Washing Dishes…Again

When we moved to our new home eight months ago, I was worried. You see, our new home has no dishwasher. And I had kind of made a personal vow that I would never move to another home without a dishwasher again until all my kids had left the nest.

I love dishwashers. Matter of fact, if I had to put all my appliances in order (yes, odd, but something I’ve done while living without electricity in the rainforest), it would be like this:
1. Stove (Burners beat out all. Plain and simple. I suck at making fires.)
2. Oven (Yes, stoves and ovens are still two separate appliances in most of the world.)
3. Washer (Indeed, this pair, although always thought of as one unit…ahem, washer/dryer…is alas two appliances. And if I could only have one, by goodness, it would be the washer easily says the woman who washed ALL her and her husband’s clothing in rivers and buckets for two years.)
4. Refrigerator (Did you know you can store cheese under your bed in the jungle? OK, that explains it’s place in front of the dryer.)
5. Dishwasher (I always call it my “dish-elves”. Leave them in the metal box and an hour later they’ll be clean and ready to put away. Miraculous.)
6. Dryer (So darn handy in accomplishing the process of clean and dry laundry much of the year.)
7. Hot Water Heater (I’d rather all of the above before my great love of heated water enters the equation. Don’t ask me to list this in the middle of winter though.)

Hmmm…. Computers aren’t appliances, right?
2011-04-17_rosiedreams_chocolate rice crispy treats dessert_chocolate,2011-04-17_rosiedreams_chocolate rice crispy treats dessert making girls
Anyhow, today, as I did the dishes for the third time, I felt tired. It was 4:30. Dinner was just beginning to formulate…otherwise known as I-was-just-getting-my-lazy-tired-cooking-butt-into-gear. Babe was holding onto my pant leg, which as lovely as it is, still feels like walking around with a teetering vase pinned to you. My two daughters were “helping” me clean chocolate off of dishes.

And I was attempting to work on sautee’ing soup veggies and cutting vegetables, with daughter “help.” (AKA constant intervention. Ack, what am I doing letting them use that knife?!) And as I stood still there, scrub, scrub, scrubbing away at each of those newly dirtied dishes, I felt zapped. Done with the day. Seriously. When is bedtime?
2011-04-17_rosiedreams_chocolate rice crispy treats dessert making girls
And then–BAM–the wafting scent of buttery onions, mushrooms and celery hit me. My reality check for the day. Here we were, cleaning up a messy, but busily happy kitchen. Delicious food cooking. The art of cooking (though more complicated when done with a 3 and 5-year-old sous-chef) still done with love together. Our dessert already made (hence 3rd round of dishes).

I mean, it crossed my mind that just five years ago I’d have been closing my Franklin Covey planner, situating papers on my lovely non-profit desk, dreaming of a day just like this one. A little gardening, reading to the kids, cooking dessert before dinner, feeding chickens, sweeping toys out from under my feet at every turn, rocking babes down for short naps. No matter how I look at it–luxurious. Frugally, simply my version of my dream job. For now.
2011-04-17_rosiedreams_mushroom soup dinner night
And so, we feasted tonight. Together. Mushroom, wild rice soup. Greens, toasted pecans, and apple slice salad. Buttery toast. And those deliciously addictive nearly sugarless Chocolate Rice Crispies. Highly recommended. (By the way, if you don’t have rice syrup or maple, honey worked great.)
2011-04-17_rosiedreams_chocolate rice crispy treats dessert
And for as much as doing the dishes often feels like a drag. It’s only momentarily. It’s the “More dishes?!” response in me. But when I sink my hands into that warm, sudsy water and watch as each dish emerges clean, resting on a towel to dry, it feels good. Better than picking up toys. Putting away laundry. Scrubbing counters. Making beds. (Though don’t ask me to wax nostalgic on the dirty pots and pans.)

So, question for you. If you were to put your appliances in order, what would be on top? And, have you ever put chocolate in or on your rice crispies? My husband said these were reminiscent of his grandma’s “American Roadster Bars.” (Explains his eating three of them tonight!)

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6 comments to Washing Dishes…Again

  • The idea of doing the dishes as meditation really changed my perspective. I used to loathe washing the dishes (after a household of 12) but it can actually be quite enjoyable depending on your frame of mind.

    As for the appliances, I think my first choice is the clothes washer, followed shortly by the oven.

    • Twelve people to wash dishes after would feel like serving a baby an adult portion. Daunting. :) Five feels crazy enough have many of our meals.

  • Patrick

    Very reminiscent of Julie & Julia, fun to read and can really picture the balanced chaos of mealtime. I found myself reminiscing to an earlier stage called “cooking for one” where only having one pot in college and one person to cook for, necessitated a certain creativity in combining ingredients so that the one pot wonder was still palatable and contained at least an attempt at the main food groups. Now that there are 3 of us (wife and her mom) to cook for, I found that my learned capacity for single pottedness and asthetics did not always match their idea of a visually desireable accomplishment. Really, it is the taste that matters most, right? :-) So I share the fondness of the dishwasher, especially when the diners insist that each item be cooked or warmed up in their own separate containers. One of my father’s favorite sayings is that “it alls goes to the same place anyway, so go ahead and mix it all up” so I must have taken that creativity to college with me. However, I am finding out that certain childhood norms do not translate to the agreed norms of inlaws. Reminds me of the movie “Mame” and monkey brains, which offended her new inlaws (on purpose)…yuk. I think I’ll try your chocolate and rice crispies instead, that sounds much more tasty!

    • Cooking for one was definitely not my favorite time in life. Every meal felt like I was missing my “others.” Inspiration for grand meals–not there. Time for presentation–needless. And most of all, no conversation. I love your description though of your “single pottedness.” My husband has a whole routine for his “man time meals” and he relies on the same logic. One pot to boil noodles, add sauce to heat on noodles, eat from pot. Done. And if I remember right, Pat, you’d love the crispies. They’re divine.

  • Veronica Eisner

    You are so inspiring! Your level of patience and outlook in the midst of chaos is so inspiring. We’ve never had a dishwasher, but just wait a couple more years and you’ll have one (in the form of a little helper). I have two dishwashers at the moment LOL. Clothes washer and stove tie for first in my book. Fortunately, its almost always drying-on-the-line weather here.
    Have you ever tried almond butter rice crispies? I tried one recipe where I improvised and melted some chocolate chips into the mix (as opposed to on top) and it was sooo yummy. I was using almond butter to avoid using a lot of “marshies” (high fructose corn syrup found in most mallows). Highly recommend! PS Recipe also used honey.

    • Thanks…but coming from a mother/artist who sells beautiful handmade dresses on etsy, homeschools, gardens and raises chickens of her own…you are equally inspiring. Sometimes blogs just give us these glimpses into the best (and sometimes the worst) of the everyday in an individual life. And I like your idea of just mixing melted chocolate into the whole thing. Definitely gonna make them again so will try. :)