The Mat That Saved my Back (and my Preserves)

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I cook for a living – I write about it, and talk about it on TV and radio. And so I’m always testing recipes and styling photo shoots, and of course because I love cooking I love putting up preserves in the fall – jam, chutney, pickles and the like. At 6 ft tall, standing at the counter on hardwood floors for hours can do a number on my back.

And so I decided to do what restaurant chefs and baristas do to save their backs – I picked up an anti-fatigue mat from Home Depot to set down in my high-traffic area, that spot of the counter beside the stove where I wind up doing most of my work.

There are far more types of mats available in the US – all sturdy and washable, all designed with the goal of protecting your knees and back from long periods of standing on a hard floor. The mat I chose has interlocking sides, so that you could conceivably cover a side or corner of your kitchen with a springy rubber surface, and it’s easy to lift up when you want to mop. I just pick mine up and keep it in a roll in the basement when I’m not cooking for long stretches.

But for now, because it’s fall, I’ll be making Crabapple-Cranberry Slow Cooker Chutney, cranberry-pear-ginger preserves, green tomato chutney, ginger pickled carrots, apricot jam and pickled everything.

What are you doing with your fall harvest?

A big thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

For more delicious ideas, check out Julie’s other Family Kitchen posts or visit her blog, Dinner with Julie! Join Julie on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for updates!

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