Thursday, October 13, 2016

Washing dishes

When I was in the 4th and 5th grade and later, my sister and I washed dishes, not an unusual chore for the kids.  When I was in college, I made a little extra cash washing dishes in the cafeteria.  I worked at a private girls camp in Vermont where I did odd jobs and washed dishes.  At home, I often wash the dishes if I didn't contribute to making the meal.

Most of the time, washing dishes at home meant a sinkful of foamy dishwater and a drying rack.  When we moved to our present house, I had a dishwasher at home for the first time.  I had dealt with large commercial dishwashers in commercial kitchens where the water was heated to very hot temperatures.  The operator needed protective gloves for his hands when touching anything that came out of the washer.

Washing dishes seems like a pretty good job.  It is basically clean and you know you are contributing to the health of those who eat with those dishes and utensils.  Washing pots and pans is a different matter.  They are more trouble to get clean, more trouble to really rinse and more trouble to dry, whether by air or with a towel.  It is not unusual to have pots that are too big to fit in the sink and have to be washed carefully to avoid getting water all over the floor and the operator.  A friend said about 50 years ago that he always feared having a soap bubble or foam drying on a pot and later being cooked into the food.  He managed to give me the bad idea, too.

Big pots can be a job to maneuver.  When I was the quartermaster for a large Boy Scout camp, my assistant and I had to haul very large pots, 50 quarts or more up and down on shelving.  I don't remember either of us ever dropping such heavy pots on the concrete floor of our warehouse or on each other but it is a wonder that we didn't.  We dealt with a variety of butcher knives and cleavers and serrated blades and we didn't have any mishaps with them but that is something else to be thankful for.  In our kitchen now, we have a variety of ceramic knives that are extremely sharp but we have managed to use them and handle them without mishap so far.  Once I stupidly plunged my hand into suds and sliced my finger open on the blade of a Cuisinart food processor.  That was bloody enough.

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