where you prepare everything you are putting into your body, so you want to always ensure that the space is clean and germ-free," she explains. In our conversation with her, she shares her tricks for cleaning the hardest part of the kitchen (the oven), and her favorite tools for the job.
Janelle Williams is an Annapolis-based professional organizer, who helps her clients create clutter-free spaces that they actually want to be in. "The key to good organization is to have only as much stuff as you can keep on top of—no more," she explains. If the idea of opening your pantry fills you with dread, and your fridge is a chaotic mess, she's here to help. In our conversation with Williams, she shares tips for living in small spaces, in multi-person households, and more. And don't miss her must-have kitchen organization tools.
So your kitchen is sparkling clean and you finally organized your spice cabinet. Now what? If you're feeling uninspired when it comes to cooking, small things can have a big impact. That's why we talked to Tiffy Chen, or Tiffy Cooks as she's called to her 2.5 million fans on TikTok. The social media star is known for her simple-but-delicious recipes, and recreations of her childhood favorites from Taiwan. "Nothing makes me happier than just going to the kitchen and cooking," she explains. In our conversation with Chen, she talks about learning while you cook, the spicy ingredient fueling her kitchen, and the other social media accounts that are inspiring her right now.