Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Advantages of Having No Dishwasher

Let it be known that I truly thought that all American homes were furnished with electric dishwashers. I knew that was part of the American Way of Life. Imagine my surprise when I rented this charming cottage built in 1935, that has no dishwasher, or maid either. Not to worry, there are advantages:

1. Several years ago I inherited several pieces of my paternal grandmother's fine china. I had never used it until I moved into this house. Now it's my everyday china, washed by hand each day. I think I've used it more in the nine months I've lived in this house than over the decades she had it. Using it brings me fond memories and I know she would be pleased to see it being appreciated.

2. I've learned to prepare delicious and nutricious (of course) meals using fewer pots and pans. I do stir-frys, hearty soups, and other one-pan specials. Sometimes I fix these "tapa"-like spreads with cheese, olives, nuts, crackers, and of course, wonderful organic dates. Now that the weather is warm, we eat a lot of super salads.

3. Washing dishes gives me time to think, or mentally vegetate if I prefer. Funny thing, the kids usually disappear quite quickly after a meal, leaving me all alone. I really don't mind, I've delegated other chores to the children and usually, but not always, I wash the dishes by myself. This time washing the dishes adds a nice touch to my life's rhythm. If I really must rush, I leave them soaking and get to them later, and/or get the children to help.

Not having a dishwasher has advantages, but it would be especially nice to have one when we have guests. When we do get our electric dishwasher, I'll be sure to let the children take care of kitchen clean-up, it won't be special any more.