Sunday, September 20, 2009

Healing Your Kitchen with Olive Oil for Autumn

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. --George Eliot

The sun is shining, the air is warm, but fall is lingering in the air of Lake Tahoe. I can feel it, especially at night, earling morning, and I see the changes (i.e., trees, big and small, are turning a golden color and squirrels are getting busy and plump). Recently, I began pre-autumn cleaning and shared six tips with you about detoxing the kitchen with vinegar and olive oil. Today, it's back to the kitchen to continue the never-ending chores. And olive oil is going to give me a hand (or two)...

So join me. Misery loves company! Nah, there is an art to cleaning and it can be fun and the rewards are healing for the mind, body, and spirit. Here are some things you can do with olive oil and vinegar teamed with other natural ingredients such as lemon, water, and essential oils. You'll find that these mixtures can be used to clean floors, polish furniture, freshen the air, and much, much more. My kitchen and dining room are spacious and connected so my fall cleanup is a team effort while I seem to be going back and forth to each room to make it match and balanced (a true Libra, the sign of the scales)...


  • Cutting Board Cleanup. A wooden cutting board in your kitchen is a must-have, and olive oil can help to preserve it. After using it, wash it with soap and water. Dry. Then, once it is squeaky clean, wipe it with olive oil.
  • No More Rust. Got a cast-iron frying pan? If so, chances are it's a hand-me-down. So, you want to take care of it and keep it in tip-top condition. After each time you use it, wash it, and dry it, don't forget to lightly apply olive oil to keep it rust-free and maintain its natural shine.
  • Pamper Kitchen Helpers. Olive oil fans use the versatile home aid to add a vibrant shine to kitchen helpers such as the blender, coffeemaker, and toaster. After you clean these items, simply spray them with a mist of olive oil and water (3 parts water to 1 part olive oil) and buff until they gleam olive oil pretty.

Dining Room
  • Wow Wood Paneling. I live in a house that was built decades ago. It has a lot of built-in cupboards, and it's wood paneled throughout, including the dining room and kitchen. I use a vinegar and water (with a bit of lemon for the scent) solution first to clean the wood. Then, I turn to a traditional furniture polish and then buff surface scratches with olive oil. It's pet-friendly (my Brittanys get into everything I do) and this makes the paneling shine.
  • Buff Brass. To keep brass looking shinier, buff your treasures with olive oil after cleaning them. I have a hand-me-down collection from my dad, who was also a nature lover. So, preserving his brass birds, ducks, unicorns, and reindeers means a lot to me. Olive oil keeps the brass from tarnishing so fast.
  • Preserve Antiques. I have a glass dining room table with classic wrought iron from the good old 1950s. Rubbing a bit of extra virgin olive oil onto the iron legs of the table and four chairs using a soft cloth provides a fantastic shine to this classic and preserves its worth.

Meanwhile, as a feel of Indian summer stays like a tourist in the Sierra, in between cleaning (wherever you live) it's a time to cleanse your body with fresh salads (a garden variety of dark greens, tomatoes, sprinkled with Italian cheeses, and herbs) drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. Fall fruits (pears, apples, and grapes) and vegetables (pumpkin, eggplant, carrots) are to be embraced and used in nut breads and morning muffins. And healing herbal teas to stave off the fall flu? Ah, in the morning and night, hot teas (green or black) are a must-have and iced chamomile teas and fresh fruit juices during the day are good for you and a good way to bring in the change of seasons.

A bonus tip: I've put bottles of herbal vinegars in the kitchen windowsills. Still trying to decide to hang the fresh curtains or enjoy the new, improved look without them. And my fave feng shui secret for the day? Two weeks ago, I hung a wooden black framed mirror above the stovetop. It reflects the kitchen window and makes the kitchen appear larger as it boasts the great outdoors (picture-perfect pine trees)--and this tip promises to bring good luck. Did it do its deed? You betcha in the nick of time! Try it.

(Adapted from The Healing Powers of Olive Oil: A Complete Guide to Nature's Liquid Gold by Cal Orey, published by Kensington; 2009, mass market paperback)


  1. Oh thank you for the tips, I love each and every tip that you share.

  2. Thx so much for the compliment. Sometimes, I sensing bloggers may feel like Jodie Foster's character in the classic film "Contact." It's a good feeling to know you're reaching out to someone and make contact.

  3. Wow that was such a helpful post. Learnt so many things which I can use to make my kitchen better. Thanks.

  4. Hey there Lone Acorn,
    I love feng shui and I'm telling you this mirror thing and positive energy works! And natural cleaning for your home/body is the way to go. I'm going to post more of these tips in the coming days. Yesterday, I heard the saying "The kitchen is the heart of the home"--so why not make it the best it can be, right?