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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.