As you may recall, a few weeks ago I went three weeks without a dishwasher. While I understand that many people go without a dishwasher, it has been my lifeline, especially because a) I like to cook, b) I dislike cleaning, c) my husband likes to eat, d) We brown-bag our lunches, e) I work part-time, sometimes 2 part-time jobs, f) I have a toddler. . .I think you get the idea. But life is always a learning process. Here are some things I learned while feeling a bit like I was living as a pioneer and hope to remember even though I'm back living in 2011.
- You don't need as many everyday supplies. I was shocked at how easy it was to use the same knives over at breakfast, lunch, and dinner because they had been washed quickly and were sitting on the drying rack. And I run out of some items when I'm waiting to fill the dishwasher!
- You always need dishtowels. This is no shock to people with kids who always need to wipe or wipe up something. But I felt like we went through lots more towels. They didn't always dry completely between dishwashing episodes. And there were times when the drying rack just wasn't enough for everything.
- Turn the cutting board over and use the other side. Because we don't eat meat, I wasn't nervous about contamination. If it was the same meal or in the same cooking activity, I simply turned over the cutting board to cut cheese after cutting vegetables or to cut fruit after cutting garlic. The same went for the Silpat. If I was making a batch of crackers and batch of cookies, I'd turn the Silpat over and finish my activity.
- Reuse the fridgeware. Within reason, of course. If I had just a little onion in the fridge and needed to cut more, whatever needed to be stored went in the same container. If I had onions, avocado, and tomato leftover from dinner, I'd put it all in the same glassware and use them together in my next cooking adventure.
- Paper plates are wonderful. OK, this is likely an odd thing to learn for most people, but here's the way I have been in the past: always use washables. If the dishwasher was full, just leave the dirty dishes in the sink until the next day. But sometimes, those few plates just laying around keep you from getting that clean feeling in your kitchen at the end of the evening. So, sometimes it's wiser to just use paper and end your kitchen time so you can focus more on family time.