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Cooking Is Cleaning

July 20, 2017

Yesterday was about farms. We need farms. Because we need food. But once we get raw ingredients, most of them still need to be cooked.

Cooking isn’t like breathing. It doesn’t come naturally. It’s something that has to be learned. And that means it’s something that has to be taught. I’m doing my best by occasionally bringing my kids in the kitchen so they can see how it’s done. But kids sometimes require a level of patience that I just don’t have, especially when I’m cooking.

Know thyself. Right? There is a reason I send the kids off to school instead of homeschooling them. And God bless those parents who have the patience and temperament to teach their children how to cook.

I wish I could remember the name of the chef who said it, but I once came across a brilliant line about kids and cooking. The gist of it was that if you teach kids how to cook without teaching them to clean up after themselves in the kitchen, all you’ve done is given them a new and creative way to make a big mess.

So today, I want to take a little departure from the block and tackle of the blog and talk a bit about cleaning.

Do you know what my second favorite pans are? The dishwasher safe stainless steel ones.

Mostly because I hate to wash dishes. At the end of a meal, all I want to do is toss everything in the dishwasher and let the machine do its thing. You know, except for the cast iron cookware, because those are my babies. And because I take good care of them, they clean up really quickly.

Lately though I’ve started to do something crazy. I’ve started to wash all the silverware by hand. It’s a long story. Let me see if I can give you the executive summary.

For years I lived with a stash of family silverware “hidden” under my bed, which theoretically would be brought out for special occasions which never arrived. And so for years it went unused. Selling it isn’t an option. Which is why I decided to ditch the stainless steel utensils and switch to sterling silver.

While I have to admit it has its charms, it’s a royal pain in the ass. Somehow I see this is my albatross to bear. That’s probably even a longer story. As is the entire OCD thing about me, washing dishes, and soap film.

But I’m getting better. Or at least I was.

What I’m really hoping for today are some thoughts on dish soap. Clearly the readership of this blog has a higher proportion of cooks than the general population. So surely some of you have some good insights into cleaning products.

Because in addition to my light, undiagnosed, OCD, I also have a very sensitive nose.

Heavy fragrances give me headaches and make my eyes burn. Sometimes I joke that I’m too delicate to live in this world. And it might be funny too, if it were actually a joke.

For the longest time I was happy with straight up traditional Palmolive. Double strength was fine. But then it jumped to like maximum 5x strength and that was just far too much soap for my needs. Especially after I looked at the packages back to back, and the new more powerful stuff had a terrifying warning label.

That was not the soap for me.

So instead I got the Palmolive Pure + Clear, which much like Crystal Pepsi is entirely colorless. The bottle promised “no unnecessary ingredients” and “no heavy fragrances” so it sounded perfect.

The burning eyes would argue otherwise.

My goal was to at least make it through the one bottle of this dish soap, but I just couldn’t do it. I caved and bought a bottle of Meyer’s. Even though I really liked the radish scent, with Little Miss Fussy’s guidance I went with the rosemary instead. Of course, when I brought it home, I was mercilessly mocked by Mrs. Fussy.

Just a little while ago, I discovered the miracle of rubbing a baking soda paste on glasses to get them sparklingly clear and clean. Anyone have any other tips or brands they love to help a profussor out?

And don’t say Dawn, because I can’t stand the smell of that either.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. -R. permalink
    July 20, 2017 9:48 am

    Since I do the dishes in the house and there’s only two of us, most of the time the dishwasher goes unused unless we have guests or I’m overly intoxicated. That said, I prefer Sun & Earth Light Citrus (they also make an unscented and a lavender neither of which I’ve tried). All natural, environmentally friendly, good on grease, not chemically smelling at all, and it doesn’t dry my skin out. Just my 2 ¢.

  2. EPT permalink
    July 20, 2017 10:30 am

    Though I don’t have a suggestion, I must emphasize the use of baking soda as a cleaner. I have a large set of Henkels stick free pans but occasionally they need more cleaning. baking soda restores them to perfect condition. I’m glad you mentioned this, inexpensive, no smell and it works!!

  3. Doug permalink
    July 20, 2017 10:34 am

    I can’t answer your question, because we use Dawn. But maybe I can lighten your albatross a bit: it’s perfectly ok to put your silver in the dishwasher, as long as you don’t mix it with stainless flatware. The big proviso is that if it’s pre-WW2, keep washing the knives by hand. The material binding the blades to the handles can be softened by dishwasher heat, leading to separation. The one good thing about washing it all by hand is that you can count it at the same time to make sure a piece hasn’t gone in the trash or disposer :)

    • albanylandlord permalink
      July 24, 2017 1:29 am

      Ditto – we like to use our silver and it all goes into the dishwasher. Even seems to keep it less tarnished. I haven’t polished it in 5-8 years and we use it a few times a year.

  4. July 20, 2017 10:56 am

    Dawn is awesome. We used to go to a family retreat where the counselors would use it to blow bubbles. Just pour a little in a wide shallow pan of water and you’re good to go.

  5. Jack C. permalink
    July 20, 2017 11:14 am

    We use Seventh Generation lavender/mint fragrance, but the unscented is great, too. Natural ingredients, I think.

  6. Deedee permalink
    July 20, 2017 12:34 pm

    Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile Soap is designed to be diluted so you get just the concentration you need (important at my house where we have very soft water). I’m also sensitive to the way things smell and can’t work with anything overpowering. I use citrus and it works for me but there are other scents as well (might even be an unscented one, I’m not sure).

  7. July 20, 2017 12:56 pm

    2nd the 7th gen “fee & clear”. I can’t handle soap fragrances or residual film. Never an issue with the free & clear. And not too harsh on the hands either (gloves are not for me).

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