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Another nose on your face moment. February 21, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in Uncategorized, wit and wisdom.
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As in, “plain as the…”

Silence Dogood here. Today I was trying to do a bit of spring* cleaning around here, tossing the old catalogues and replacing them with the current ones. (As opposed to letting the new ones avalanche off the coffee table because the old ones are taking up all available space in the magazine rack.)

While shoveling out, I came upon cookware catalogues from Chef’s and Williams Sonoma. As a passionate cook, I love looking through cookware catalogues, fantasizing about buying each and every gadget, not to mention every piece of LeCreuset cookware in every conceivable color. (I use my heavy, enameled cast-iron LeCreuset pots and pans every single day, and I love them, but I also love color and sadly, my vintage set is a boring grey. But I digress.)

Pausing in my decluttering efforts to skim the Chef’s Catalog, I had the same thought I have every time I see elaborate gadgets for mincing herbs or garlic, slicing eggs or lemons, slicing and dicing vegetables and fruits, you name it: Sure, it looks cool, but a paring knife will do all that, and it’s so much easier to clean. (And store.)

It’s always seemed to me that you’d lose the time saved multi-slicing, dicing, or whatever—and then some—trying to wash out those multibladed gadgets. Some of them are so intricate I don’t see how you could ever really get them clean, and I’d rather not get my fingers too close to all those sharp edges anyway. Since I loathe washing dishes and actually enjoy cutting produce by hand, I’d much rather put my effort into preparing the meal rather than cleaning up afterward. But somebody must be buying the endless parade of gizmos, or people wouldn’t keep making them.

I had reluctantly stashed the catalogue and returned my attention to clearing out the magazine rack when, many years after it would have occurred to a halfwitted turnip, enlightenment dawned. Suddenly, I had a flashback to the trip our friend Ben and I recently took to the Poconos. I was sitting peacefully with a cup of tea and watching with bemusement as our friend Huma plunked all sorts of elaborate kitchenware into the dishwasher.

The dishwasher.

Now, we had a dishwasher when I was growing up, but it was of such a dubious and temperamental nature that my mother basically used it to sterilize dishes rather than to clean them. I had to manually wash every dish, glass, and piece of silverware until it was spotless before it went into the dishwasher. It would never have occurred to Mama or any of us to put a pan, much less a gadget, in that thing. And that was the last dishwasher I have ever used.

Gee. As it turns out, people who use these helpful “kitchen aids” don’t risk their sanity or their fingers washing them. They use them, then put them in the dishwasher. The slashing discs and razor-sharp blades pose no threat to plastic and steel. There’s no need to worry about cleaning the last bit of pesto off of bazillion impossible-to-reach parts. Add some soap, turn a knob, and a machine will do it for you, and dry them all, too.

Admittedly, it’s hard for even me to believe that a reputedly intelligent adult (and one who cooks, for that matter), even with my anti-tech Luddite tendencies, would have taken so long to figure this out. But there’s one bright spot in this dismal cloud of stupidity. Since I have no intention of ever getting a dishwasher—as my father famously says, I’m not studying it—at least now I can enjoy looking at all the gadgets and gizmos without being even slightly tempted to buy one. Have paring knife, will travel.

               ‘Til next time,


* If, like me, you’re looking out at mountains of snow, with more predicted all this coming week, the concept of “spring” cleaning must seem almost as farfetched as a moron who forgets that normal families use dishwashers.



1. Curmudgeon - February 21, 2010

Slower than a halfwit turnip. I love it! ROFL! Must remember that one. Mounds of snow? You should stop by our blog and check out our weary dreary Seattle weather. BTW, I would never use a dishwasher even if you paid me. I LOVE doing dishes. LOL! How is your gorgeous pup???

I’ll come on by right now, Curmudgeon! (As long as it’s not another video; sadly, we can’t access those.) Shiloh turned one February 8th and is big (27″ at the shoulders) and beautiful. I’m trying to get hold of some nice photos a friend took recently to send to her breeders, who like to post “past puppy” shots. If I succeed, I’ll send ’em along to you, too!

2. Alan from Roberts Roost - February 21, 2010

We have TWO dishwashers. The newest I got about 15 years ago. It comes with features that would make Fisher and Paykel blush. Even works (or especially works) when the power is off…!

All that aside, I’m with you on the gadget thing. Most of ours are lost in the Pacific somewhere. We have retooled much more simply. A quality set of knives is worth a closet full of gadgets. We do have one we love, it is an immersion blender. LOVE IT! By far the best “kitchen gadget” out there (we don’t use the wisk attachment…a spoon works better.)

Ha!!! Love it, Alan! The best dishwasher I’ve ever seen is the OFB model. An excellent investment, and it hasn’t broken down yet! We, too, have an immersion blender, which someone gave us as a gift. It makes so much sense as a tool for pureeing soups and etc. that I couldn’t bring myself to give it away, but Luddite that I am, I’ve never dared to use it, either. Coincidentally, though, I made a dish last night that, following instructions, turned into instant mush. (Dammit, I KNEW I should have cooked the veggies first and then plunged them into the sauce, and used new potatoes rather than baking potatoes and quartered rather than diced them; what was I thinking, actually following a recipe?!) Yuck. But the flavor was great. So I thought, you know, maybe I should dust off that immersion blender and puree this as a soup base. Gulp. Maybe you’ll inspire me to get brave!

Alan from Roberts Roost - February 22, 2010

Just make sure you let the power button off before you lift it out of the soup. Otherwise it’s like using a blender without the lid on, interesting but messy. Be brave! You’ll love it.

Thanks for the tip and the encouragement! Of course, “interesting but messy” could characterize OFB as well…

3. Victoria - February 23, 2010

That’s hilarious! Of course we use our dishwashers! Although I don’t have TOO many gadgets, I don’t think, the dishwasher does come in handy for cleaning the food processor.

I’m sure it does, Victoria. Sheesh! Nothing like a rush of brains to the head! (In the immortal words of a friend’s mother.)

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