Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Works For Me: I AM the Dishwasher
The one thing missing from this brand new paradise of expansive Corian and glazed cherry cabinetry is a dishwasher. And startlingly so, according to the majority of visitors to my humble home.
My father-in-law, with raised eyebrow, dutifully designed the kitchen sans device. He insisted on putting in a bank of drawers the WIDTH of one, just in case "the next owners want to install one" (or, as he probably thinks more likely, I come to my senses at a later date).
My mother exclaimed: "That's the first thing your father and I bought when we got married! A dishwasher!" And countless others have sung the praises of their own devices--claiming the inability to imagine a life without.
So here's the thing: I am not going to try to convince you to tear out your dishwasher. I just feel like explaining my reasons for omitting one.
1. There are four people living in my home. For the most part, that means I only need 4 dishes for each meal. It COULD mean a possible 12 (bread plate, bowl, dinner plate, plus glasses, but using that many dishes for one meal is a rarity). I ALWAYS have enough dishes. I don't have to pull a dirty one out of the dishwasher to wash it just because someone had an extra sandwich at 3pm. I also don't have giant stacks of plates in my cabinets. I prefer extra space to extra dishes.
2. I enjoy washing the dishes. Hot, soapy water, a job well done.
3. I have two children who, when they are tall enough, will take turns washing dishes, to give me a break.
4. I never have to wonder if what I need is clean. My favorite knife. Or mug. Or spatula. Or apple corer. Or soup pot.
5. I have never forgotten to run the thing, empty the thing, put soap in the thing. I never accidentally dump a handful of dirty spoons into a clean silverware basket.
6. No repair issues.
7. There are quite a few things I use on a daily basis that wouldn't go into the dishwasher, even if I had one. Cast iron skillet, Cutco knives, over-sized bowls, popcicle holders, giant cutting board, dutch oven, stoneware baking pan, virtually all of my storage containers (some are probably dishwasher-safe, but with all the PBA stuff, I don't know how much I believe that).
8. I have 18 cubic feet more storage space than you do. Right there, beside the sink, where I do all the prep work.
9. You cannot convince me that the dishwasher actually saves time. I defy you to load and unload the dishwasher any faster than I wash and put away the dishes (allowing for air drying, or if you'd like, we can race and I will dry them as well). My dishes are ready again long before yours.
I will concede: I am probably using more water than you are. The dish drainer sitting by the sink is not particularly beautiful.
I get the impression that most people, when imagining themselves in a dishwasher-less home, see a giant, teetering stack of spaghetti-and-ranch-laden-from-three-days-ago plates, a la Hoarders. And to that I can only say: user error. Don't blame the dishes, blame the procrastinator. Don't do that to yourself, and it won't be overwhelming drudgery. It'll be a few dishes. No big deal.
Hey - it works for me.