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The End of Cooking

October 23, 2015

Did I mention that the dishwasher finally died? When we bought our house, one of the first things that we did was replaced the dishwasher.

The house came with its original dishwasher still barely chugging along. Technically, it still worked. It was just loud as hell. It sounded like it was screeching when it ran. The pitch would drive me upstairs whenever a load was being cleaned. So mostly, we ran the dishwasher overnight.

To make matters worse, it didn’t clean very well, and all our dishes came out with a weird smell. I have no idea what it was. My guess is some kind of build up from some overly floral scented detergent used by the previous owners for decades.

But it still ran. It ran for over twenty years. The one we bought didn’t even come close to lasting half as long. I hear from Lowe’s that the our newest dishwasher has arrived, but it’s not going to be installed until Wednesday. That means six more days of hand washing dishes and getting by with the bare minimum of cooking humanly possible.

It’s been getting ugly.

I’ve never seen our shelf of canned goods look so picked over. I will confess to using the microwave to warm up foods in their containers, so as not to soil another item.

At least I can be a little clever about cooking cleanly. Instead of chopping up root vegetables to throw into a casserole and roast in the oven, I baked them on a foil lined sheet and then just tossed the mess into the garbage.

The cast iron skillet has been amazing. That just wipes clean. So the kids have had more than their fair share of quesadillas and Mrs. Fussy makes a mighty fine grilled cheese sandwich.

The lack of a dishwasher means that I’ve been reluctant to break out any tool which isn’t entirely necessary. While in the past I might have used an immersion blender to make the baked winter squash silky smooth for the kids, last night they just got it mashed up with a spoon. They were troopers, but I’m convinced they would have eaten more of it had it looked more visually appealing.

There have also been some meals out. The kids wanted to go to Taco Bell. Ugh. They eat everything beany and cheesy. We don’t eat the meat there. But I was curious about a menu item I had never noticed before, so I decided to try the spicy crispy potato soft taco. It turns out to be a flour tortilla, spread with some kind of spicy mayonnaise-like dressing, and filled with fried potatoes, shredded cheese, and shredded lettuce.

It’s actually not quite as bad as it sounds. Believe it or not, but it’s far less of a gut bomb than Chipotle’s vegetarian burrito. Actually, all things being equal, the two tacos from the Bell may be a more healthful option. I haven’t run the numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

But I’m really missing out on cooking. Now that the cooler weather is here, I’ve been hoping to break out the pressure cooker and make some big batches of stock. I’m gearing up to do more bean dishes and putting away meals in the freezer to pull out for quick-ish weekday suppers.

Fortunately, tonight is Shabbat… again. And I’ll simply buy a rotisserie chicken, a loaf of challah, and saute up some frozen green beans. It’s good to have family traditions and meals you don’t need to think about. We’ll light candles. There will be wine. It will be nice. We’ll even eat off real plates since it’s a holiday.

Even though the dishwasher is broken, and we’ve cut some corners, we’re still not savages.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2015 11:01 am

    In my last handful of apartments I didn’t have a dishwasher, and now that I’m staying with family (and a fully equipped kitchen) I see the benefits of the dishwasher but there’s also something about it that weirds me out. Instead of using and washing a handful of dishes, there are dirty dishes just hanging out in the dishwasher for a while waiting to be joined by enough other dirty dishes to get cleaned. I’m sure I’ll appreciate the convenience when I (finally) end up in my own place, but hand washing isn’t that bad!!!

    • EPT permalink
      October 23, 2015 4:10 pm

      Just put the dishwasher on for say 5 mins. and then cancel. Makes a big difference. On my previous KitchenAid it was called Rinse/Hold Cycle.

  2. October 23, 2015 12:36 pm

    What? Frozen green beans? From the Proffuser?

    I hate frozen green beans, they’re so watery and bland compared to fresh.

    Just get the bagged, pre-washed and trimmed beans. You can even microwave them right in the bag, now that you’ve warmed up to your new microwave (pun intended). No additional pan to wash.

    • EPT permalink
      October 23, 2015 4:11 pm

      Get the bagged Haricot Verts at Trader Joes and give them a quick saute.

      • October 23, 2015 5:40 pm

        @EPT nailed it. That’s just what we do. Nothing watery or bland about them. I get some good cast iron sear on those suckers, an appropriate amount of salt, and sometimes will dress them with a nut oil or something else delicious.

  3. Dishwasher is dead. permalink
    October 27, 2015 11:48 am

    Our dishwasher died and we’re not replacing it because we’d prefer more cupboard space. Like yours, our dishwasher didn’t clean all that well (probably due to hard water) and required everything to be pre-washed. What I didn’t realize is that the dishwasher was only useful for drying large quantities of dishes since I pre-washed everything anyway. Now if I wash as I go, the dishes air dry in the drying rack on the counter & I don’t have to towel dry them all at once.

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