Semi-unintentional participation in a RTW fast; also, chicken.

Sewing blogger Sarah Gunn, probably better known as GoodbyeValentino, recently went through a 12-month “RTW fast.” Basically, she stopped buying ready-to-wear (RTW) clothing and made her own clothes for the whole year. She’s a fabulous sewist with an excellent eye for high-end fashion and great fitting skill, her work was quite inspiring for me (see her “trunk show” here).

I idly entertained the notion of following suit in 2013, but my wardrobe-making ability is probably 1/100th of hers, so I didn’t officially commit. And yet here we are, more than halfway through the year, and I haven’t bought any clothing for myself, with the exceptions of a badly needed bra, a pair of shoes, and some pantyhose. (She notes “shoes, socks and underwear are permitted” in the fast.)

In addition to the RTW fast, I’ve been mercilessly culling my existing clothes – after having a gentle let’s-get-real talk with myself, I discarded the pants bought years ago that haven’t fit comfortably since the twins’ birth, tossed the tops that were too short or otherwise weird, eliminated the stuff that was edgy once but now looks dated (or dare I say “too youthful”?), and admitted some pieces have been well loved and well worn and are ready to retire (handknit socks from graduate school, sniff). Although I’m setting aside some items for future refashions, I’m curating my wearable wardrobe as far down as I can stand.

The sorry flip side is that I haven’t exactly been creating much, so my outfits, now derived from an ever-shrinking pool of candidates, are getting repetitive and slightly annoying. I’m letting this annoyance fuel my urge for selfish sewing. I don’t have the time or patience to “leave no retail stone unturned,” but I think I do have it in me to continue to learn how to sew better and fit this postpartum/premenopausal/middle-aged/what-have-you body. I signed up for a couple of Craftsy classes on fitting and construction. Although I dutifully watched the videos, but I have yet to create anything from them.

And now for something completely different.

Chicken gyros, recipe here. I made the tzatziki sauce, too, using homemade yogurt (strained using this gizmo).

The new house has a fancy gas cooktop with a built-in stainless steel grill. I’ve cooked with gas, and I’ve cooked on charcoal briquet grills, but I’ve never cooked on a gas grill before. It’s… amusing. Sort of broiler-esque in outcome, since it definitely lacks the charcoal flavor.

I’m not sure if I will still use it after the novelty wears off, though. It is a pain to clean (especially after grilling something in a sweet marinade) – the manual suggests wire brushing with water immediately after cooking, which I now do, having faced completely sugar-charred grossness that required 30 min of elbow grease plus an overnight soak in oven cleaner and then another 30 min of scrubbing.

Playing with the depth of field

Do you have any hints for cleaning charred grills? Something that doesn’t involve crazy harsh chemicals (for the girls’ safety) and doesn’t take an hour of scrubbing?

4 thoughts on “Semi-unintentional participation in a RTW fast; also, chicken.

  1. I don’t know if it will work, but you could try brushing the grill surface with a bit of oil (on a paper towel) once it heats up and before you add the meat/veg. It creates a bit of nonstick coating a makes it easier to clean.

  2. try using baking soda and vinegar. We have a JennAir in our kitchen too, and I hate the mess using it creates; grilling belongs outside with someone else handling it! I will admit that I prefer the no charcoal flavor though.

  3. Assuming that you can’t get to the grill immediately, I suspect you might be able to turn the heat on high, reheat the grill, and then use the wire brush/ water trick. (Make sure to use heat-resistant gloves.) No, I don’t have a grill in my kitchen, but I saw a friend clean a griddle in a similar way (except with a grill brick instead of the wire brush.) A wad of damp paper towel (held in a pair of tongs) can be used to wipe away any final residue.

  4. A friend cleans her outdoor grill by layering wet newspapers on it after each use. The dampness loosens the burnt-on stuff.

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